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School of Arts and Humanities announces interim Head of School

Posted on 11/12/2012
Simon Gaunt Interim Head of the School of Arts and Humanities

Professor Simon Gaunt

Professor Simon Gaunt, Professor of French Language and Literature has been appointed Interim Head of School of Arts and Humanities. Professor Gaunt will take up the post for 12 months from 1 January 2013.

Professor Gaunt will take over as Head of School in the New Year from Professor Jan Palmowski, who leaves King’s to become Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Warwick. Professor Palmowski has been in post since 2008 and has led the School through an ambitious strategy of expansion which has seen it double in size since 2006. Professor Gaunt is keen to “build on the outstanding achievements of the last 5 years” and to support the final push for the Research Excellence Framework, the new system for assessing the quality of research in higher education institutions in 2014.

Professor Gaunt has been a member of the French Department since 1998 and was Head of Department between 1998-2004. During his time at King’s, the French Department has gone from strength to strength and in RAE 2008 was ranked second in the country.  He comments: “Our last Research Assessment Exercise result was outstanding, we have a thriving graduate programme, and our most recent NSS results, among the best in the subject nationally, also indicate our undergraduate programmes are highly successful and dynamic.”

The School’s diverse range of subjects as well as its emphasis on interdisciplinary work holds great appeal for Professor Gaunt. “One of the great things about King's is the way it supports its traditional core disciplines like medieval studies, but also has the vision to nurture new developments like queer studies. As a dedicated Londoner, I love the central College location and I also think this plays a large part in the dynamism of our students, whose thinking is often sharpened by their experience of the spectacular but demanding urban environment in which they study and live.” 

Professor Gaunt gained his BA degree and PhD from the University of Warwick before going on to work as a Research Fellow and then Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. The collegiate environment was rewarding for Professor Gaunt and he developed many fruitful collaborations and partnerships which impacted upon his research. One of which is the AHRC funded collaborative project he is currently working on with colleagues at King’s, the University of Cambridge and University College London. The Medieval Francophone, Literary Culture Outside France project aims to shed light on the movement across Europe and beyond of francophone literature in the Middle Ages.

2013 also sees the publication of Professor Gaunt’s latest book which examines the medieval writer and traveller Marco Polo and his text Le Devisement du Monde. He is a former president of the Society for French Studies and is currently a member of REF sub-panel 28.

View Professor Simon Gaunt's profile

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