Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Appointments: People

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Appointments: People

Article excerpt

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Anthony 'AJ' Baucum II

Anthony "AJ" Baucum II, recently appointed assistant professor of biology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said his initial thoughts focused on how "to get my research programme up and running as quickly as possible" at his new institution. Professor Baucum is a specialist in brain development and ageing disorders whose expertise covers cellular and molecular neuroscience, Parkinson's disease and the effects of drug abuse. He wants to be a "world-class researcher" but also has a strong teaching motivation. "I want to be the best teacher that I can be," he said. "Teaching the next generation of scientists and researchers is critical. Getting students interested and engaged in their own learning is important to the goal of retaining people in the STEM fields. Also, for me, getting people exposed to, and interested in, neuroscience is an ongoing goal." He studied at Loyola Marymount University for his undergraduate degree and gained his PhD at the University of Utah. He previously worked at Vanderbilt University.

Edinburgh Napier University

Gary Hutchison

Gary Hutchison, who was recently appointed head of Edinburgh Napier University's School of Life, Sport and Social Sciences at the age of 34, acknowledges that his age had given him cause for concern about how he would be perceived. He asked himself: "Would I be taken seriously outside the university?" However, having been offered the position and reflected on it over the previous six months - during which he served as interim head of the school and was also appointed to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee - he realised that "age doesn't correlate with being recognised as good and respected in your job ... These accolades have to be earned, and the respect/trust I have earned in this short period makes me proud," he said. Dr Hutchison, who leads Edinburgh Napier's Centre for Nano Safety, said he wanted to achieve official recognition for the university's excellent student experience, besides consolidating and building on its cutting-edge research. A researcher in nanotechnology, Dr Hutchison is responsible for leading nano safety research. He said nanotechnology is "more science fiction than reality" at the moment and that it is "not well communicated to the public and policymakers". However, despite the potential benefits, there are dangers and concerns that need to be addressed in relation to human and environmental safety, he said.

University of Leicester

Mark Peel

The new head of the College of Arts, Humanities and Law at the University of Leicester, Mark Peel, is looking forward to working in a mix of disciplines. "I had done a lot of research and preparation, so my immediate thoughts focused on what I had already identified as the main challenges and the main opportunities - especially a mix of disciplines, some very impressive recent research successes, and a real focus on students," said Professor Peel, who previously taught at the University of Liverpool as well as at Monash University and the Australian National University. He added that the variety of disciplines in the college was one of the reasons he pursued the position. "I really enjoy interdisciplinary conversations," he said. "I want to encourage some adventure and experiment, especially in undergraduate and postgraduate taught education, and I also want to continue encouraging the college's scholars to engage in local as well as broader debates about the future, building upon some real past and current successes (and not just digging up dead kings! …

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