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The Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Tony McEnery, has decided to stand down from his position at the end of this academic year. He has chosen to leave the position so that he can pursue academic projects whilst continuing his passion for teaching.
Speaking to SCAN, McEnery said: “The reason for stepping down is simple – I have a national research centre which demands a lot of time and attention.” After moving on from his deanship, McEnery’s main focus will be CASS, the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approach to Social Science. The centre designed to bring a new method in the study of corpus linguistics, to a range of social sciences. In addition to this the Professor told SCAN that he had “nearly £6 million pounds worth of grants to work on. That will keep me busy. I have projects working with government departments, civic organizations and major language learning providers, all of which should deliver tangible benefits to the UK and countries beyond.”
McEnery’s resignation was made clear though the Vice Chancellor’s report to Union Council on Friday, Week 3, when he said: “Following discussions with Professor Tony McEnery he has indicated to me that he would prefer to step down from his role as Dean of FASS at the end of this academic year because of his significant success and hence commitments in needing to deliver research. I have accepted his position and we have commenced a search for a replacement.”
McEnery stated that although a permanent replacement has not yet been made, interviews will be taking place in Easter in order to find a suitable new dean for the faculty. “I am standing down at the beginning of August 2014. A job advert has gone out to fill the post already and I believe interviews will be held, probably by Easter. So at the moment, I anticipate that the new post holder will be in place by the time I leave.”
McEnery was keen to make it clear that although he was leaving the role, he felt satisfied that the position will be filled adequately – “I am quite confident that we will have a strong field of candidates and that the Vice-Chancellor will appoint a really outstanding candidate to this role…I am very happy with what I have achieved as Dean – I took a Faculty that was having financial difficulties and turned it into one which is strong financially and intellectually. That was my goal in taking the Deanship. I have delivered on that goal and am very proud of that. So, with a job done, I can safely step aside.”
Although McEnery is leaving Lancaster he is not leaving higher education entirely. “I am committed to continuing to deliver the highest quality teaching on my research specialism. At the moment I am teaching thousands of students worldwide to study and analyse language via Lancaster’s first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course).”
He went further to elaborate on his research, stating some of his hopes for the future. “In addition, in the last year alone in face to face teaching my team and I have trained over a hundred postgraduates in the analysis of language using corpus techniques. Who knows, with more time I may even be able to train tens of thousands of students in what is regarded worldwide as one of Lancaster’s key strengths – the use of computers in the study of language.”