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Academic Promotion Stories

Celebrating promotion from Engagement work

We're incredibly proud to share these stories from colleagues who've been successful in their promotions applications, particularly using their Impact, Outreach and Engagement work to support their work.

Professor Jennifer Alexander

New Status: Professor, SCAPVC - History of Art

As one of the four categories that provide evidence of achievement, this was an essential part of my application for promotion. My Impact work formed part of the History of Art's REF submission as one of two case studies and these were awarded either 4* or 3*, gaining us a score of 100% for Impact. The project that was probably the most significant, from a portfolio submission of several case studies, was that based on my research at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which was disseminated through a subsidised book that reached a wide audience. A follow-up interview with a national newspaper led to its inclusion in the BBC TV programme 'Have I Got News for You', which reached a very large audience and evoked comments from the public that further demonstrated its impact.

Image of Zhiyan

Professor Zhiyan Guo

New Status: Professor, School of Modern Languages and Cultures

As subject leader of Chinese, I created all the Chinese modules from scratch, offering them to both optional and language degree students in Warwick, and proactively diversifying Chinese culture syllabus. I initiated collaborations with five universities in China and adapted them into international virtual exchange to enrich students’ language and cultural experience and improve their employability skills. I regularly present my pedagogical and empirical research findings at national and international conferences, having been selected to publish some of them in academic journals and books. The recent project I am proud of was the Event titled Chinese Culture in Words, Voices and Music at Resonate Festival, involving both students on campus and an internationally renowned musician.

Robert using a VR headset

Dr Robert O'Toole

New Status: Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts

My main focus has been the use of virtual reality. This has included working with Classics to create a set of VR headsets that are used with schools.I work closely with leading immersive experience consultancy Limina Immersive (led by a Warwick alumnus), providing academic and business development advice. I helped to develop their distinctive approach to engaging the general public with beautifully designed social VR events.I have collaborated with Monash University and WMG to investigate the potential of VR in research, teaching, and public engagement. I lead the Warwick VR Club, running open sessions for the University and the wider public. I maintain a large collection of VR equipment that is used across the University and for public engagement events.In 2020 I ran the Warwick VR Festival, bringing together academic and industry partners. We restarted on-campus activities in 2022 with a programme of VR activities as part of the opening of the new Faculty of Arts Building. Over 200 people experienced VR in a carefully managed environment, many of them using it for the first time. In July 2022 we hosted our first on-campus research event post-pandemic, to showcase and explore a collaboration between Warwickshire Police, Limina, and production company RiVR, screening an experience designed to teach young men about the impact of misogyny. This has led to new partnerships between the University, industry and community groups.