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York welcomes five new professors

Posted on 11 December 2003

First group of 40th Anniversary Professors is announced

The University of York announced today (11 December) the first five new professors appointed under the 40th Anniversary Professors programme.

The University announced in June this year that it hoped to appoint up to 10 new professors as part of its research expansion and to celebrate York's 40th anniversary in 2003. The University expects to make further appointments shortly.

The first five to be appointed are:

  • Professor Helen Goodluck in Language and Linguistic Science
  • Professor David Richards in Health Sciences
  • Professor Quentin Summerfield in Psychology
  • Professor Chris Thomas in Biology
  • Professor David Wootton in History

Welcoming the new appointments, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor said, "The University stated that it sought outstanding individuals for the Anniversary Chairs who would provide intellectual and research leadership. These five people will do exactly that and I am delighted that they join the University of York at such an exciting time."

Professor Helen Goodluck

Professor Helen Goodluck is an expert in language acquisition and language processing, currently working at the University of Ottawa in Canada. Her research has focused on language acquisition in a range of languages, including Modern Irish, Serbian/Croatian, Akan (Ghana), Spanish and Greek.

Her research on language acquisition has been mostly with pre-school children, but her most recent studies have expanded to focus on special populations, particularly people with Down's Syndrome.

At York, Professor Goodluck will forge useful links with experts in language processing in Psychology, as well as with her new colleagues in the Department of Language and Linguistics.

Professor David Richards

Professor David Richards is professor of mental health nursing at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on effective mental health treatments in primary and community care, and in improving the way in which health services are organised.

Policy concerns about mental health treatments have also led him to develop and evaluate self-help approaches to mental health care and to study the way in which different health care professionals and agencies work in this area.

He has also worked for over 20 years as a clinician in mental health, and the link between academic studies and clinical practice remains crucial to his research.

York has a long tradition of health services research that promotes evidence-based treatments, and Professor Richards' work in mental health will expand and develop that specialism.

Professor Quentin Summerfield

Professor Quentin Summerfield is currently the deputy director of the Medical Research Council's Institute of Hearing Research in Nottingham. He is an international expert on hearing and hearing disorders. He has a particular interest in cochlear implantation - a treatment which places electrodes in the inner ear in order to stimulate the nerve of hearing directly to enable deaf people to hear sounds. Professor Summerfield's report to the Government helped establish cochlear implantation as one of the treatments that are now provided to deaf people by the National Health Service.

In York, Professor Summerfield will study methods for measuring the quality of life of people with impaired hearing and will initiate a programme on the development of spatial hearing in children."

Professor Chris Thomas

Professor Chris Thomas is a conservation biologist who studies the impacts of human activity on global diversity. His research aims to understand and predict the changing distributions of species and evaluate the impacts of climate change.

At York he hopes to continue his work in sustainability and good conservation practice. He will also research time lags between climate change and species extinction and work on the economics and policy issues of biodiversity.

Although based in the Department of Biology, he will also develop strong links with the Environment Department. He joins York from the University of Leeds.

Professor David Wootton

Professor David Wootton is a leading scholar of early modern intellectual history, with interests ranging widely over the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries and encompassing Britain, Europe and America. He has edited a series of key texts in modern political theory, including Machievelli, Sir Thomas More and John Locke, and is currently writing two books for Oxford University Press - A History of the Body and Shakespeare's Audience.

Professor Wootton has previously taught in a number of institutions in the UK and Canada and has held fellowships at Cambridge, McGill and Princeton. He is currently Professor of Intellectual History at Queen Mary, University of London.

Notes to editors:

  • During the first 40 years of its life, the University has become recognised for excellence in both research and teaching. Now, to sustain this excellence, it is about to embark on a major programme of expansion, which will involve the significant growth in academic departments.
  • The University's expansion will lead to an increase of student numbers, with a particular emphasis on postgraduate and international students. The research community is expected to benefit particularly from the expansion with more space available for research teams, spin-out companies, and opportunities to explore new subject areas.
  • York was named 'University of the Year' by the Sunday Times in September 2003.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153