University of Sheffield appoints new Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Social Science

The University of Sheffield has appointed Professor Gill Valentine as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Social Sciences.

Professor Valentine, who is currently Head of the School of Geography at the University of Leeds, will take up the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield in September 2012. She takes over the role from Professor Tony Payne, who is now a Director of the new Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) also at the University.

In her position at Leeds, Professor Valentine has provided international leadership on the major social, political and environmental challenges associated with global change. She was also Director of the Leeds Social Science Institute between 2006 and 2009 which is responsible for cross-institutional strategy for the Social Sciences comprising 300 social scientists with a combined research grant income of over £33 million, located across six of the nine faculties at the University of Leeds.

Professor Valentine has held prestigious international visiting fellowships at the Universities of Sydney, Australia and Otago, New Zealand and has visited and given keynote addresses at a range of prestigious international conferences. She was co-founder and co-editor of the international journal Social and Cultural Geography, and co-edited Gender, Place and Culture. She has undertaken international research in Europe, Africa and the USA and is committed to developing the University of Sheffield's international strategy within the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Professor Valentine is also an experienced University leader who has served on working groups and committees related to REF Review, Promotions, Management Information and Equality and Diversity.

Before she began her academic career, Professor Valentine worked in publishing and for the BBC and draws on these skills in the dissemination of her own work and to build the reputation of Social Sciences more widely through high profile events and other communications.

Welcoming the news of her appointment, Professor Valentine said: "I am thrilled to be offered the opportunity to take up the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences at The University of Sheffield. The Social Sciences in Sheffield are held in high-regard internationally, and its diverse departments allow real scope for creating synergies between disciplines which add to the many strengths and talents of outstanding individuals within subject specialisms.

"I am also looking forward to becoming part of the University's executive team, and supporting its vision of cementing its role as a top 100 University globally, but with a genuine commitment to the application of ideas for the good of people both locally and around the world."

Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "I am delighted to have appointed Professor Valentine to the position of Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Social Sciences, and look forward to her taking up an active role in the leadership of the University.

"This is a time of great opportunity for Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield as our region, country and world grapple with complex challenges. Professor Valentine's combination of a distinguished academic career, experience and ambition for the Social Sciences will be invaluable as we continue to build our international reputation and make a major contribution to addressing significant issues in the modern world."

Notes for Editors: The University of Sheffield is in the top 100 University globally and in 2011 was named The Times Higher Education University of the Year.

The Faculty of Social Sciences is a large and diverse grouping of thirteen departments, including 'classical' social science departments, but also several other major subject areas, some of which are distinctive to Sheffield. In the RAE 2008, over 60% of the Faculty's research activity was graded as world leading or internationally excellent, with the majority of the Faculty's submissions ranked in the top 10 in the UK, of which five were in the top 5. This rich and exciting disciplinary mix, encompassing both world-leading academic research and education and also a strong practitioner focus in particular areas, uniquely positions the Faculty within the UK.

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