Professor Lyn Williams

Lyn Williams (Obituary) served from 1 August 1992 for three years1. Under his calm guidance, a rising tide of external directives was channelled through consensus into the forming of stronger Departmental management and the closer monitoring of activities. Yet a sure foundation for future expansion was laid.

A committee, set up in March 1993 to review the feasibility of introducing a four-year undergraduate integrated-master degree programme to run in parallel with the established three-year bachelor programme, produced the first masters’ intake in 1995. In 1993 also (November), a team of examiners from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) spent a week in the Department assessing the quality of the teaching of chemistry and graded it as excellent, the highest of three grades. In February 1995, the committee became the teaching committee, with responsibility for delivery of the whole undergraduate curriculum.

The teaching of postgraduates became subject in March 1993 to a postgraduate committee and in October the number of research groups increased by one to 22. By the end of the triennium, buoyant recruitment of doctoral students stood alongside the internal promotion to professor of three staff (Bryce, Gibson, Richards) as evidence of the Department’s commitment to preserve research activity at the highest grade, first acknowledged in the 1989-1991 period of HEFCE’s rolling research-assessment exercise.

In March 1993, an information-technology committee began to initiate the upgrade of communications and experimental practice, while that December a rolling programme of internal inspection of safety in Chemistry workplaces started and the safety committee acquired executive status.

Increased research activity had overstretched the air-handling system serving the two oldest stages (1960 and 1964) of the Chemistry-Geology Building, so the Department proposed and eventually the University adopted a five-year upgrading of space-heating plant and fume cupboards. The prototype was research laboratory 27, where the refurbishment (1994, July-November) was half-funded by the Wolfson Foundation. By March 1995, the University had accepted most of the Department’s proposals to relieve overcrowding in undergraduate and research laboratories: the surface-science laboratory in the Chemistry-Mathematics link block had been allocated new, adjacent accommodation from July and the design of the Chemistry-Geology Building’s fourth stage was under way.

1. Durham University, Board of Studies in Chemistry, minutes, 1992-1995.


For 1989-1992, see Robin Harris; for 1995-1998, see David Parker.

hod/prof._lyn_williams.txt · Last modified: 2016/05/26 14:32 (external edit)
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