University appoint second new Pro Vice-Chancellor and a Head of Welsh

Left: Dr Cathryn Charnell-White. Right: Professor Chris Thomas

Left: Dr Cathryn Charnell-White. Right: Professor Chris Thomas

ABERYSTWYTH University has made a pair of appointments to replace two senior members of staff who have recently left the University.

Professor Martin Jones, who will leave his job as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Enterprise and Engagement in August, is to be replaced by Professor Chris Thomas, with the portfolio changing to “Research and Academic Quality”.

Professor Aled Jones, who was Head of the Welsh Department in addition to his role as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Welsh Language and Culture, is to replaced by Dr Cathryn Charnell-White as Head of the Department. His replacement as Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, was announced in early June.

Professor Martin Jones is to leave the University for a new research position in Sheffield, whilst Professor Aled Jones is to become Chief Executive and Librarian at the National Library of Wales.

Both new appointments were confirmed by the University’s Council on the 24th June.

Prof Thomas, the new Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Academic Quality, was appointed to the post of Chair in Ecological Modelling in CIRRE (Centre for Integrated Research in the Rural Environment) in 2007 as part of the Aberystwyth/Bangor Strategic Alliance.

He is said to be an “established researcher”, with a “strong track record of both research income generation and output”.

Prof Thomas said “I am ambitious for Aberystwyth University and its contribution to society as a thriving centre for high quality education and research.

“Aberystwyth has a really great mix of institutes and departments that gives us the potential to make a real impact in new areas as well as our established strengths. Interdisciplinary working is key and that needs creative thinking; not just by academic staff – students have an important role to play too. I’m really looking forward to sharing ideas and helping us deliver”.

Vice-Chancellor April McMahon said: “I am delighted to confirm the appointment of Professor Chris Thomas as our new Pro Vice-Chancellor. His track record here at Aberystwyth and vision for the future are highly compelling and will be key to delivering our Research and Academic Quality objectives.

“There were a number of strong candidates for the role, providing further evidence of the wealth of talent we have within the University.

“We have an ambitious vision and his appointment demonstrates our commitment to delivering effective quality assurance which places our students at the heart of everything we do as well as building on the ground-breaking and excellent research which is already taking place here at Aberystwyth University.”

Dr Charnell-White, the new Head of Welsh, gained a BA and PhD from the Department of Welsh at Aberystwyth, and is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies .

Speaking after the appointment Dr Charnell-White said: “I am pleased to be given this opportunity to lead the Department of Welsh at an exciting and competitive time for the development of Welsh language provision in Higher Education.”

“I am looking forward to enhancing the high rate of student satisfaction that the Department enjoys by contributing to the development of challenging new modules that cut across defined historical periods to focus on themes, genres and key concepts that stem from my own research and that of my colleagues”

“Most of all, it will be a real privilege to work alongside colleagues whose combined expertise spans the whole chronology of Welsh literature and encompasses all the Celtic languages, and which also includes staff whose inspirational teaching attracted me to the world of research and teaching.”

Professor Sarah Prescott, Director of the Institute of Literature, Languages and Creative Arts at the University said: “I am very pleased that Cathryn has accepted the position and welcome her to the new role of Head of the Department of Welsh. Cathryn brings a wealth of skills and expertise that will help further develop the Department’s academic and wider cultural vibrancy.”

Both Professor Thomas and Dr Charnell-White will take up their roles in August 2013.