Welcoming Sarah Neal as the new Head of Department!

The 1st September saw Professor Sarah Neal's first day as our new Head of Department.

A photo of Sarah Neal

August 31st marked the last day of Nathan Hughes’ tenure as our Head of Department, and although we are sad to see Nathan step down, Sarah Neal has just begun her journey as our Head of Department and we are excited to see what the next 4 years will bring. Sarah joined the Department of Sociological Studies in 2016, and her research focuses on the intersections of quotidian social life in urban and rural environments; ethnicity, multiculture, migration and superdiversity; community, belonging and place; and education. Sarah was a member of the REF2021 Sociology sub-panel and has been a vital support in preparing the department for the next REF. 

I am delighted that Sarah has been appointed as Head of Department and I wish her well in the role. In the time since she joined Sheffield, Sarah has played a key role in shaping the culture and strategic direction of the department, including as director of research, REF lead and as member of the executive team. In doing so, she has repeatedly demonstrated the clarity of vision, leadership skills and commitment that will ensure that the department continues to flourish under her leadership.

I also want to again extend my thanks to all of my colleagues for their contributions during my time as Head of Department. While it has clearly been a challenging four years, I have been incredibly grateful to be working within such a supportive and committed team.

Professor Nathan Hughes

Professor of Adolescent Health and Justice

Professor Sarah Neal said:

“On behalf of my colleagues in the Department, I would like to thank Nathan for his four years as the Head of Department. Nathan leaves the role with the Department in a very robust and strong position and this reflects what an exemplary leader he has been. Over the last four years he has facilitated a thriving environment and an ambitious departmental culture and he has overseen the department secure a wide range of successes and innovations in relation to our research and teaching work and our equalities and diversity commitments. 

What is particularly remarkable is that Nathan has achieved this in a context of global and HE turbulence and we are all very grateful for his tremendous commitment, for his hard work and the way he has successfully led the department through this series of challenges. That he has done this while facilitating an inclusive, supportive and collegiate environment for all of the department’s students and staff speaks to his leadership skills. I know I speak for everyone in saying a huge thank you to Nathan.

Although Nathan will be a very hard act to follow, I look forward to doing my best to do so and to ensuring a smooth period of HoD transition.  It is a privilege for me to have this opportunity to work with you all in my new role. The key task as we move forward is to sustain and extend our collective successes and achievements and our collegiate culture. There is always more work we want and must do, of course, but I am very confident that we will continue to celebrate ongoing and new successes and develop our next set of plans and ambitions, given what has already been achieved and given that the department is made up of such an outstanding team of teachers, researchers and professional services staff.”

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