The dean of the School of Psychology, Professor Trevor Harley, has announced that he will leave his post at the end of July. “I’ll still be here, but just doing more of what I want to do: writing, research, comedy, public awareness of science and psychology… the list could go on and on,” he said on the school’s Facebook page.
In an email to DUSA Media, Prof Harley said his decision, which he had announced internally a few weeks ago, was not related to yesterday’s news about University staff cuts. Asked whether he would stay at the University, he said: “Definitely staying here (unless another institution comes along offering me much more money for much less work, of course).”
Prof Harley said his biggest success as dean, a position he held for eleven years, was “hiring many tremendous new staff, who are young and energetic, from ethnically diverse backgrounds, and increasing the number of female academics in the School.”
Explaining his work on his staff profile page, he said: “I work primarily on the psychology and neuropsychology of speech production, and the representation of word meaning. I focus in particular on lexicalisation, the processes whereby we turn thoughts into sounds.”
In addition to his academic work, Prof Harley is known for his standup comedy, including a gig during the Fringe in Edinburgh last year.
Martin Bell, Psychology’s school president, said: “Psychology students will be greatly saddened to see him step down as dean. He has been a fantastic figurehead within the school who makes a real effort to engage with students from the very beginning of their degree, a rare quality which has inspired the admiration of everyone that has studied here during his term.”
Asked about the timeline for appointing a successor, a University spokesman said the process would start shortly.