Vice-Chancellor appointed

25 January 2011

Professor McMahon
Professor McMahon

Professor April McMahon has been appointed Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University.

Professor McMahon is currently Vice Principal Planning, Resources & Research Policy at Edinburgh University. She will take over from Professor Noel Lloyd on the 1st of August 2011.

A native of the Scottish Borders and Scots speaker, Professor McMahon gained an MA in English Language and Linguistics followed by a PhD in English Language at Edinburgh University.

For 12 years she taught at the Department of Linguistics at Cambridge University, where she was also a Fellow of Selwyn College, and was Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield from 2000 until 2004.

In 2005 Professor McMahon returned to Edinburgh University as Forbes Professor of English Language and Head of the Department of Linguistics and English Language. She was subsequently appointed Head of the College of Humanities and Social Science and took up her current role as Vice Principal in September 2009.

Speaking of her appointment Professor McMahon said:
“I am delighted with the prospect of leading Aberystwyth University and look forward to working positively within a bilingual environment and to living and working in such a culturally vibrant part of Wales. This is a time of challenges and opportunities for universities and I look forward to working with staff and students to take the University into the next stage of its development.”

Sir Emyr Jones Parry, President of Aberystwyth University said:
“Universities face a period of unprecedented change and I am particularly pleased that Aberystwyth has been able to attract a new leader of the calibre of Professor McMahon. She is a very worthy successor to Professor Noel Lloyd, and I look forward very much to working with her to develop a research led, internationally competitive University, which also fulfils its obligations, regionally and nationally.”

An enthusiastic linguist, Professor McMahon speaks French, German and some Scottish Gaelic, and will be learning Welsh over the coming months.

Professor McMahon’s own academic discipline is linguistics. Her work has focused on comparisons between various English accents, with a particular interest in Scots, how and why languages change, interdisciplinary approaches to family relationships between languages, and the implications of encroaching majority languages.

She has authored and co-authored a number of books including Lexical Phonology and the History of English (Cambridge University Press), Change, Chance, and Optimality (Oxford University Press), Understanding Language Change (Cambridge University Press), An Introduction to English Phonology (Edinburgh University Press) and is co-editor of the journal English Language and Linguistics which is published by Cambridge University Press.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the British Academy and member of the Council of the British Academy.

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