University of Wolverhampton alumni magazine
Issue 06 Winter 2013/14
House of Lords reception GRADUATE FEATURE A piece of cake
BRITISH JUDO Centre of Excellence at Walsall
RESEARCH FOCUS Recognising women in research
Life. At Wolverhampton. After Wolverhampton. For Life. Welcome to the Winter 2013/14 edition of WLV Life – the magazine for former students and graduates of the University of Wolverhampton.
importance of women in research with three of our female research academics (page 22); and Olympic hopeful, Jarryd Dunn, is this edition’s My Life.
Who recognises the landmark on the front cover? It is of course The Houses of Parliament – one of the most famous buildings in London – and more importantly, the venue chosen for the final event to celebrate the University’s 21st anniversary of university status last year. On pages 13-17 you can see the international dignitaries, honorary graduates and alumni who joined us along the banks of the River Thames as we rounded-up a year-long calendar of events.
With all the latest alumni and University news, including new links in Malaysia (page 12) and the University’s continued success in knowledge transfer (page 6), you’ll be sure to find something of interest.
If architecture isn’t your thing, you might find some of the famous faces in this edition easier to recognise: with Olympic Gold medallist, Denise Lewis OBE, opening our new British Judo Centre of Excellence (page 20); and soul singer, Jaki Graham; Dexys Midnight Runners frontman, Kevin Rowland; and former sprinter, Kathy Smallwood-Cook joining our long list of honorary graduates (page 4). Also in this edition, we talk to graduate, Annabel de Vetten-Peterson about art on a very unique canvas (page 9); take a look at the
I hope you find WLV Life an entertaining and informative read. If you would like to share your thoughts on what you’ve read, or if you would like to feature in future editions of the magazine, then drop the alumni team an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Robert on Best wishes,
Amy Roberton Editor
Articles written by: Amy Roberton and Samantha Fleming
A piece of cake Annabel de Vetten-Peterson
02 04 06 12 13 20
In the news
A Day in the Life Bill Green, Senior Lecturer
My Life Jarryd Dunn
Whatâ€™s been happening at your university
Honouring the outstanding
A university that means business Knowledge transfer
Ahead in Malaysia
Graduate helps form new links with top university
House of Lords reception
Glittering finale to 21st anniversary
British Judo Centre of Excellence
Olympian launches world-class facilities at Walsall
Recognising women in research
WLV Life Spring 2014
In the news... Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you should be made any less aware of what’s going on at your university. Here is just a small selection of our leading headlines from the past few months…
Walsall Campus celebrates half-century milestone
We were delighted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our Walsall Campus with a sparkling evening dinner held in October. Since originally forming in 1963, the Walsall location has become an integral part of the University’s operations, specialising in sport, performing arts and education. The last five years have witnessed radical refurbishments, with £50 million being invested on campus improvements including the state-of-the-art Performance Hub.
First Class graduate wins prize
Graduate, Rosie Walton, has landed a prestigious award on top of her First Class degree. Rosie, who graduated with a BA (Hons) Interpreting (BSL/English) was awarded the School of Law, Social Sciences and Communications Caparo Prize for her outstanding efforts on a work placement with Birmingham-based charity BID Services, who have been working with deaf people and other communities since 1872.
Brussels office unveiled by University
A special office focusing on research and located in the heart of Brussels, Belgium, has been opened. The office will ensure that the University is at the centre of political decision making at the home of the European Union, as well as providing opportunities for collaborations with other European academic institutions and businesses in regards to research, knowledge transfer and skills development.
Almost 300 guests were welcomed to the University to hear one of the Black Country’s top business leaders give a thought-provoking lecture. Mike Wright, executive director for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), was the key speaker at the University’s Crystal Lecture. The Crystal Lecture is a free annual event aimed at business people within the region and is jointly organised by the University of Wolverhampton Business School and the Chartered Management Institute.
Armed Forces worker invited to Number 10
One of our employees has met with the Prime Minister to discuss her work helping the armed forces. Lianne Bradbury, armed and uniformed services co-ordinator for the University, was invited to Downing Street to meet with David Cameron to celebrate her work with the University on a project paid for by the LIBOR fund. The project offers a business start-up programme for the dependants of serving Armed Forces personnel, Reservists and Veterans to enable them not only to financially support their family, but integrate them into the local civilian community.
Business School plans get green light
Our plans to create a new building to house the Business School have been given the go-ahead. Wolverhampton City Council approved plans for the £18 million project to build a new flagship building at the junction of Molineux Street and Camp Street at the City Molineux campus. The six storey building will be a combination of teaching and social learning space.
Graduates join forces with TV presenter for project
A new product fronted by TV’s Jeff Stelling has been launched with the help of three of our graduates. Matt Weston and Mike Chinn, the creators of video production company Stone’s Throw Media, and photographer Alex Styles were all involved in the product’s launch video which involved “green screening” Jeff before putting him into a 3D environment.
Hundreds pack University for business lecture
Student lands place on prestigious cultural programme
Adam Keane, a second year student in the University’s School of Law, Social Sciences and Communications, is celebrating after obtaining a place on the “ParliaMentors” scheme run by the London based charity Three Faiths Forum (3FF).
Alumni Reunion Do you remember when The Beatles burst onto the scene? When Polaroid cameras were the must-have accessory and the Rubik’s cube left everyone boggled? Or were you one of the millions who just couldn’t miss an episode of Friends? Whatever was big when you were at university, to us, you are what’s BIG IN 2014. This year join us as we go back to campus for our alumni reunion 2014. A night full of big surprises, we’ll be celebrating what makes you memorable, and the icons that made your time at university memorable too.
Date: Time: Venue:
Saturday 5th April 2014 7.30pm–1.00am The Students’ Union, MD Building, Wolverhampton City Campus, WV1 1LY Tickets: £5 per person
Buy your tickets Tickets cost just £5 per person and include: • Complimentary drink on arrival • Buffet dinner • Live entertainment from Candy Spangles and the Green Oyster Band • Late bar and dancing until 1am Buy online today at: www.wlv.ac.uk/reunion2014 Join us online Visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/reunion2014 Facebook: www.wlv.ac.uk/alumnifacebook Invite yourself and your friends on our event page Twitter: @wlv_alumni #bigin2014
How are you BIG IN 2014? Send us your ‘then and now’ photos and tell us what makes you BIG IN 2014 and we’ll put your name in lights! Email your photos to: email@example.com WLV Life Spring 2014
Honouring the outstanding Once more, our graduation ceremonies have proved the all-important ‘date for the diaries’ of everyone at the University of Wolverhampton. A time of celebration and pride, we mark the achievements and success of our students as they bring their academic journeys to a close. Alongside our students, we were also proud to confer honorary awards to leading figures from outside the University who have made outstanding contributions to their particular fields.
Birmingham-born soul singer, Jaki Graham, was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music in recognition of her international contribution to R&B, soul and dance music. Jaki boasts a career of success and longevity, scoring six UK Top 20 singles and two Top 5 singles in the US dance charts. Jaki has released more than 20 singles and numerous albums worldwide, achieving a Guinness World Record as the first black British female solo artist to have six consecutive top 20 hits.
She says: “What can I say, I’m overwhelmed. I never thought that through the gift of my voice, it could one day lead to receiving an academic degree. “This truly is one of my biggest ever lifetime achievements that I will treasure dearly. I hope it inspires others to realise that no matter what background you come from or what walk of life, as long as you believe in your talent and have people around you who believe in you too, the sky’s the limit.”
Roll of Honour Honorary Graduates 2013
Kevin Rowland The honorary roll also boasted the company of fellow iconic pop artist Kevin Rowland – lead singer of 70s band Dexys Midnight Runners. The Wednesfield-born singer, whose band is renowned for their 1982 smash hit Come on Eileen, was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters in recognition for his outstanding contribution to popular culture. Kevin formed Dexys Midnight Runners, together with Kevin Archer, in Birmingham in 1978. Two years later they released Geno, which propelled straight to number one in the UK charts, followed swiftly by Come on Eileen. Disbanding in 1987, Kevin embarked on a solo career before relauncing Dexys in 2012 with a brand new album. He says: “I was really surprised when I was asked and I thought about it before accepting it. I had one or two really good teachers in school but I left when I was 15. “No matter what has happened in my life, I have always had warm feelings for Wolverhampton, though it has changed completely over the years.”
Kathy Smallwood –Cook
Kathy Smallwood-Cook Also honoured was medal winning Olympian Kathy Smallwood-Cook. Acknowledged as Britain’s greatest ever female athlete, Kathy was presented with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by the University’s School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure. Her award was given not only in recognition of her outstanding contribution to sport, but also her standing as a role model for athletes and her contribution to sport education. Now a retired professional athlete, Kathy has gone on to teach PE at Mayfield Preparatory School in Walsall. She says: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this honour. I know that the University boasts world-class sports facilities at its Walsall Campus, and as a PE teacher in the Black Country I’m extremely pleased to see such focus being put on this area. “Sporting activity improves fitness, helps develop skills and gives young people the chance to work in a team, as well as providing them with a sense of belonging. With their innovative facilities it is clear that the University understands what a crucial role sport plays for society in the West Midlands region.”
Louise Brooke-Smith Chartered Surveyor Doctor of Technology Ian Cumming OBE Chief Executive of Health Education England Doctor of Science Cheryl Etches OBE Chief Nurse, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust Doctor of Science Jaki Graham UK Soul and R&B singer Doctor of Music Rajinder Mann OBE Chief Executive of the Network for Black Professionals (NBP) Doctor of Social Science Kevin Rowland Dexys Midnight Runners Doctor of Letters Kathy Smallwood-Cook Former Olympic athlete Doctor of Letters Roderick Wilkes Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Doctor of Business Administration You can read biographies of all of this year’s honorary graduates at: www.wlv.ac.uk/alumni
WLV Life Spring 2014
A University that means
Our award-winning Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme, now in its 10th year, has been repeatedly acknowledged as an innovative method of helping businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity while – at the same time – enabling graduates to gain experience working on high-impact projects. Spearheading the KTP department at the University is manager and Wolverhampton MBA graduate, Clare Mackinnon, whose role involves promoting knowledge transfer projects to gain the interest of company partners as well as graduates and current students. There are many schemes to help businesses connect with graduates, what makes ours stand out? “Our KTP schemes are three way partnerships featuring bespoke programmes of work which benefit all partners. Our reputation is testament to our success as the leading University for knowledge transfer programmes within the West Midlands.” What are the benefits of a knowledge transfer scheme to a graduate? “It’s a fantastic opportunity for ambitious graduates to launch their career in industry where they’ll receive mentoring from both company and academic supervisors, which is invaluable support. They also manage a budget for equipment and travel, and on certain programmes, personal development, where they have to ensure the budget is spent to benefit the project. What stands out too is the fact that graduates are working on projects which really make a difference to the company and so the success can be directly attributed to them. Around 70% of graduates are offered a permanent position at the end of their own KTP journey.” The University has a highly regarded reputation for connecting graduates with businesses. What key attributes make for a successful partnership? “The fact that the three key partners – company, graduate and academic – all have real outcomes. This ensures success as everyone is driven towards achieving their goals. Each programme has a set structure which is proven to work and we have key staff engaged on the projects who have a genuine interest in the work they are doing.” Is it possible for graduates who have an established career to engage in our schemes? “Yes certainly – our KTP and KEEN programmes are open to graduates up to 5 years after graduation. We recruit graduates from varying stages in their careers and it’s surprising what different attributes people have at all stages from graduation onwards.” www.wlv.ac.uk/alumni
And what about overseas graduates? “Yes the schemes are open to them too. We recruit the best person for the job.” Employers have always been keen on the idea of such schemes, why? “They are proven to be successful. Programmes are evaluated following closure and an average two-year project will generate an increase in pre-tax profits of c£250,000. In addition to creating new jobs, the programmes inevitably up-skill existing employees too. The schemes give companies valuable links into the University and this is often key to a beneficial long-term relationship.” Given the current state of the jobs market, what are the challenges facing knowledge transfer schemes over the next few years? “We still have a high demand from companies who are keen to engage on our programmes – the results are proven and the programmes are part-funded, therefore making great economic sense. As a University, it helps us increase our offering to graduates, and through long-term relationships, opens opportunities to develop undergraduate work placements too.” What has made you the most proud of the work you do to connect businesses with graduates? “Getting the chance to offer a graduate their dream job is a great part of my job and hugely rewarding.” What practical advice would you give a graduate thinking of engaging with a knowledge transfer scheme? “Go for it – you won’t look back. I really encourage graduates to research the companies prior to applying for jobs, and certainly before an interview, to show the interview panel that you have a genuine interest in your future and in finding out about what they do – this is even easier now with the use of social media. We have run award-winning programmes with winners of the national ‘Business Leader of Tomorrow’ title for KTP and to have such an accolade on your CV, in addition to the benefits of the programme itself, is just such a fantastic career boost.”
Kick-start your career with a knowledge transfer scheme Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Network (KEEN) Employed directly by a West Midlands business, KEEN (part funded by ERDF) allows talented graduates to manage a growth project, lasting for around 18 months. To register visit: www.wmkeen.org.uk Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) KTPs have been helping graduates accelerate their careers for over 30 years. Employed by the University, you will work full-time in a company, working on a high-impact project. Projects can last up to three years and around 70% of graduates go on to be offered a permanent position. To find out more, visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/ktpgrad
WLV Life Spring 2014
by distance learning Want to advance your career in business, but worry about attending weekly classes? The Universityâ€™s highly coveted Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree is now available to study on a part-time, distancelearning basis.
teaching comes in the form of audio presentations and videos, along with reading materials and tasks, which can be accessed online at a time to suit you.
The two-year course enables you to study from home, whether in the UK or abroad, without ever having to visit the campus. Ideal if you wish to study while working,
With tutor support and class discussions available via online forums, you will experience the same teaching and guidance, but from the comfort of your own home.
For more information and to apply visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/postgrad
A piece of
Annabel de Vetten-Peterson BA (Hons) Fine Art (Sculpture), 1999
If ever you needed proof of the varying professional paths a degree can take you, Annabel de Vetten-Peterson provides it in abundance. Never in her wildest dreams did she predict that a degree in Fine Art would, in 13 years’ time, result in a cake baking career that would achieve national – and international – acclaim. WLV Life Spring 2014
Graduate Feature What influenced your decision to move to Birmingham at the age of 17? “I had just finished school and planned on going to art college near where I lived in Germany. On a night out my friend and I met a few people who were visiting from Birmingham. They invited us to visit and a few weeks later I took them up on their offer. I liked the place and soon discovered that there were a lot more art courses available here than in Germany at the time, so I came to study for a couple of years and never left!”
You graduated with a degree in Fine Art (Sculpture). What made you decide to branch out into cake creating? “The cake thing wasn’t a decision I made, I fell into it pretty much by accident. I had always enjoyed baking cakes so I decided to make our own wedding cake in 2010. It came out really well and soon the orders – predominantly from friends at first – began flooding in. Although that first cake isn’t spectacular, looking at it now, it is the most important. I see cake as another artist’s medium, like clay or paint. Cakes
What inspires your impressive work? “Movies and magic have inspired both my cakes and my art. Most of my paintings are based on iconic film stills, actors’ portraits and pivotal scenes. Then when I took up magic I started painting pinup girls on playing cards, based on the vintage nudie decks. These I produced as a physical deck of cards, The Jill Deck. Then I moved onto painting iconic magicians, like Houdini, Dai Vernon, and Cardini. I’m proud to say that these hang in many a celebrity magician’s home, including Lance Burton in Las Vegas.”
Why did you choose the University of Wolverhampton? “I wanted to study Sculpture and the University of Wolverhampton offered exactly what I wanted. It was the only interview I went to, I didn’t want to go anywhere else. Fortunately the tutors didn’t want me to go anywhere else either and I got in!”
are another way to express yourself, adding a bit of your own personality to each one you make.”
What does a typical day look like for you? “I don’t really have a typical day! Unless I’m working on repeat orders for stock items such as the chocolate skulls, every day is different. I work all the time, even if it’s just planning projects, thinking of new ideas, or sketching.”
What aspect of your career do you enjoy the most? “I love being the ‘go to’ person for weird cakes. I often get calls that start with “This may sound weird, but can you make a… (insert strange request)…” They make me happy.”
You have exhibited work in the UK, Europe and as far as the United States. How does it feel to visit so many different countries and cultures? “It’s very exciting, especially the shows in the States. I had a small exhibition in Las Vegas and a week-long exhibition at the Magic Castle (a private club and magic theatre) in Hollywood. In that week I also got married there, so it was a pretty special week all round! The cakes have also taken me to the States; I’ve baked over there a few times
– again tied in with the Magic Castle – making wedding cakes for some friends. That was a challenge being in someone else’s kitchen – and the heat too. It wasn’t fun, well, not until the cake was delivered and everyone loved it!” Have these visits inspired or affected your work in any way? “Not really inspired, I just want to do it again. I’m planning on teaching some classes in New York next year at the Morbid Anatomy Art Academy. It’s part
of a library and museum of weird and wonderful anatomy related oddities – so we were made for each other. I love how I can let out my inner weirdo again with the cakes. My paintings were fairly tame compared to what I did at University (taxidermy sculptures), and what I do now.” Did you ever imagine that your work would receive such extensive coverage? “Absolutely not! Seriously, I’m still in shock. I occasionally find features online
that I didn’t even know about. It’s so bizarre. I’ve had way more exposure for my cakes than my paintings – but I did get a book feature for each one. A London design book featured a Twiggy painting, and this year, the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not annual featured my chocolate baby heads – amazing!” What do you consider your greatest achievement to date? “That’s a difficult one. I would say everything. But mainly I think that I am
just terribly lucky to have been able to switch from one cool, successful career to another.” Where do you see yourself – and your business – in five years’ time? “I can’t think that far ahead. I’d like to be teaching and travelling. My husband is American, so there’s a chance we might live there in five years’ time – or not – I really don’t know. I’m not one for planning like that, things always turn out different, which can be a good thing.”
Finally, what advice would you give to potential students of the University? “Follow your passion – it’ll take you where you need to be.” See more of Annabel’s work at: www.conjurerskitchen.com Dedicated to the memory of my friend, Steve Evans - that magic bloke who did Wolverhampton proud.
WLV Life Spring 2014
Ahead in Malaysia Graduate helps form new links with top university Sabah is one of three states of Malaysia and is located in the eastern part of the island of Borneo. Its Head of State is His Excellency Tun Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Juhar bin Haji Mahiruddin, a former graduate of the University of Wolverhampton, and also the Chancellor of one of the country’s top universities Universiti Malaysia Saba (UMS). The University of Wolverhampton already enjoys a strong presence in Malaysia with students studying degrees either at the University in the UK, or through one of its partner institutions. This presence is now set to grow further still, following a special event in London which saw the University of Wolverhampton and Universiti Malaysia Sabah formally linked in a new partnership. The agreement will see both higher education institutions collaborating in a variety of areas including developing academic programmes around oil and gas, nursing, banking and finance,
which will then be delivered by UMS. It will also provide opportunities for research, as well as staff and student exchanges. The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer from the University of Wolverhampton and Deputy ViceChancellor Professor Dr Shahril Yusof from UMS, makes UMS the latest overseas education institution to deliver Wolverhampton programmes as part of a transnational education partnership. More than 71 Wolverhampton degrees are delivered overseas through such partnerships, which now extend to nearly 30 institutions in countries around the world, including Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, India, and across Europe. The collaborations aim to enhance the University’s international reputation, helping to support students to become global citizens and provide opportunities for information exchange to enrich their student experience. The event, which was held last October ahead of the final 21st anniversary celebration at the House of Lords, was held at a Michelin star restaurant in central London and was attended by a Malaysian delegation which included His Excellency
and his family. Mr Mahiruddin studied law at Wolverhampton in the 1980s, going on to be called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn before embarking on his political career in Malaysia. Professor Geoff Layer said: “I’m delighted to have signed this agreement with UMS and I look forward to working closely with them to develop academic programmes in the coming months. “Agreements such as these are very important. Higher education is important the world wide and collaborating with partners overseas can provide huge benefits in terms of research, sharing of knowledge and joint work, and the exchange of staff and students. “It’s even more pleasing that the UMS Chancellor and the Head of State is an alumnus of the University of Wolverhampton.” Plans are now underway to launch a new international alumni association in Malaysia led by Mr Mahiruddin. Look out for more information coming soon at: www.wlv.ac.uk/alumni
House of Lords reception We hosted a high profile glittering event at the House of Lords to mark the end of our 21st anniversary year
For the past 12 months, not a day has gone by without the words 21st anniversary being uttered somewhere within the University community. It has been something of a hectic year at least, and if you received the last edition of WLV Life, you will have read about many of the activities and events that took place as part of our celebrations.
Of course such a prestigious milestone requires a suitable ending â€“ and what better way than with a high-profile evening
at one of the worldâ€™s most famous landmarks, the House of Lords in central London. Hosted by Chancellor of the University, The Rt Hon Lord Paul of Marylebone PC, guests included honorary graduates, members of the alumni community, politicians and leaders in business and education. Get your snapshot of the night with our photo album over the page. WLV Life Spring 2014
1 Lord Bilston with guest. 2&3 Members of the Malaysian delegation. 4 Simon Warren, Chief Executive of Wolverhampton Council and guests. 5 Alumnus with University staff. 6 TV Presenter and Honorary Graduate, Mark Oâ€™Shea with alumnus. 7 Chairman of the Board of Governors, Mick Elliott, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer, Chancellor, The Rt Hon Lord Paul of Marylebone PC, and alumna, Sofina Islam. 8 Wilson Severn (Wolverhampton Homes), Paul Hampton (University of Wolverhampton), The Lord Mayor of Wolverhampton and wife, Shaun Aldis (Wolverhampton Homes), and Mark Wilson (Star City).
WLV Life Spring 2014
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8
View from the Cholmondeley Terrace, House of Lords. Dr Shahril Yusof, Janie Liew-Tsonis, His Excellency Tun Datak Seri Panglima Haji Juhar bin Haji Mahiruddin, and Dina Jeetah. Honorary Graduate, Jaki Graham with Paul Hampton and Faculty Dean, Nduka Ekere. Alumna, Sofina Islam, sharing the story of her time at the University of Wolverhampton. Alison Westwood (Thornes Solicitors) and Guy Birkett (FBC Manby Bowdler). Chairman of the Board of Governors, Mick Elliott. Alumni: Jake Rogers, Neil Cooper and Chris Carter of VOID Games. Oscar and Bafta winner and alumnus, Peter Bebb with guests.
WLV Life Spring 2014
A Day in the Life Bill Green
BSc in Applied Chemistry, 1985 PGCE Physical Sciences, 1989-90
If the University of Wolverhampton is a second home to anyone, it is graduate and current staff member – Bill Green. Bill’s roots with our institution go as far back as the early 1980s and, over thirty years on, we thought there would be no better time to find out what a typical day in his working life looks like.
Living and learning “As a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing, my job is to train new science teachers to work with youngsters in our local secondary schools. “My links with the University however, actually go all the way back to 1980, when I was a student working for a local chemical company and studying parttime at City Campus. Having already completed a two-year ONC course at what is now City of Wolverhampton College, I took day release higher education courses for five years – firstly an HNC and then a degree in chemistry. “Then in 1989 I started a PGCE course at Walsall Campus so that I could train to become a science teacher. Over the next
13 years or so I worked in Wolverhampton and Dudley secondary schools and also mentored new teachers taking the same course that I had. “It was in 2003 that I returned to the University, this time as a member of staff. During the 10 years I’ve been here I’ve worked very closely with my colleague Peter Taylor, who also did his teacher training at Walsall, and together we’ve trained several hundred new science teachers for the region – ably assisted with the last few batches by our colleague Sean Starr, who joined more recently. My working world in 2013 “It’s quite difficult for me to write a ‘Day in the Life’ article because my work days are so varied. But every day always starts the same way, with a cup of tea and an
email check. I admit to being obsessive about this – not only is it pretty much the first thing I do when I come downstairs in the morning, but I’m constantly checking it all day, either on my PC or my phone, and it’s usually one of the last things I do before going to bed. “We also have a very active online course forum for our science teaching students and they find this particularly supportive while they’re out in schools and not seeing each other on campus on a daily basis. “Typically, the rest of my working day involves teaching or visiting our students in local schools while they are on their teaching placements – which take up the majority of their courses.
“When I set out for the day, it’s to drive from home in Wolverhampton over to Walsall Campus, or off out to school. Mostly the schools are fairly local but on occasions I do have to venture a bit further, up to about 50 miles or so.
a lesson I learn something new myself and this makes the job fascinating and rewarding. I wish there were more opportunities for working teachers to get out and visit lessons in other schools as it can generate so many ideas.
“A visit to a school will usually involve watching a student teach a class, and then a discussion about the lesson. This will be followed by a progress update with the student and their colleagues in the school’s science department.
“Teaching sessions are usually very lively as the students are keen to discuss their experiences all the way through their course. Training somebody to be a good teacher is challenging because new teachers learn to instinctively analyse what makes lessons effective – and this includes the ones they get on campus! So, you really do need to be able to put a good session together for them if they are to benefit in a way that develops their own practice.
The rewards of teaching “It’s a real privilege to be able to watch such a wide variety of science lessons in so many different schools. I’ve seen hundreds now, but every time I watch
At the end of the day “When the working day is finally over I go home and spend some time in my homemade recording studio. The technology available for this now is fantastic – all you need is a computer! After science, music is one of the things I enjoy the most and playing it or just listening to it is my favourite way to relax, which is so important to be able to do. “My colleagues and I are busy practically all year round as our teacher training activities go almost up to the end of July and then start again in August. “I’m proud of what our University team has done for the region by training teachers, and I’m really pleased that the Faculty of Science and Engineering will have first rate facilities enabling them to offer chemistry again from the start of the next academic year.” Interested in teaching? Find out more at: www.wlv.ac.uk/teaching
WLV Life Spring 2014
Centre of Excellence Olympian launches world-class facilities at Walsall In the last edition of WLV Life we announced the University’s exciting plans for Walsall Campus in its bid to become a Centre of Excellence for Sport. With the help of Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis OBE, we moved one step closer last November when we launched the British Judo Association’s brand new Centre of Excellence.
Walsall Campus has been a home to the sport of judo for many years. Director of Sport, Mike Chamberlain, is three times under-22s British Champion, six times British Masters Champion and a four times medallist at the World Masters Judo Championships. In 2008, the Great Britain judo team put the finishing touches to their preparation for the Beijing Olympics at our Sports Centre after it was selected as one of the country’s official Olympic training bases. Then in 2012, the Centre became home to the Australian judo team in the run-up to the London Olympics after they selected it as their official training base.
Launching the facility was Olympian Denise Lewis, who unveiled the official BJA plaque at the opening ceremony alongside past and present Olympians and Paralympians, and British Judo’s Chief Executive, Andrew Scoular and Chairman, Kerrith Brown.
It was little surprise then that when the British Judo Association (BJA) called for a new Centre of Excellence to be at the forefront of judo training nationwide the University was the loudest to answer. Donating our former sports hall, we funded a £1 million renovation to transform the space into an advanced performance environment.
She added: “Having grown up in Wolverhampton, it is great for me to be here today. As a daughter of Wolverhampton, I hope that the Centre will be a huge success for the city.”
The heptathlete, who was crowned champion at the 2000 Sydney Olympics said: “This is a great facility – a place where everything any A class athlete would want all under one roof. Athletes can all train and work together towards the goal of becoming British Judo’s first Olympic champion.
Guests at the event were treated to judo demonstrations and a tour of the on-site facilities including a state-of-the-art dojo
which has two Olympic-sized mat areas for up to 100 judoka. They also viewed the hi-tech strength and conditioning suite, as well as visiting the University’s sports science facilities. Kerrith Brown said: “Today marks an historic day for British Judo – the opening of a new home for British Judo’s performance programme. In partnership with the University of Wolverhampton, I believe that we have been able to build a world-class performance environment where British Judo’s athletes can get the quality and quantity of training required for us to produce Great Britain’s first Olympic gold medallist.” The Centre itself will play a key role in nurturing some of the country’s best players in years to come, in particular Great Britain’s junior athletes between the ages of 17 and 22 years old – potential 2020 Olympians and beyond. It will also cater to Great Britain’s VI squad.
Andrew Scoular added: “We look forward to a bright new future and welcoming all the new inductees to build a pathway to excellence.” Jean Paul Bell, who coached the British Judo Paralympic team to silver and bronze at London 2012, is the Head of the Centre. He said: “I am excited and honoured to be part of a new era in British Judo. After the success of London 2012 we have an opportunity to develop and deliver a medal winning system for 2016 and beyond in both Olympic and Paralympic Games.” He is joined by Dennis Stewart, who won a bronze medal for Great Britain at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea in the men’s – 95kg division, as GB Centre Coach. Dennis said: “Having spent the last few months familiarising myself with the
Centre we are now looking forward to welcoming our first athletes and I cannot wait to get started.” The Centre similarly provides a base for all of Great Britain’s senior and junior squad players on the programme, providing free access to facilities and high quality training. Those selected to participate fulltime on the programme can stay on-site at the University’s accommodation, with an option for self-funding athletes to also stay full-time at the Centre. Mike Chamberlain, who led the development, added: “As Director of Sport for the University and a former international judo player, I am doubly proud to bring the Centre of Excellence here to the University of Wolverhampton. The partnership with British Judo firmly puts the University on the map and will demonstrate the professionalism of our services and the level of expertise here to help support British Judo’s ambitions.”
WLV Life Spring 2014
Women in research Last year the University was proud to receive the prestigious Athena SWAN Bronze award which recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women in science, engineering and technology (SET) in higher education and research. We talk to three female researchers from the University who were part of the Athena SWAN submission team about their perspectives on women in research.
Karen Bill, Associate Dean Karen is the Athena SWAN Champion for the University. As Director of the Research Centre for Sport, Exercise and Performance, her research interests include sport law, sports management and lately sports entrepreneurship. Karen has conducted research into graduate business start-ups, and more recently business performance and the development of emotional intelligence. She is also a Director for Enterprise Educators UK. Tracey Devonport, Reader in Sport and Exercise Psychology Tracey is accredited with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) for scientific support (Psychology), is registered as a Sport and Exercise Psychologist and is a Chartered Psychologist. Her primary research interests include emotion regulation and the development of coping competencies amongst junior national athletes. Debra Cureton, Research Fellow Debra is a Senior Research Fellow based in the Research Policy Unit where she leads the ‘What Works at Wolves Programme’ into improving student retention and progression. With research interests also in mentoring and coaching, Debra previously led the University’s staff mentoring scheme and is Chair of the Research in Coaching and Mentoring Network. www.wlv.ac.uk/alumni
What made you decide to go into research? Karen: “When I graduated from my first degree, I was fortunate to have a positive female role model – Dr Anita White – who saw merit in my work. I spent a year living down in Chichester to publish my undergraduate thesis which then got published in the British Journal of Sociology Sport. It felt like serendipity – having a tutor see some value in my work and helping me to become published.” Debra: “It was the same for me. My undergraduate degree in Psychology was heavily research based and I loved every minute of it, so my Professor suggested I consider researching a PhD. I didn’t think that someone like me could get a PhD, but under my Professor’s guidance I developed a research proposal and started a year later. I’ve never looked back!” Tracey: “I am motivated and inspired by research that tests and builds upon knowledge, in particular knowledge that can positively inform applied practice. Gustave Le Bon (1879) argued that “All psychologists who have studied the intelligence of women, as well as poets and novelists, recognise today that they represent the most inferior forms of human evolution and that they are closer to children and savages than to an adult civilised man”. If we were to accept these contentions, Athena SWAN would be redundant!”
What do you consider the positive aspects of engaging in research? Karen: “I enjoy the intellectual challenge. There is something very cathartic about seeing your name on a finished piece of work. I also love doing collaborative research – meeting likeminded people, sharing ideas and expressing opinions. It is very stimulating.” Tracey: “Research informs and enhances my teaching, and I can bring research to life by reflecting on my own experiences in class so that it becomes a less abstract concept. I also enjoy listening to people’s descriptions of life experiences, evaluating how well that fits with existing theory and, where appropriate, challenging theory with alternatives.” Debra: “For me, I love the opportunity that research provides to dig and delve into an area and to understand a situation from different perspectives. Research provides the opportunity to learn new and novel things about a situation, and if you are lucky, the chance to positively influence practice or provide opportunities for others. Those rare occasions make all the hard work worthwhile.” What challenges do you feel there are for women in research? Karen: “Research can be very dislocated for women due to family commitments – suddenly time becomes limited and even finding independent space can be difficult. In certain subjects there are also fewer female researchers, which I believe has a knock-on effect, making it harder for females to research.”
Left to right: Debra Cureton, Karen Bill, Tracey Devonport
Debra: “Yes. Women often feel they must prioritise pastoral care over engaging in or furthering their research careers – or they struggle to be research active while trying to maintain a work/life balance that allows them to bring up children.” Tracey: “I think the challenge for women in research is finding a voice. Women are under-represented in senior research positions across the whole of the higher education sector and this has had a knock-on effect on public facing elements of research. For example, if we were to watch a media broadcast which invites research input; this typically involves a white, male, able bodied researcher. A stronger presence of women (and all minority populations) in the undertaking and dissemination of research may enhance the confidence of minority groups in pursuing research careers.” Why do you feel it is important to raise the profile of women in research? Karen: “There are roughly an equal amount of women as there are men in higher education, but there are less women doing research. Research plays a huge role in higher education, and so it is important to help and support women who want to undertake this kind of activity so that they can not only advance their own knowledge and teaching, but that of the institution they work for.”
Tracey: “I agree. Should the presence of women in senior research positions continue to under-represent the population split, there is a danger that research outputs will not be fully representative of a diverse society. Just as our approach to research may be influenced by our theoretical lens, it may also be influenced by our lived experiences, so it is crucial for a research community to be representative of the population it seeks to examine and better understand.” Debra: “I think it is also important to have more women researchers to give younger generations aspiring female role models to look up to, so that new talent continually moves into the field.” What advice would you give other women looking to move into research? Karen: “Just have a go! The hardest part is getting started on your first bit of research. You look around and see colleagues with numerous publications and you think you’ll never get there. But I’ve found that once you start your first publication it’s like buses, and suddenly three or four opportunities have come along. Try and collaborate on projects so that you can bounce ideas off people and help each other along the way.”
Tracey: “Find an area of research that motivates and inspires you so that it feels more like a hobby than an obligation. Once you find that motivation, other essential requirements such as time management and resilience become easier to maintain. As researchers we all face setbacks, for example a harsh review of a journal submission or failed research bids. If our value of research is intrinsic, these setbacks are easier to overcome.” Debra: “Do it and enjoy the experience. If you don’t know where to start, find someone to work with, a mentor or join a research group. You don’t have to start with applying for a massive grant; start with a manageable goal – perhaps writing a review paper or with a small pilot study. And don’t give up, we all get papers and grants rejected. it’s disheartening but if you keep on going it is from these experiences that we learn the most. If you keep going you will soon start to build your confidence, research knowledge and skills, and soon after you will find you have a developing portfolio of papers and an expertise in an area that others will recognise.”
WLV Life Spring 2014
My Life Jarryd Dunn
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, 2013 Recent graduate, Jarryd Dunn, is definitely on the right track after completing his academic studies. His immediate plans are to become a full-time athlete and break into the Great Britain team for the upcoming World Championships, with the long-term aim of competing for his country in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Life inside the lecture hall “Having completed my University degree, I am now able to devote more time to training. With one eye on the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year, my preparations are well underway to make the England team. “Professional athletes have a short life competing at the top of their chosen sport. I wanted an education to fall back on when I do finally retire, and I always intended to gain a degree. “I have always been sport orientated from an early age – I started athletics at the age of ten! I am extremely astute when it comes to my training and tend to analyse every aspect, from my running technique to the energy systems used. A degree in Sport and Exercise Science provided the perfect fit.
“At the University of Wolverhampton, everyone from the lecturers to the support staff were great. They were all extremely accommodating towards me and my athletics, and would allow me extensions on handing in work as my training and competition load increased – although the time management skills I picked up through my athletics career ensured I would always get my work completed on time.
On the road to Rio “It has been a challenge to get to where I am today, and I am sure there are many more ahead of me. A variety of skills are required to become an Olympian – in fact they are similar to those necessary to complete a University degree! I need to be dedicated, determined and committed to my training, while managing my time effectively. I have a great deal of self-belief that I am going to achieve my goal.
“The most rewarding moment of my career will be when I stand on the starting line being introduced to the crowd at the Olympic Games – but I want more. I won’t be happy with just going along to make up the numbers, I want to win medals! I have dreamt of pulling on the Team GB vest and standing on top of the medal rostrum. “There are a lot of people who work behind the scenes to ensure I perform to my very best – my coach, my mother, my physiotherapist, nutritionist, strength and conditioning coach and osteopath – they all have a major role within my career. I can safely say that, if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today. “The same can be said of gaining a degree. Without your lecturers, personal tutor, family and friends, it would be difficult to perform to your best.
A marathon and a sprint “One piece of advice that I would give to every student is simply to enjoy the experience. I remember sitting in the car on the drive home from my graduation thinking ‘it’s all over’. Three years sounds like a long time but trust me, it flies by and I can say without a doubt that graduating from the University has been the best thing I have done with my life outside of athletics.” Jarryd is currently seeking sponsorship to aid his dream of competing at the Olympic Games. If you are interested in offering your support, you can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where are you now? We love to hear about where life has taken our graduates – the next steps they have taken and the joys and successes they are experiencing. Why not tell us where you are now and be featured on our alumni website or maybe even in future editions of WLV @lumni e-zine and WLV Life magazine. You could write about your: • career success or further study since graduating • travel experiences and adventures • hobbies and interests • personal life such as marriage and children • any other fantastic experiences you have had! To find out how to send us your story, and to read where some of our graduates from the past 50 years are now, visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/alumnistories
London Olympic Stadium, where Jarryd became the British Universities and Colleges (BUCS) Outdoor 400m Champion in 2012.
WLV Life Spring 2014
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