New head of Welsh

27 June 2012

Professor Aled Gruffydd Jones
Professor Aled Gruffydd Jones

The eminent Welsh academic, Professor Aled Gruffydd Jones, has been appointed Head of the Department of Welsh.

The appointment was confirmed by Aberystwyth University Council at its meeting on Tuesday 26 June 2012.

Professor Jones is Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth and is responsible for overseeing the development of Welsh provision across the whole University. He is also a member of the Management Board of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and Chair of the Coleg’s Research Committee.

Vice-Chancellor Professor April McMahon welcomed the appointment:
“Welsh language and literature are essential elements of the identity of Aberystwyth University and I am very pleased that Aled has been appointed to lead the Department of Welsh. Since his appointment as Pro Vice-Chancellor in 2005 he has been responsible for strengthening the presence of the Welsh language within the University and this appointment is entirely consistent with what he has achieved to date.”

Following the announcement, Professor Jones said: “I am very pleased to be given this opportunity to lead the Department of Welsh at an exciting time for the development of Welsh language provision in Higher Education.

“I have been involved with establishing the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and I am particularly keen to see the Departments play its part in the work of strengthening the language across the University and to building on the academic provision, particularly at postgraduate level.”

“The Department is renowned around the world for the quality of its research, and I am particularly keen to ensure that this continues to be a priority as we complete the preparations for the Research Excellence Framework.”

The announcement has been welcomed by UMCA President Tammy Hawkins. “The success and prosperity of the Welsh Department is vitally important. This is why I welcome the appointment of Professor Jones. His commitment to the Welsh ethos of the University is unquestionable, and during my time here at Aberystwyth I have worked closely with him for the benefit of the students,” she said.

In expressing his delight at the appointment, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, President of Aberystwyth University said: “Professor Aled Jones has four objectives; to develop the scholarship of Welsh, to enhance the contribution of Aberystwyth to the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, to continue to lead Aber’s strong contribution to all aspects of Welsh life and culture, and to return the Department of Welsh to its preeminent position in Wales.”

Professor Jones will remain in his current role of Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor, but will relinquish certain areas of his portfolio, namely Research, Enterprise and International, to focus on his new role.

A very experienced academic leader, he has previously worked as Head of the Department of History and Welsh History and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, before being appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor in 2005.

He was appointed Vice-President of the National Library of Wales earlier this year and is a member of the History Panel for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, former editor of Cylchgrawn Hanes Cymru (Journal of Welsh History), and Sir John Williams Professor of Welsh History.

The appointment is for a period of up to three years. Professor Jones succeeds Professor Patrick Sims-Williams.

The Department of Welsh

Since the founding of the University in Aberystwyth in 1872, the Department of Welsh has played a leading part in Welsh learning and culture, including literature and other media, education, politics and journalism. Many notable Welsh scholars and authors have taught and studied here.

It is the largest Department of Welsh in Wales, and teaches over the whole range of Celtic languages and literatures. As well as Welsh there are also BA degrees in Irish Language and Literature (available through Welsh or English), in Celtic Studies, and in Welsh and the Celtic Languages.

Renowned for its international reputation in research, it was awarded the highest possible grade (5*A) in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, and was ranked second highest of Britain’s Celtic departments after Cambridge in the 2008 RAE. The quality of teaching was ‘Excellent’ according to the latest Teaching Quality Assessment.

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