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University appoints new Vice Chancellor

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screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-16-39-57ABERYSTWYTH 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.”

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Appeal following Aberystwyth assault

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Dyfed-Powys Police is appealing for witnesses following a suspected assault in Aberystwyth on Saturday, February 1.

A 59-year-old man sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital.

A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of ABH and released under investigation.

The incident occurred at around 9.30pm on the corner of Upper Portland Street and Terrace Road.

Police are aware there were a number of people in the vicinity at the time of the incident and would like to speak to anyone who saw what happened, or may have information that could help the investigation.

Please call 101, visit bit.ly/DPPReportOnline or email contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired you can also text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/1743/01/02/2020/02/C.

Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Leading the way in managing planning

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A KEY Officer in Ceredigion leads the way in sharing what it’s like to have a career in planning.

Russell Hughes-Pickering is Ceredigion County Council’s Corporate Lead Officer for Economy and Regeneration, which involves being the head of planning. He has been part of an informative article in February 2020’s edition of ‘The Planner’, the official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Russell Hughes-Pickering is one of twelve Corporate Lead Officers who sit on the council’s Leadership Group. He says planners need to “be politically astute and look above plans and policies”. This means understanding the organisation, their role in delivering corporate objectives and thinking strategically “so they see how they fit in across the board and in turn help deliver better services and better places for people.”

Russell left Llandovery College in 1985 to start a degree in planning at the University of Westminster. He started work at the London Borough of Hounslow in 1989 as a planner before becoming the lead officer in development plan work in 1997.

The RTPI’s article delves into the careers of a chief planning officer and is campaigning for heads of planning to be incorporated into local authority senior leadership teams. This is amid fears of a declining profile and diminishing corporate presence of spatial planning.

Russell continues, “The more I’ve been involved in preparing corporate plans or the council’s development programme, the easier it is to see, influence and ensure planning is involved at the right time. This has helped avoid issues when major projects go through their planning stage, whether that’s a town centre development, a change to a care home or a new school. Fortunately, I’m involved in an excellent leadership group where the culture focuses on improvement and helping each other to achieve better services.”

He moved back to Aberystwyth in 2000 when taking up the Principal Forward Planner role at Ceredigion, before becoming the Assistant Director for Planning in 2006. This job evolved from a primarily planning remit to one that also included building control and housing matters. In May 2013, he became Head of Performance and Improvement, then became Head of Performance and Economy in 2015. From 01 April 2018, Russell has been the Council’s Corporate Lead Officer for Economy and Regeneration.

When asked what advice Russell would give younger colleagues, he wants to see more authorities improve arrangements on major development projects by setting up corporate development and project management groups and involve planners in them. He also wants to involve the next generation of planners. He said, “Young planners should get involved in these as much as possible so they’re involved in a wide range of service improvements, embrace projects or new development, seek ways to help progress and improve them, and engage in a positive way.”

Councillor Rhodri Evans is the Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, which includes planning. He said, “We are grateful to Russell for his vision and strong voice for planning matters in Ceredigion. A planner has a big part to play in helping to develop and deliver corporate priorities. It shapes the future of our county for future generations.”

The council’s decision to prioritise the planning process shows how the council is working to reach its corporate priorities of boosting the economy and Promoting Environmental and Community Resilience.

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Elin Jones calls on Ceredigion community groups to apply for ATM fund

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Elin Jones, Assembly Member for Ceredigion, has called on community groups to apply for The Community Access to Cash Pilot in order to make sure that ATMs are readily available in rural communities.

The initiative has been launched by UK Finance, the collective voice for the banking and finance industry in the UK.

Responding, Elin Jones AM said:

“Access to cash is still essential for many people, but getting access to cash can be particularly difficult for many communities. We’ve seen bank closures in many towns in Ceredigion, particularly in rural areas, despite opposition from customers in many market towns. Mobile banks do sometimes ease the burden, but the availability of these services is often infrequent.

“I’m glad this initiative has been launched in order to help local communities to identify and secure appropriate access to cash and payment services.

“Community groups are being encouraged to access the fund by applying on the UK Finance website, and I would be happy to assist any community group that is interested in applying. Please feel free to contact my office and I would be happy to help in any way that I can.”

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