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Professor Kate O’Riordan to become Dean of new School

Professor Kate O'Riordan

Kate O’Riordan, Professor of Digital Culture at the University of Sussex, and accomplished academic whose research spans digital media, science and technology, sexuality and communications has today been appointed as the new Dean of the combined School of Music, Film and Media, English, History, Art History and Philosophy and Sussex Centre for Language Studies.

She now becomes Dean-elect until the School opens in August, and Professor Ed Hughes becomes acting Head of the School of Media, Film and Music.

Previously Head of the School of Media, Film and Music, Kate, with the other Heads of School, led an extensive consultation and engagement process with students and staff to explore the concept of a combined School and its possible structure.

As Dean, Kate will now take the lead in creating a new structure for the combined School, beginning with the appointment of a new School leadership team; she will then ensure the launch of the new School in August 2020.

She was the unanimous choice of the panel, following an internal recruitment process.

Kate has experience as Director of Teaching and Learning, and Head of Department in the School of Media, Film and Music. She also directed the Research Centre for Material Digital Culture, and is a member of the Sussex Humanities Lab. Prior to her tenure in Media, Film and Music, she had an appointment in the Sussex Centre for Continuing Education (now closed). During her time at Sussex she has also had secondments as an Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and as a Research Associate at Lancaster University. Prior to working at Sussex she had early career positions as a Visiting Lecturer at the Universities of Brighton and Middlesex.

Kate said: “I am thrilled to be appointed to the role of Dean, a position that would not have been created without the direct involvement of hundreds of students and staff, and of course the Heads of the other Schools and Centre, who had the vision to see the huge benefits the new School will bring to students and staff.

“My research interests have always drawn on a range of disciplines, so I am particularly excited about the potential our new School will unlock and the opportunities to bring together academics from across many fields. This will help make our commitment to interdisciplinarity even stronger, something that Sussex was founded upon – we will aim to create new pedagogy, research and a student experience that is not just contemporary, it will evolve and thrive as students and research expectations change in the years to come.

“I am also thrilled that, after the best part of a year mentioning the term ‘the Combined School’ at least 20 times a day, we’ll soon have a proper name for the School – so watch this space.”

Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell said: “At interview Kate demonstrated not just the management knowledge and experience required to lead the creation of this new School, she also conveyed her immense passion and vision of the opportunities the new School can provide.

“As a highly respected colleague within the University and across academia, I am confident that as the inaugural Dean of our new School she will continue to be a passionate advocate of Sussex and the humanities.”

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By: Sean Armstrong
Last updated: Wednesday, 12 February 2020