We’ve been given some very interesting documents resulting from a Freedom of Information Act request: it seems like Teesside University were unhappy about their Professor Patrick Holford associating himself with the University’s (excellent) research on nutrition. (See Improbable Science for the FOIA documents.)
Tony Chapman (Teesside’s Assistant Dean for Enterprise) wrote to Holford on 24/8/07, to ask him to desist from referring to himself as “Visiting Professor in mental health and/or nutrition”. Chapman also asks Holford to make clear that he is in the School of Social Sciences and Law: Chapman informs Holford that
It would be helpful if you could refer to yourself as Visiting Professor in the School of Social Sciences and Law at the University of Teesside , rather than Visiting Professor, University of Teesside.
Going into more detail in a 6/9/07 memo, Chapman states that he and Holford “had a discussion about areas of expertise” (see Patrick Holford’s CV to get a sense of his level of nutritional expertise). As a result of this discussion,
Patrick has agreed not to refer to his position using the terms ‘mental health’ or ‘nutrition’. But will say that he is working with our ‘psychologists’.
Teesside then e-mailed Holford again on 7/9/07 in order to stress that he should not refer to himself as Visiting Professor in Mental Health and Nutrition.
We are glad that Teesside seem to be acknowledging Holford’s limited expertise in nutrition. However, we are finding it even harder to see why they believed it to be appropriate to offer Holford a Visiting Professorship.