Heythrop College, the specialist philosophy and theology college of the University of London, has appointed a new Vice-Principal – Academic, following the retirement of Dr Peter Vardy, who was Heythrop's Vice-Principal for twelve years. Professor Gwen Griffith-Dickson, Founder and Director of The Lokahi Foundation, will take up her new role at Heythrop in January 2012. She will be responsible for the academic leadership of teaching and research in the College, and will report directly to Heythrop's new Principal, Father Michael Holman, who takes up his post in January 2012.
Professor Griffith-Dickson will remain the Director of The Lokahi Foundation, a social impact charity that delivers innovative programmes which address community tensions related to community and religious diversity, a link with the potential for future collaboration with the College in this area.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Professor Griffith-Dickson specialises in the philosophy and theology of different faiths. Her research focuses on the beliefs of different religions, their mutual relations and their impact on contemporary issues. She gained her degree and doctorate in Theology at Heythrop College and went on to Birkbeck College, University of London, where she developed and managed the country's largest continuing education programme in religious studies, along with Islamic studies, theology and philosophy. She left Birkbeck College in 2005 to found The Lokahi Foundation.
“I am delighted to accept the role of Vice-Principal - Academic at Heythrop College, and I am honoured to be joining its dedicated staff,” Professor Griffith-Dickson said. “I have been involved with Heythrop since the 1980s. I studied there, served as governor, and have deep knowledge of the College. Its distinctive identity is a great source of inspiration and its extremely outward and forward-looking mission has always impressed me.”
Professor Griffith-Dickson will play a lead role in developing and realising the strategic vision of the College and provide strong leadership of the academic portfolio of teaching and research. “There is a huge research potential here and rich opportunities to grow the College in the UK and internationally with its exciting mix of programmes. Innovative research and outreach has always been key to Heythrop’s mission, and so has making an impact on society’s most pressing issues. The Lokahi Foundation shares this vision and so it is my hope that they will bring rigorous academic insight to bear on creating real social change for the common good.”
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