Professor Nancy Kula will be leaving the University to take up the post of Professor of African Linguistics at the University of Leiden at the end of January 2024. Nancy has been in the University for 16 years and held a number of senior leadership roles, including Head of Department of Languages and Linguistics, Deputy Dean and then Dean of Partnerships, a member of Senate and Council, and since October 2021 the Executive Dean of Social Sciences.

Anthony Forster said ‘this is great news for Nancy and very sad news for all of us at Essex. Nancy is a wonderful colleague and has played such an important role in the leadership of the Department of Languages and Linguistics, ranked third overall for research quality and first for research impact in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) results, and had a considerable impact in her role as Executive Dean of Social Sciences, leading one of the very best groupings of social science disciplines in the UK. I know I speak on behalf of everyone in wishing Nancy the very best of luck in her new post at Leiden, a university that she knows well, having completed her PhD in phonology at the university and held post-doctoral positions there.’

Nancy said ‘this is a very prestigious chair and one of the few chairs in African Linguistics in continental Europe, so a very exciting opportunity for me to be part of shaping the field and making it more inclusive.’

In accordance with Ordinance 8, recruitment to the role of Executive Dean will be through internal and external advertisement and the search for Nancy’s successor will commence straight away.