ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY has appointed a Cardiff-based non-Welsh speaker as its new Vice Chancellor.
On Thursday (Dec 15), Professor Elizabeth Treasure was confirmed as the University’s new Vice Chancellor, starting April 2017.
Professor Treasure’s appointment took place following a recruitment process led by the Chancerllor and Chair of the University’s Council, Sir Emyr Jones Parry.
The appointment follows the departure of Professor April McMahon, who stepped down from her post earlier this year. During Professor McMahon’s tenure as Vice Chancellor, the university was bedevilled by claims – denied by the University – that there was a ‘repressive relationship’ between management and academic staff. Economist John Cable resigned his emeritus professorship because university management was ‘disproportionate, aggressive and confrontational’ and there were protests over the university’s management of the Arts Centre.
During Prof McMahon’s tenure, Aberystwyth dipped from 49th in the 2011 Guardian University Guide to as low as 110th in the tables for 2015.
Professor Treasure is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor at Cardiff University, where she has responsibility for key areas including projects in strategic planning, resources and sustainable development as well as staffing and estates.
“I congratulate Professor Treasure on her appointment as the next Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University,” said Sir Emyr Jones Parry.
“She impressed the selection panel with her strategic vision for the future of the institution, her intellect and her integrity. At a challenging time for the higher education sector, I am confident that Professor Treasure will lead this very special university to new levels of success.”
Professor Treasure holds a BDS in Dental Surgery and a PhD from the University of Birmingham.
Following a range of clinical roles in the National Health Service between 1980 and 1990, Professor Treasure moved to New Zealand, where she concurrently held the roles of Public Health Dentist and Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, at the University of Otago.
In 1995, Professor Treasure was appointed Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Dental Public Health at University of Wales College of Medicine, achieving promotion to Professor in 2000 and being appointed Dean and General Manager at the Dental School and Hospital in 2006.
She was awarded the British Dental Association’s John Tomes Medal for scientific eminence and outstanding service to the profession in 2006 and a FDSRCPS (special) in 2011.
In 2010, Professor Treasure became the first woman to be appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor at Cardiff University.
She is also currently an Independent Member (University) for the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board; a member of the Finance Committee of UCAS and the Health and Safety Committee of the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA); a trustee of the Penarth and District Lesotho Trust, and a Council Member of the Cathedral School, Llandaff.
“It is both an honour and a privilege to be appointed Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University,” said Professor Elizabeth Treasure.
“Aberystwyth University has a long and proud tradition of excellence in teaching, research and student experience. It is my aim to build on these strong foundations, working with both the public and business sectors to help drive forward the economic and educational impact of the institution.”
“I am very aware of Aberystwyth’s significant contribution to the development of Welsh-medium teaching in the higher education sector and to the cultural life of Wales as a nation. As the next Vice Chancellor, it is my firm intention to learn the language as a matter of priority to the standard specified in the job description so that I can embrace all aspects of Aber life.”
The person specification for the role included the words: ‘As a bilingual institution situated idyllically on Cardigan Bay, Aberystwyth University is fully aware of its duty to promote and encourage the Welsh language and culture’.
When Professor McMahon was appointed, she promised to learn the Welsh language but did not do so. On announcing her departure, Cymdeithas yr Iaith wrote to the university requesting that a Welsh-speaker be appointed to the post.
Responding to the news of Professor Treasure’s appointment, a spokesperson for Cymdeithas yr Iaith told The Herald:
“It is unfortunate that Professor Elizabeth Treasure does not speak Welsh. In a university like Aberystwyth, the language will be at the core of her work on a day-to-day level within the university and the community. We are, however, glad that she intends to learn Welsh.
“Seeing as Professor Treasure will not begin her role until April, she has time to begin learning Welsh in order to reach the level specified in the job description by then, as a foundation to build on. The most important thing is that she will be able, naturally, to use the Welsh language in formal and informal situations in her work and within the community.
“We also look forward to hearing her plans for working with the Welsh-speaking community, within the university and in Aberystwyth. The Welsh language, community and culture are an essential part of the university and of Ceredigion, and a clear commitment to strengthen the Welsh language within the university is needed, as well as carrying out the plan to re-open Neuadd Pantycelyn by 2019.”
Professor Treasure is expected to take up the post in April 2017 and until then, Professor John Grattan will continue as Acting Vice Chancellor.
“As a university, we owe a debt of gratitude to Professor Grattan for his commitment in steering the institution through this period of transition,” said Sir Emyr Jones Parry.
“As Pro Vice Chancellor with responsibility for the student experience since 2012 and then as Acting Vice Chancellor since February this year, Professor Grattan has played a key role in improving Aberystwyth University’s position in the league tables – including our best performance to date in the National Student Survey in August 2016.”
Proposed work on dangerous Dorglwyd Junction set to be delayed
ELIN JONES AM and Ben Lake MP have expressed their frustration following a recent statement from the Welsh Government noting that work on the A487 Dorglwyd junction from Comins Coch, would be delayed.
The junction has witnessed several crashes and close-calls over recent years, with local residents calling for the development of a roundabout or similar traffic-calming measures.
The Welsh Government announced in September 2016 that a feasibility study would be undertaken by the following Summer as to consider potential options to improve the junction.
However, a recent letter from Ken Skates AM, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport to Elin Jones AM and Ben Lake MP noted: “We are aware of the issues at the junction and an improvement scheme has been within our upgrades programme for some time. Unfortunately, due to limited financial resources and competing priorities, it has progressed slowly.”
“We are currently reviewing the scope of a possible improvement and considering solutions which are affordable and minimise environmental impact. When we are in a position to present outline solutions, a workshop with local stakeholders will be held. This is likely to be in early 2019.”
Elin Jones AM said: “Whilst I do welcome such clarification from the Cabinet Secretary on the next steps for Dorglwyd junction, it is disappointing to read that no major works for the transformation will happen due to the expense of the project. It is positive however to see that a smaller scale improvement is now to be pursued, with consultation likely to be undertaken in early 2019.”
John Roberts, local Ceredigion County Councillor for Faenor ward, added: “I share both Elin Jones’ and Ben Lake’s disappointment at the response from Ken Skates AM. The original plan was to encapsulate a more global project including the Llanbadarn bypass therefore we need to be more realistic in our aspirations for Dorglwyd corner. Having discussed the project on site with both Elin Jones AM and Ben Lake MP last week we were of the opinion that a much smaller project which could solve the Dorglwyd issue was feasible and be much cheaper than the present scheme. We will wait for the consultation period in 2019.”
Museum lights up the past
CEREDIGION MUSEUM has had a full refurbishment of its lighting thanks to £116,558 of grants from Welsh Governments Museums Archives and Libraries Division and the Rural Community Development Fund.
Museum Curator, Carrie Canham, said: “Lighting has been a problem for us for some time; the system was so old that we couldn’t get new bulbs for some of the fittings. Also, we love to put on theatrical and musical performances at the museum but we couldn’t create an atmosphere with just strip lights and footlights. We’ve now got great stage and display lighting and it’s transformed the whole experience for our audiences.
“The new lighting system is all LED, so not only does it look much better it is also more suitable for the more delicate exhibits and it saves us money on our lighting bill.”
The lighting was designed and installed by DBNAudile, who specialise in museum lighting.
The team managed to install the system with minimal disruption to visitors.
KeolisAmey awarded Wales and Borders Rail contract
KEOLISAMEY is pleased that the Welsh Government has announced its intention to award the contract to operate the Wales and Borders rail service and the South Wales Metro to KeolisAmey.
Upon successful completion of a 10-day standstill period, the contract will run from June 4, 2018, to October 14, 2033, with rail services transferring on October 14, 2018.
This standstill period is normal procurement practice.
KeolisAmey is a joint venture partnership of international public transport operator Keolis, and infrastructure asset management specialist Amey.
KeolisAmey currently runs the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) in London, which has one of the best records in UK rail – consistently better than 99% reliability. Additionally, we operate and maintain Greater Manchester’s Metrolink – the largest tram network in the UK.
Alistair Gordon, Chief Executive of Keolis UK, said: “This will be a transformative new rail service for Wales and its borders which will see Keolis once more combine its worldwide expertise in passenger operations with Amey’s engineering excellence.
“We look forward to the successful completion of the procurement process – this exciting contract will deliver for all of Wales. The procurement process was rigorous, resulting in transformative solutions for the benefit of all in Wales, and indeed, future generations.
“While the proposed changes won’t happen overnight, the railway will be unrecognisable in five years thanks to the vision of the Welsh Government.”
Andy Milner, Amey’s Chief Executive, said: “Building on our successful partnership with Keolis, which already sees us deliver two high performing services – the Greater Manchester Metrolink and London’s DLR – we are honoured to be asked to operate the Wales and Borders service.
“This is a great opportunity for us to use our joint capabilities to deliver a first-rate service for Wales. We will be focused on working with Transport for Wales to transform the existing infrastructure and introduce new trains to significantly improve the passenger experience, as well as creating hundreds of new jobs and apprenticeship opportunities.”
KeolisAmey is unable to make any further comment until the procurement process has concluded and the contract has been awarded.
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