Richard Simmons appointed visiting professor

Former chief executive of Cabe Richard Simmons has joined the University of Greenwich as a visiting professor under the watch of Neil Spiller.

Simmons, who left the axed quango in April this year, will act as an expert in city design and regeneration.

He is the latest staff member appointed to the teaching team at the university, where Spiller is dean of the School of Architecture, Design & Construction.
Spiller said he was “very pleased” with Simmons’s appointment.

“He will bring a lot towards our urban regeneration and localism agenda. I want the school to be proactive, not just involved in vacant formalism — in the 21st century we have some difficult issues to address.”

Simmons added: “It’s great that he wants students to understand how cities are shaped as well as how to make structures. As well as sharing my experience of large scale urban development, I shall also be helping the School to get to grips with localism and how planning affects design.”

Other visiting professor appointments include John Pelling, past president of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and landscape architect John Hopkins, former head of parklands and public realm at the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Earlier this year, Spiller embarked on restructuring the school after three quarters of the 142 first-year students were told they needed to resubmit their portfolios.

This included a consultation — which ended this week — with existing staff about getting rid of most of the part-time staff, to be replaced with new, full-time recruits.

A number of students are understood to have lodged complaints with the university over their treatment.

This week Spiller claimed progression rates to the second year were “the same after re-sits” as the previous year, though he refused to give any actual figures.
“There was much improvement from the initial submissions to the resubmissions,” he said.

BD understands that the first-year intake for September 2011 was “full” with around 100 students enrolled.