Appointments: People

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Loughborough University

John Heritage

The new professor of conversation analysis at Loughborough University said he was delighted at the opportunity to work with British students once again after a quarter of a century in California. John Heritage, who will combine the position at Loughborough with his current role as professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said it was something he had long hoped to do, despite the "challenge" posed by the British weather. He described the prospect of building research links between the two institutions as "exciting and enticing". "Conversation analysis is a worldwide field, and one of its preoccupations is with linguistic and cultural diversity, together with the universal aspects of interactional dynamics across languages and cultures," he said. "Regular overseas contacts are vital elements in its development, and many of us travel widely in pursuit of these aims." Professor Heritage took his BA, MA and PhD at the University of Leeds, where he then worked as a research fellow and lecturer before moving to the University of Warwick. He has taught at UCLA for 25 years.

Queen Mary, University of London/University of Warwick

David Schalkwyk

A renowned Shakespeare scholar named academic director of a research collaboration dedicated to the playwright's global impact has said that he is not obsessed with the Bard's work. David Schalkwyk, who will head Global Shakespeare - a partnership between Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Warwick - said he was delighted with the appointment, even though he confessed to being occasionally "irritated by Bardolatry". "I'm not really a Shakespeare 'devotee'. I recall being overwhelmed by a production of Twelfth Night when I was eight ... (and) I enjoyed Shakespeare at school and at university. (But) I wrote my PhD on a philosophical topic, not Shakespeare, and I wanted to go into the theatre when I was a student." Global Shakespeare has been set up with the aim of shaping the research agenda in 21st-century studies of the Bard across all platforms including criticism, performance, history and media from television to digital reproduction. Professor Schalkwyk said he was keen to establish collaborative networks with existing Shakespeare institutions in the UK and around the world. "This is going to be the most challenging, but also the most crucial, aspect of the job," he said. "If the notion of Global Shakespeare is to mean anything, this cannot be a Eurocentric venture. We need to be open to all approaches to and appropriations of Shakespeare, and to engage in conversations and exchanges in which we learn from each other as equals." Professor Schalkwyk was previously director of research at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC and head of the English department and deputy dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Cape Town.

The Open University

Keith Zimmerman

The newly appointed director of students at The Open University said he was thrilled to be offered the position but at the same time "a little daunted" by the scale of the role. The university "is the largest education institution in the UK with around 250,000 students to look after - significantly more than my previous experience", said Keith Zimmerman, currently director of student administration and services at the University of Oxford. He said that although distance and flexible learning present challenges in providing support, The Open University is at the cutting edge of the field. …