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April 2010 | Issue 8 | University of Wolverhampton |

WORLD CUP GLORY Could England repeat 1966 success?

GOING TO THE POLLS Spotlight on the General Election

ROYAL HONOUR Award presentation in United Arab Emirates


Welcome to the latest issue of WLV Dialogue. This month, with election fever gripping the nation, we have some differing perspectives on politics from some of our expert academics. We look at why people vote, what the key issues are and how the media and other factors have an influence.

After the excitement of polling day, the nation will be getting behind England as we gear up for the World Cup. University sports psychologists look at our chances of winning and talk about the ‘Becks effect’ – how David Beckham will have an influence over the outcome, even without playing. Find out more on pages 10 and 11. Elsewhere, we cover the launch of a ground-breaking new research centre set up at the University of Wolverhampton to tackle the toughest brain tumours. Brain Tumour UK has launched a £500,000 fundraising target for the first phase of the laboratory’s work. There’s also a profile of our new Pro-Vice Chancellor and Director of Corporate Services, Helen Wildman, as well as news of a new game showcased at the Gadget Show and research about family businesses. Many of our graduates are truly inspirational and Arthur Louis is just one example. At 63, he has just taken up a position as a nurse in New Cross Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department. The former businessman decided to come out of retirement and joined the University to retrain in nursing. Read more on pages 16 and 17.

We were proud to present an honorary degree to His Highness Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, recently. Find out more about the ceremony and our growing international links on pages 20 and 21. As you’ll see, WLV Dialogue has been given a fresh look to tie in with the University’s new brand. If you have any feedback for us please get in touch at: Our next magazine will be out at the end of July. Best wishes Emma Kilvert WLV Dialogue Editor



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Going to the Polls – Spotlight on the General Election


Centre Brings New Hope – Groundbreaking Brain Tumour research centre opens


An Alternative Viewpoint – Realistic art by graduate Christian Marsh



The Gadget Show – Students and staff exhibit at national event


Boosting Business Intelligence – Introducing our i-CD unit




RESEARCH World Cup Glory for England? - Professors share their expert views


Keeping it in the Family – The challenge of running a family business


PROFILE Leading from the Front - Introducing our New Pro-Vice Chancellor, Helen Wildman

Not the Retiring Type – Graduate starts nursing career at 63

Royal Honour – Award presentation enhances United Arab Emirates partnerships


PEOPLE Bringing Art to Life – Q&A with artist Andrew Logan


Graduate Success Story – Music studio owner Jon Spiers



WHAT’S ON GUIDE What’s On Guide – Events at the University



Going to the


As voters across the country head to the polls, we look at the General Election from three University research perspectives – Politics, the Media and Psychology. On the political platform This year’s General Election is one of the most hotly debated in decades. Although only officially called a few weeks before polling day on May 6, it seems that politicians have been campaigning for our votes for months. Now as the time for people to head to their local polling station draws near, it can seem that there is little else in the news. Dr Martin Durham is a Politics lecturer at the University’s School of Law, Social Sciences and Communications. In the run-up to the big day, it became clear that one issue was at the forefront of the politicians’, and voters’, minds - the economy. “It is overwhelmingly about the economy,” Martin explains. “People are going to feel very worried about their situation in a way that in previous elections, they may not have been. “People will have specific worries about particular jobs that are likely to be in the firing line, both in the public and private sectors. But people will also have generalised worries about whether their family is going to get through this time as well as they would like.” Another issue that can impact on any election campaign is law and order, particularly if something high profile happens in the weeks or months leading up to the day.

“If people feel threatened or insecure in some way, then that can be an important issue for them,” Dr Durham says. Looking at the historical context of this election, Martin says it is an important one as many commentators have described it as being close between the parties. This may induce more people to vote, as they will view it as an opportunity to make a difference. But Martin also says that people are less loyal to political parties, and this has been true for several decades.

Through the eyes of the media 1997 was a pivotal election in many ways – it marked the end of 18 years of Conservative rule and the beginning of New Labour. But it was also a transitional election in terms of the media, as it marked the emergence of 24-hour news coverage. By the 2001 election, rolling news was a fixture of the election, and has continued to grow from there. In 2010, the biggest change has been the role of the internet, and in particular, social networking sites. Head of the Media and Film department Paul Brighton describes it as the first social media election, with politicians and their families using sites such as Facebook and Twitter to engage with, and win over, voters.

Paul cites Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign as an important turning point. “His team tried to become part of the social network discourse rather than reacting to them, and this marked a significant step change to a new form of campaigning,” he explains. The 24-hour news and the internet gives journalists more of an opportunity to wrest control of the news agenda from the politicians. “There has been a traditional battle, even in the more established forms of media, between the politicians saying “today’s issue will be Subject X” while the journalists are stating “We are interested in Subject Y”. There are more opportunities for journalists to vary stories because there are more outlets. But even with the most sophisticated media monitoring service, you cannot capture everything from the various broadcasters, internet sites, blogs and social media sites.” A new addition to this year’s election has been the televised leaders’ debates. America first held one 50 years ago, and although there was a period without these, they have been a fixture in the USA since 1976. But this was a new aspect of the campaign for Britain, and one Paul believes is here to stay.


Paul argues that the role of the media in any election campaign depends on the quality of debate between the parties, although politicians may see this differently. “Politicians get frustrated because they think the media spends too long focusing on the mechanics of spin and message communication, rather than policy. In the last three or four elections, the media coverage has focused on whether politicians are trying to influence the media – but it is difficult to say whether voters find that interesting,” he says. And although, at times, it may seem like you can not escape a particular party or politician wherever you go, there are strict guidelines from the media watchdog Ofcom regulating coverage once an election is formally called. Broadcasters have to ensure the main political parties have an equal share of the air time, especially on debates such as Question Time.

Decisions, decisions Aside from the party faithful who will vote in one direction regardless of the candidate or issue, what makes a person vote a certain way, or even cast their vote at all? Professor Ken Manktelow is a Psychologist from the University’s School of Applied Sciences and argues that an election where the outcome is uncertain is more likely to draw voters out of their homes.

“You may wonder why anyone would bother to vote as there is no return – the best you can hope for is a warm glow for being a good citizen. But people are more likely to vote when they think it is going to make a difference. If they live in a safe seat in a predictable General Election then they are less likely to vote than if they live in a marginal constituency when the national outcome is uncertain,” he explains. Professor Manktelow says that people who have no party allegiance will make their decision in one of three ways. Firstly, they will look for the party that most closely corresponds with their world view, for example if they are a freemarket libertarian they will seek out a party with similar opinions. Secondly, people will make their choice in the same way they would select a house or car – by elimination. They take every attribute into account, for example price, and then exclude items that fall out of that range. “People will do the same with voting preference,” Ken says. “They will choose an issue they feel strongly about and choose between the parties. If you are pro or antiEurope, you choose a party that has a corresponding policy. If more than one party has a policy you agree with, you will then look at the next important issue to you.” Some people, however, will make a decision intuitively, and almost be unable to explain how they came to that conclusion.

People are more likely to vote when they think it is going to make a difference.

“In Presidential elections, it is more often than not the tallest candidate and the one with the most hair that wins. Uncommitted voters make their judgments in an intuitive way – they almost think without thinking and select based on personal attractiveness. “But when asked why they voted in a particular way, they will not say ‘they were the most attractive candidate’ as everybody believes they wouldn’t make decisions on that basis. It is going on below the surface. What makes someone attractive is not just about being good looking, as a person with film star good looks is not necessarily the best leader or football manager.” In other cases, people will cast their vote tactically, which involves trying to second guess what other people will do. “Tactical voting requires the candidate and the voter to think strategically. This is decision making based on what others are doing. There is also the ‘bandwagon effect’ which is when there is a feeling in the media that a person is going to win, and that idea spreads through a population.” However the voting goes on May 6, it will have been an interesting General Election, whichever way you look at it.


Centre brings

new hope

When a new brain tumour research centre was officially opened at the University of Wolverhampton, a very special guest was invited for a VIP tour.


Harry Moseley gave the Brain Tumour UK Neuro-oncology Research Centre his seal of approval after meeting researchers and seeing the work they are carrying out in laboratories there. The 10-year-old is among those who could benefit from the important research being undertaken. He is living with an inoperable brain tumour but, despite the challenges he faces, he has helped raise more than £22,000 for Brain Tumour UK by making and selling bracelets. Brave Harry, from Sheldon, Birmingham, was

Efforts such as Harry’s have been vital for the launch of the new research centre at the University. Combining two teams of experts, it is identifying the genes that trigger the toughest childhood and adult brain tumours and developing new forms of chemotherapy to attack them. Directing the centre is Professor John Darling, a neuro-oncologist and Dean of the University’s School of Applied Sciences. He is one of the leading figures in the field of brain tumour research in the UK. His work focuses on how brain tumours start and why they are so resistant to therapy. In addition, a research group from the renowned Institute of Neurology at University College London, led by Dr Tracy Warr, an expert in cancerous childhood and so-called “low grade” adult brain tumours, has also been relocated to Wolverhampton. This is enabling them to engage in a more extensive collaboration with cancer scientists at the University. Their work is set to have a significant impact in what is an under-researched area. Brain tumours are a minority cancer, referred to as the ‘Cinderella Cancer’ because they receive very little research funding. The tumours are almost always fatal and can drastically change the personality of the sufferer.

Brain cancer deaths among children exceed those of leukaemia, making it the highest cause of childhood death after accidents. The University of Wolverhampton is one of the few institutions extensively researching brain tumours and is leading a number of highprofile initiatives and developments. Professor Darling says: “There is nowhere else in the UK that is doing this. It is important that research into this type of cancer continues to be funded to allow potentially ground-breaking work to continue. We are optimistic that there will be some major developments and higher survival rates will be seen in the future. “There are three key stages to the research. First, by comparing millions of genes from tumours and healthy tissue, we are identifying the genes most likely to cause brain tumours. We’ve made excellent progress in some adult brain tumours already, but there is still much to be done for childhood tumours and rarer adult tumours. “Second, we’re working out what these problem genes do. For example, they might be blocking a vital process that would normally kill mutant cells or they could help a tumour grow the blood supplies it needs. “And third, we are testing new chemotherapies to change the behaviour of those genes or stop them working altogether. The support of Brain Tumour UK will dramatically increase the rate at which we can identify and tackle these

key genetic targets, to help everyone affected by these brain tumours.” Brain Tumour UK, which is funding the centre, has also launched a £500,000 fundraising target for the first phase of the laboratory’s work and hopes to raise a further million to accelerate the search for new treatments. The charity’s spokesman Trevor Lawson says: “We decided to fund the centre because of the team of experts at the University. This is a major investment and shows the confidence we have in the researchers.” University staff are also supporting fundraising efforts in memory of a former colleague Harry Lance, who sadly passed away earlier this year after suffering a brain tumour. The Harry Lance Memorial Fund will help support the vital research and is being overseen by Professor Darling. “We want our research to translate into new medicines that will make a difference to people’s lives.” With the groundbreaking work that is being carried out, and the committed fundraisers who are providing support, people like Harry Moseley and his family have hope for the future. For details of how to raise money log on to the website: To find out more about cancer research at the University of Wolverhampton see:

Pictures courtesy of Peter Realf/Brain Tumour UK and News of the World

voted Britain’s Kindest Kid for his fundraising for the charity. Last year, he was one of five young people who were congratulated personally by Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, for their achievements. And in 2010 he was voted a Children’s Champion and met the Duke of York.


An alternative

viewpoint Take a look at the images on this page. They look like photographs of a famous view of Venice and a bustling street scene in Paris. But peer closer and not everything is as it seems. The pictures have not been taken with a camera, but painted with a brush. Successful full-time artist Christian Marsh is a graduate of the University’s School of Art & Design. His paintings are ultra realistic, so much so, that is hard to believe they are not photographs. Still based in his home town of Wolverhampton, Christian spends around three months on each painting, carefully re-creating the scene using photos he has taken. “Most of the time I have an idea of what I would like to do, maybe I have seen a city in a film or magazine, but this is only a loose idea because you can never really know exactly. It is only by going to a location that you are able to decide what you want actually want to paint,” he explains. “When I arrive in a city I usually only have a short period of time to take photographs.

Out of hundreds of photographs there may only be one or two that really stand out and capture the image I want to paint, usually because of the right balance of composition, light and detail and where everything just comes together.” Christian graduated in 2002 with a BA (Hons) in Illustration and then went on to complete an MA in the same subject in 2004. He says his studies gave him the chance to develop his skills in drawing and painting and composition in particular. “Studying Illustration helped me to introduce narrative into urban scenes, as well as boosting my self-confidence, developing a better understanding of what to expect in being a selfemployed artist.” The 30-year-old explains that he always visits the locations and takes the photographs himself, as this ensures the scenes are more personal and he has a greater understanding of what makes that particular scene stand out. He then starts by drawing out the composition onto a canvas, putting in as much detail as possible from the start, working across the

canvas from left to right. He completes the first layer of painting and then works back into it with two or three more layers to give a greater depth and sharpness. Having just finished an oil painting of a busy San Francisco Chinatown street scene including a trolley bus, he is now working on a new painting of Shibuya in Tokyo at night.

Studying illustration helped me to introduce narrative into urban scenes.


“It is a great challenge with a lot of neon signs,” he says. “I visited Tokyo in January this year and the colours as you walk around at night were amazing. It’s the first big night scene I have done and I am enjoying the challenge of replicating the glow of the neon.” His work was recently featured in a book of hyperrealist art titled Exactitude, by John Russell Taylor. The book is held by the University’s Learning Centres, a fact that Christian is pleased about as it may help to inspire younger artists. “It’s great to know that the University has the book because it gives other young artists the knowledge that they can do it too.” Of course, being a full-time artist has its challenges, which Christian recognises. But he has some pearls of wisdom and words of encouragement for talented art and design students wishing to follow in his footsteps. “Being a full-time artist can be difficult. From my point of view I am doing the job that I always felt was right for me,” he says.

“I think for a student interested in going into creative arts they need think about what field they are going into and how they would approach getting feedback or advice. For me, it was getting information using the internet but most importantly talking to people face-to-face. “Being a self-employed artist it is not always easy to become established or get recognition but it is important to have self-belief and to keep working to learn and to improve your technique.

You should never be afraid of constructive criticism. It is important because it gives you an insight in to what other people may think. I have also found the value of a good family backing for advice and support.” * Christian is represented by Plus One Gallery in London, which is dedicated to the development and promotion of British and International contemporary hyperrealist art. Visit: for more information.


gadget The

Whether it’s the latest mobile phone or a vacuum cleaner, an electric drill or a bike, there was something for everyone at the Gadget Show Live. But how about a degree? The University of Wolverhampton was one of a handful of higher education institutions to exhibit at the high profile event, and was inundated with visitors throughout the five-day exhibition.

Sam Sutcliffe, Marketing Officer at SCIT, organised the University’s stand. She said: “We wanted to be at the Show to raise our profile and awareness of what we do at the University. As we are launching the BSc (Hons) Computer Systems Engineering and the BSc (Hons) Computer Systems Engineering (Networks) degrees in September, it seemed too big an opportunity to miss.”

Designed to showcase new technological developments and the latest gadgets and gizmos on the market, the event is hugely popular with a range of visitors, from business leaders to families. Exhibitors included some of the biggest names in computer gaming and household devices, such as Sony, Dyson and Black and Decker. The School of Computing and Information Technology (SCIT) decided to have a stand at the event to launch two new ‘gadget’ degrees, and also to showcase the range of innovative and exciting work undertaken by students.

The Show, held at the NEC in Birmingham this month, was also a perfect place to launch a new viral game designed by Games Society students. The Gadget Catcher game uses Flash and was inspired by the Show. Popular with young and old visitors to the University’s stand, the unique game challenged players to catch gadgets falling from a spaceship and bank them in a safe to collect points. With support from McCann-Erickson design agency, second year BSc (Hons) Computer Science student Hiren Patel designed the

game with fellow students Paul Hickman, Andy Hicks and Adam Kesterton. Hiren said: “Working on the game has been an excellent opportunity, especially gaining first hand experience of working with a real design agency.” Andy added: “We wanted to create a fun game that people could play over and over again. We included a high scores table so people can link to Facebook and be competitive with each other. Now anyone can now play the game online.” Another popular exhibit was the interactive Wolverhampton Infrared Touchscreen. This is an example of a multi-touch interface, similar to one used in the film Minority Report. People could move images and figures around the large screen using specially developed remote controls featuring infra-red LEDs.


show The screen itself does not include computerised technology, instead relying on a projector and a customised infra-red camera. The exhibit aimed to showcase some of the software and hardware skills future students can learn on the new ‘gadget’ degrees. BSc (Hons) Computer Science student Sam Wilson is on a placement in SCIT and developed the screen. He said: “It is an innovative piece of technology, and not a lot of companies are using it. I hope to go into research when I finish my degree and doing the placement has been great opportunity to see what academia is really like.” His twin brother Ed Wilson also developed an exhibit for the Gadget Show Live 2010. With support from lecturer Chris Dennett, Ed designed the Wolverhampton Eye in The Sky; a spy camera attached to a motorised blimp. The wireless camera transmitted images to a PC, where they were converted to a standard digital format, enabling visitors to take home a souvenir of their day.

Ed overcame a number of challenges in developing the exhibit, including the restricted weight load required to enable the blimp to fly. Ed, who is also on a placement year and hopes to join the RAF after graduating, said: “It gives a real application for the stuff we are learning on our modules. Appearing at the Show was a great experience.” Lecturer Sarah Mount was also on hand to demonstrate a simulated environment in a large wooden crate, known as the Tangible Wolverhampton Animated Digital Life. The highlight of the simulation was that visitors could affect the environment which in turn changes the behaviour of the virtual inhabitants, either causing extinction or acting as a catalyst for their growth, reproduction and survival. Visitors to the stand could directly alter the environment by changing the amount of light, the temperature and causing earthquakes for the inhabitants of the animated world, which include herbivores, carnivores and plants resembling sweets.

“It is unusual as you interact with everyday objects around the table, such as hairdryers to create heat and an electric light to imitate the sun, to alter the environment,” Sarah explains. The students developed the exhibits while continuing to study towards their degrees. Their hard work and dedication was worthwhile, with hundreds of people visiting the exhibition to try to gain the highest score on Gadget Catcher or to solve almost impossible jigsaw puzzles on the touchscreen. As well as interacting with the various fun exhibits, visitors were able to find out more about the range of degree courses offered by the School of Computing and Information Technology at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Now the next challenge facing the University’s budding games developers and computer scientists is to decide what innovations and new technology to exhibit at next year’s show. To find out more, visit:


World Cup glory for

England? He may be out injured with an Achilles tendon injury, but England star and international football icon David Beckham could still be an important part of this year’s World Cup in South Africa.

Despite his hopes of playing in his fourth tournament being dashed by a freak injury suffered while playing for AC Milan, Becks may well prove to be England’s secret weapon in the greatest football tournament on earth.

Indeed the ‘Becks Effect’ is not lost on England boss Fabio Capello who has invited the inspirational star and ambassador to be part of the party which travels to the tournament, the first to be staged in the continent.

But, rather than those trademark free-kicks and lethal set pieces doing the damage, his mere presence at the tournament could be the key to a potential World Cup winning campaign – and in more ways than one.

Wolverhampton’s School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, should Becks take up the invitation, he could play a vital role without even kicking a ball.

And, according to experts at the University of

Professor Alan Nevill and Professor Andy Lane are both nationally-renowned for their sports research and feel that the ‘Becks Effect’ could be a very positive factor for this year’s Cup.

“It was highly likely that Becks would have been part of the final squad had he not been injured, and his injury was a major blow. But by inviting him along, Becks can still play a pivotal role,” says Professor Nevill. “It’s a very astute decision by Fabio Capello.” Professor Lane agrees. He is part of the research team EROS (Emotional Regulation of Others and Self), and is examining psychology around sports. The research is looking at how environments and people shape moods and emotions, with a view to using findings to make recommendations such as how coaches can get the best out of athletes.


There are a number of explanations why managers no longer pick the same teams. The most likely one is that the demands of the modern game and increase in tempo mean it is becoming physically more demanding with much greater risks of injury. “If we can’t produce our best 11 for the key matches it is quite likely that through injury or squad rotation we would anticipate a less successful outcome,” he says. In addition, he has been working with MSc Sports student Paul Morris on the element of luck and the role it plays in football. This has involved examining how many own goals and deflections occurred throughout the season. This revealed that in March 2010, the percentage of own goals since August 09 was 4.2% and that of deflected goals was 6.5%, making a total of 10.7% of Premiership goals this season having a huge element of luck. And that is not all. As the bidding process for the World Cup in 2018 hots up, Becks is seen as a major player in helping to secure England’s bid to stage the tournament for the first time since 1966. He was famously part of the delegation which secured the London 2012 Olympic bid and many feel his influence, charisma and aura are just what is needed to spearhead the campaign.

Photo by Mark Leech/ Rex Features

In relation to Beckham being invited to South Africa, he says: “Given his age, it suggests it’s not his footballing genius that counts. His contribution is in other areas; he lifts the performance of those around him.” He says research shows that people can ‘catch’ good moods from others and can uplift the moods of those around them. “It’s possible that Beckham raises the emotions of others by giving encouragement. His influence is very positive and his desire to succeed can be ‘caught’.”

“The beauty of Becks is that he can not only influence the short-term goal of helping the team do well, he can also lead us to glory in what is arguably just as competitive a competition – the bid to host a tournament. If Becks is in South Africa, it is highly likely to enhance our chances,” says Professor Nevill. Of course, Becks will not be the only factor that could impact upon England’s chances of winning the tournament. Other factors such as team consistency, luck and home advantage for South Africa will still play a part.

“There are a lot of factors involved but we do need a little bit of luck to win the World Cup,” says Professor Nevill. It seems that luck could well be on the host country’s side. The referee’s decisions can be influenced by the home advantage. South Africa will have the benefit of a supportive home crowd and are more likely to get favourable decisions from the referees. Both Professor Nevill and Professor Lane have conducted extensive research into the subject and say it is common knowledge that soccer teams win more home games than away games. “A referee will tend to wave play on rather than penalise the home team, and the referee will seek to penalise the away team,” says Professor Nevill. So there are many factors which could influence England’s performance in the 2010 World Cup.

Professor Nevill undertook research last year which revealed the key to success lies in picking an unchanged side.

But if all goes to plan Becks could claim the greatest hat-trick of his career in the most unlikely of circumstances.

It showed the most successful teams over the past 40 years have been those where managers have made the fewest changes during a season.

After all, he could still be involved in the tournament he desperately craves for, help raise team morale and he could also be the key to our bid to host the 2018 World Cup.


Keeping it in the family Piecing together the line of succession Building a successful business can depend on many factors. The quality of the product or service offered; the current trading conditions and the way the company is marketed are all important aspects. But in the case of family businesses, the relationship between staff members is more pivotal to the smooth running and survival of the company. In the UK, between 60% and 70% of companies are classified as family businesses. In some other European countries, such as Spain and Italy, the figure is even higher, with estimates suggesting 85% of the businesses fall into this category. But although it is a popular business form, only 30% of family firms manage to pass their ownership to the next generation, and only about 10% progress to the third tier. Dr Yong Wang, from the Management Research Centre at the University of Wolverhampton Business School, has been researching this area for 10 years. He experienced working in a family business himself in China before gaining a scholarship from the government to Manchester Business School. He completed a PhD which focused on family business succession. He explains that family businesses are established for various reasons. “For some family businesses, the main purpose is to provide financial income for the family and education for the younger generation.

They sometimes suffer from a skills shortage, as people are recruited purely because of their family membership rather than qualifications and capabilities,” he says.

One of the main areas of research Yong has carried out has focused on why succession seems to be such a problem for many family businesses.

Yong explains that the vast majority of family businesses are small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), with two or three family members involved. However, one company he met during his research featured 14 relatives from three generations of the same family, which is unusual. There are some notable examples of large companies run by families, particularly the supermarket chains of Sainsbury’s, Walmart/Asda and Morrisons, but also Toyota and Clarks. Family businesses are generally in low tech fields, often operating in the catering, service, and transport sectors.

He says that there are three key elements to a successful changeover between the generations. Firstly, the relationships within the family, and how members interact with non-family employees. Sometimes there is no potential successor, as someone from the next generation has been given the opportunity to pursue a university education and then does not want to come back into the business. Secondly, research indicates there is a lack of succession planning in family businesses, as the leaders do not foresee any problems in the future. Yong states that research has indicated that if a boss wishes to pass ownership on within the family, he or she needs to plan up to 20 years in advance.

Succession The inter-generational relationship is critical when succession within the family is considered. A healthy relationship between incumbent and successor will pave the way to a smooth transition, whereas respect, understanding, and complementary behaviour between the two generations are essential. Yong explains: “People in family businesses can talk more easily with each other. The communication line is short, and decisions can be made very quickly and even over the dinner table. This means that family businesses can often respond to market changes quickly.”

Lastly, there needs to be adequate training for the successor, and sometimes there is a shortage of resources for this. Yong suggests that a good method is to allow the proposed successor to walk out of the business in the early stages of their career and develop their experience outside, and then return with fresh ideas and new skills.


Leadership Research has also focused on the style of leadership. Yong explains there are generally two types of leadership across all forms of companies. The autocratic and centralised style has one person making the decisions, while participative is more democratic and relies on delegation to the next tier of management. Research shows that the more democratic style of management tends to trigger the better business performance, but many family organisations, by their very nature, rely on one person making the decisions. Yong has met many interesting families over the years he has been researching this area, and is able to look in-depth into this type of business through interviews, case studies and standardised questionnaires. In the past two decades, family business research has gathered momentum. Both the quantity and quality of research soar.

Dr Wang and his colleagues recently hosted the IFERA@CHINA Family Business Forum in China, commissioned by the International Family Enterprise Research Academy (IFERA). The Forum received papers on subjects such as the survival, longevity, and growth of family businesses, as well as other themes of research related to family firm commitment, human capital, governance practices, culture and dynamic capabilities. Family companies are credited with nurturing entrepreneurial talent across generations, a sense of loyalty to business success, longterm strategic commitment, and corporate independence. With the on-going evolution of the world economy and globalisation, new waves of family firms are emerging. They have the potential to reshape the socio-economic structure and reconfigure the future global landscape. Research in this increasingly popular subject area will attract more attention from both practitioners and researchers.

In fact, insights into this specific domain will enrich our knowledge of family firms and allow us to understand how these companies can survive and prosper with their unique resources, initiatives and capabilities.

Family businesses can often respond to market changes quickly.


My priority is to get to know the different departments and Schools and how they all fit together and complement one another.


Leading from the front Helen Lloyd Wildman joined the University in January as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Director of Corporate Services. Her main areas of responsibility are IT Services, Marketing and Communications, Personnel, Risk, Safety and Health, and the University Secretary’s Department but she also has oversight of other departments across the University. Before joining the higher education sector, Helen spent 23 years in the Army and Ministry of Defence, in a variety of roles, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. On leaving the Army, Helen became Director of Strategic Planning at De Montfort University. She then joined The Open University as Regional Director for the East of England. Helen’s first degree was in Library and Information Studies. She also has a PGCE, an MBA from Cranfield, an MSc in Strategic Studies and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. When Helen Wildman took her first role as a librarian, she could never have imagined that her future career path would take her away from that quiet setting to war-torn Afghanistan. But when she was accepted into the Army and Ministry of Defence, new opportunities opened up to her, which made for a very interesting and varied journey. Helen had initially studied Library and Information Studies but decided to swap libraries for a new challenge. After applying to the police, Air Force, Army and Navy, she went through a gruelling selection process with the Army. The indoor and outdoor assault courses were particularly tough and Helen even had to throw herself through a wooden frame, representing a window, as part of the course. She successfully completed the process then undertook officer training at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and professional training with the Royal Army Educational Corps. Helen’s career with the Army and Ministry of Defence lasted for 23 years and has given her many memorable experiences, including time spent in Hong Kong and the Falklands. Her first posting was teaching soldiers in Germany, something she very much enjoyed. “They were challenging students but were so

motivated because if they passed their exams they got promoted. They would hang on to your every word,” she says. “I loved it and found it very rewarding. We were there when they got their results and it was really satisfying to see them achieve their goals.” She later held posts as Commander Educational and Training Services, Head of PR for the British Forces in Germany and HR Manager at the Army Personnel Centre in Glasgow. Latterly, she spent five months in Afghanistan where she was Spokesperson for the International Security and Assistance Force, overseeing press officers from 19 different countries and co-ordinating the media strategy. The barracks were shelled a couple of times but as well as dealing with the situation, Helen had to provide information to the media. “One day in Kabul, we had just been shelled and I had to hold a press conference about it. The adrenaline was going and it was only when it was over that the reality of what had happened really hit me,” she says. After leaving the Army, Helen returned to the UK and took a post as Director of Strategic Planning at De Montfort University. She then became Regional Director for The Open University in the East of England, based in Cambridge, raising the profile of the OU in the region.

While University life may be a different environment to the Army, throughout her career Helen has been closely linked to education. All her time in the Army was with the education and training corps and she has always retained her passion for higher education. She acknowledges that there are many challenges within the sector at present, particularly with funding cuts affecting institutions, but she is confident that there are also many opportunities and positive changes ahead. Outside of work, Helen enjoys amateur dramatics. She belongs to two societies in Cambridgeshire and stage roles have included Captain Mainwaring’s love interest in a Dad’s Army production and a lion tamer in Annie Get Your Gun. In the future, she would be interested in setting up a staff drama group at the University. Helen plans to move to the region later this year with her husband, Ivan, and two daughters. She is now enjoying shaping her new role at Wolverhampton and finding out more about the University and the surrounding area. “My priority is to get to know the different departments and Schools and how they all fit together and complement one another. “The portfolio of this job reflects my past experience. It’s a very exciting opportunity.”


Not the

retiring type… When many people picture their retirement, they imagine lazy holidays by the sea, long lunches with friends and a chance to focus on that hobby they have always wanted to pursue. But not Arthur Louis. After decades working in the manufacturing industry, including running his own company, Arthur decided to head to University at the age of 59 to retrain as a nurse. After selling his business, Arthur had initially set off for the sunshine of Cyprus. But after six months, he realised a life of leisure wasn’t for him. After seeing a doctor at work during his time in Cyprus, Arthur decided to apply to the University’s School of Health and Wellbeing to study a Diploma in Higher Education (DipHE) Nursing. He was offered a place and started his studies in January 2007. “I was self conscious about my age when I first started but all the young people in the group were very helpful and supportive,” Arthur, now 63, says. Arthur is full of praise for the lecturers he encountered during his three years at the University. “All the lecturers are ex-nurses so have real experience to share. Having been on the frontline, they were able to give factual answers based on their experience and knowledge,” Arthur explains. “I was treated exactly the same as the other students and have nothing but praise for the University of Wolverhampton.

In my mind, they took a big chance offering me a place, for which I will be forever grateful.” As a student nurse, Arthur completed three seven-week long placements in a year in a clinical environment. He also received practical training in the University’s Skills Labs or ‘mock wards’. He passed his course in January this year and is set to graduate from the School of Health and Wellbeing in September. Arthur’s initial ambition was to become qualified and then carry out volunteer work as a nurse abroad. However he realised during his final year at University that he needed more nursing experience to be of value to patients. Having grown attached to New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, he applied for a position as a nurse in the Accident and Emergency department. The father-of-two says: “At the age of 63, I was delighted to be offered a position there which has turned out to be even better than I imagined and I love every minute of every day I am there. “I gain more satisfaction from this job than all the years in industry. It is a completely different world from the business one. For me, the big difference is that everything I do is patient-centred as opposed to being financially motivated.” Arthur even found adjusting to night shifts a fairly easy process, having already experienced these on his placements.

He also praises the training he received to be non-judgmental when dealing with all patients, irrespective of their manner. “I consider it a privilege to enter people’s lives at such a critical point for them and one which I know all of my colleagues feel the same way about,” he adds. Looking back, Arthur only has one regret in relation to his nursing career. “The only regret I have is that I did not do this earlier in life. I have always been ambitious and striven to reach the top, but I have acknowledged to myself that I don’t have sufficient working years left in the profession to gain the required experience to progress further. “Ideally I would like to become a specialist nurse, however if they increase the retirement age to 67, I still have aspirations to become a junior charge nurse. Only time will tell.” With dedication and commitment, Arthur was able to enter a rewarding profession and gain new skills, and he is clearly enjoying the experience. He has also demonstrated that you are never too old to start a new career. As he says: “I was an ‘older’ mature student, which I recognise, however thanks to the total support that I received from the University and now from my work colleagues, I don’t feel old. In fact, I don’t feel any different to anyone else.” For more information about School of Health and Wellbeing courses, visit


I gain more satisfaction from this job than all the years in industry.


Boosting Financial challenges and increasing competition means businesses are having to work smarter than ever to remain successful. With this in mind, there is more importance being placed on the up-skilling of workers to give companies a competitive edge. Now, a unique new initiative run by the University of Wolverhampton is providing client-focused business support for Continuing Professional and Personal Development (CPPD) in the workplace. i-CD (Intelligent Career Development) has been established to create flexible learning opportunities to help boost the performance and profitability of local and national businesses, and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region. These types of businesses have been identified as having a shortage of staff with higher education qualifications, particularly when comparing the UK with other G8 countries. This is something i-CD aims to address through its forward-looking approach. Its aim is to provide bite-sized learning packages, short units of study which plug skills gaps while also offering credits towards higher qualifications should they wish to do pursue this in the future.

i-CD’s Field-Based Learning Consultants work with employers to assess these needs, creating a Performance Needs Analysis which highlights learning that could benefit the company. Possible areas for improvement have included succession planning, HR, leadership and management and i-CD works with relevant Schools to create a successful programme of delivery. i-CD has built a close partnership with the University’s Institute for Learning Enhancement (ILE) which focuses on developing academic excellence through innovative initiatives. As part of a Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) project to develop an employerresponsive curriculum, ILE is developing an e-portfolio based pedagogy for work-based learners. The pedagogy includes online materials and learning activities which means i-CD Members don’t need to come into the University to study the Unit. The JISC funding has supported the initial development of the pedagogy through pilot i-CD units. Two pilots, one for the School of Law, Social Sciences and Communications based on Employment Law and one for the University of Wolverhampton Business School focusing on Leadership and Management, are being run. These two pilots follow the completion of an initial pilot for the School of Engineering and the Built Environment based on ‘Enhancing Communication Skills with Clients’.

Those taking part will have gained an i-CD Study Award and will take what they’ve learned back to their workplace, to mutual benefit. i-CD Units also have the additional advantage that credits earned can be used towards further academic awards from the University of Wolverhampton. The i-CD learning philosophy matches exactly the requirements in the delivery of foundation degrees, namely that the programme is vocational and adds value to the recipient in terms of vocational development. i-CD are working closely with Foundation Degree Forward (fDf) to develop a number of modules targeted particularly at employed professional people throughout the West Midlands, and in subject areas identified by the West Midlands Regional Observatory, as being required to develop the economic output of the region. This is a very exciting project and will play a part in the regeneration of the region. i-CD was launched publicly in September 2009 and has been forging ahead under Chief Executive, Kim White, who has a long and successful track record in business, the public sector and education. Kim says: “The biggest challenges facing businesses now are working out how to emerge from recession whilst at the same time facing new legislation that slows trading conditions. At a time like this there is a need for original and clear thought and the application of sound judgement. However, that is a tough call when the challenges lie outside the scope of your previous experience.


business “Before a business can act to emerge from recession it will need informed and balanced thinking from its managers, who then have the confidence and means to carry out their ideas. This is where i-CD can help - by equipping managers to think and act their way out of recession.�


For more information see: or email:

The biggest challenges facing businesses now are working out how to emerge from recession whilst at the same time facing new legislation that slows trading conditions.




Honour With strong overseas links, the University of Wolverhampton has established itself as a truly global institution.

The University’s international partnerships are constantly growing and strong foundations for new relationships are well established.

law enforcement to being a protective tool linked to real community partnership which monitors security and stability and gains the trust and satisfaction of the public.

It is currently building up its presence in the Middle East, particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Gulf States, with a focus on continued professional development.

A formal ceremony was held at Abu Dhabi Police Headquarters where guests viewed footage of the University of Wolverhampton and found out more about its role regionally, nationally and internationally. A documentary highlighting His Highness’ role in enhancing security and safety within the UAE society was also shown.

A delegation of senior staff recently had the opportunity to cement links with the UAE, as guests of His Highness Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister. They visited Abu Dhabi to present an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Social Science to His Highness, who is a pioneer in the realm of change and development and has made an outstanding contribution to society. The University chose to recognise his many achievements. His Highness has made a considerable contribution to urban development, taking a leading role in designing security and safety measures for the protection of residents of, and visitors to, the UAE. His achievement in the realms of Police and Security include founding the Ministry of Interior’s centres for rehabilitating people with special needs in 2002, launching the Community Police Project in 2003, and founding a pioneering social support centre in 2004. He believes in the comprehensive role of the police and moving it from just being a tool for

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline Gipps, said: “It has been a particular honour to be able to present this award in Abu Dhabi. As a leader, His Highness has demonstrated commitment to both social inclusion and developing new international relations, in harmony with the University’s own ethos.” His Highness Sheikh Saif added: “I am honoured to have received this honorary doctorate from the University of Wolverhampton. It is a prestigious institution with whom we have developed a successful partnership over many years. It was a pleasure to welcome Professor Gipps and her delegation and I look forward to cultivating this association in the years ahead.” The ceremony took place in February and the University of Wolverhampton’s links with the Middle East continue to grow. In March this year, the University co-hosted a conference on urban planning and architecture in conjunction with Ajman.

The 4th International Ajman Urban Planning Conference was co-hosted by the University and Ajman Municipality in the UAE. The event examined architecture and urban planning around the world, and addressed various trends in the development of city waterfront around the world. A total of 57 world-leading architects, urban planners and academics from 18 countries participated in the conference through research papers and architectural presentations. Professor Sir Geoff Hampton, Deputy ViceChancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, presented one of the opening speeches. In addition, the University’s focus on continued professional development in the region has also led to close working with Abu Dhabi Police. A meeting with Dubai Police Academy resulted in an agreement to establish a research programme. This will start with master-classes and culminate with a conference. The outcome of the research will be a multidisciplinary virtual security project. There are also plans for collaboration with Abu Dhabi Education Council developing primary and secondary school teaching. With projects such as these in the pipeline, the University’s reputation for international work is set to be further enhanced in the future. For more information about the University’s International Centre and its work please see:


Andrew Logan is one of Britain’s principal sculptural artists. Following early fame as the founder of the Alternative Miss World, he has become an influential artist with exhibitions all over the world. Qualifying in architecture in the late 1960s, he has gone on to work across the fields of sculpture, jewellery, stage design and public art, among others. His creations are on show at the Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture in Wales, the only museum in Europe dedicated to a living artist.

art to



You received an honorary degree from the University of Wolverhampton in September – how did you feel about that?

I was very honoured, and felt very humble.


What advice would you offer to students hoping to follow in your footsteps?

At the graduation ceremony, my tip was to be kind to your fellow man as you go through life.


What do you think are the greatest challenges facing today’s arts students?

I think it has become very difficult. Society is so obsessed with money that people have forgotten why we are here. To come into that world when you are creative is difficult. But as the Dalai Lama said, never give up. That would be my advice to students.


How do you think your background in architecture has helped you? You learn about structures and balance and the philosophy of life, so it was an all round education. A lot of designers have come from an architectural background. When I am creating a sculpture or something, I have an innate sense of how to build it.


In my early childhood I wanted to be a vicar, because I thought it was rather wonderful to live and work in beautiful places. Hopefully now I would want to do something creative.

7 5

You have had a varied career – sculpture, jewellery, public art and the Alternative Miss World – what has been your favourite thing to work on?

Every piece! I am my own greatest fan because I love everything I do. When I am working on a big sculpture and have a rest, I will make a piece of jewellery. Sculpture is quite a lonely process, but public performance is a wonderful way of working with people. I love my little museum in Wales and the Pegasus sculptures – they have become a symbol.

If you were at University today, what would you study?

What do you feel has been your greatest achievement?

Living and working as long as I have! Hopefully bringing inspiration to many people.


In your opinion, what makes a great design or piece of artwork?

The soul in a piece. I see a lot of fantastic work that I am indifferent to – I rarely see anything contemporary that I feel has a soul.


Photo by Robyn Beeche

life Photo by Rose Beddington


Permanent collection of the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Who do you admire and why?

My friend Zandra Rhodes, because she is a true artist and my friend Duggie Fields, who is a painter. Brian Eno in the musical world, as I admire his integrity. The people I love to celebrate are people who have really done something, like Zandra and Duggie, and anyone who has given a great celebration to life.


What ambitions do you still have to fulfil?

I would like to go around the world. I have seen some of the great wonders of the world but I would like to visit them all so that I can feel I have embraced the world. My great dream is to have museums of my work all around the world, with one on every continent. For more on Andrew Logan’s work, visit:

Photo by Robyn Beeche


Graduate success story

Jon Spiers A dream of setting up his own business and a love of music influenced graduate Jon Spiers to launch A Bomb studios. A Bomb studios, based in Hednesford, is named after The Jam’s song, ‘A’ Bomb in Wardour Street. The name was chosen because Jon’s band, The Reluctant Heroes, supported From the Jam, a group which featured two original members of the legendary rock group, on tour. Jon decided to study a BA (Hons) Popular Music at the University of Wolverhampton to pursue his interest in music. He was impressed by the course and wanted to attend a University near to his home so he could continue performing with his band. “It is a good University and staff are friendly and easy to talk to,” he says. “The theory we learned in class helped develop my skills as a musician as well as giving me the techniques to teach others. The studio work was great practical experience for setting up a studio of my own and working with musicians. My tutors were down to earth and often performing locally themselves so they really encouraged me to pursue my love of music.”

My tutors really encouraged me to pursue my love of music.

Jon always wanted to set up his own business and saw it as a great opportunity to dedicate more time to working within the music industry. The studio also allows him a more serious commitment to his own band as it gives them a first rate space to practice and record tracks. After University Jon found it was difficult to find work in his area of expertise. He had a number of casual jobs but when the opportunity arose to start A Bomb studios with his friend Karl Hollis, Jon jumped at the chance to be his own boss and put the skills he learned through his degree into practice. The business was also awarded a small loan through the Prince’s Trust Business Programme, which helped with the start-up costs and some building adjustments that were needed. “Starting your own business is hard work but you get out of it what you put in. It’s exciting to start a new venture and completely focus on the music.” The studio has only recently opened so Jon is currently involved in lots of promotion and is building contacts in the region. The music studio now includes three practice rooms and one recording studio and they have already been involved with recording material for a number of bands and providing rehearsal space for others. Jon also offers tuition in both piano and guitar encouraging people from a wide range of experience to use the facilities at A Bomb. Jon has advice for other students completing their courses and starting out on their own. “Keep going. If you believe in what you are doing you will get there in the end. Sometimes you get knock-backs but if you keep going you will succeed.”

Name: Jon Spiers Course: BA (Hons) Popular Music Year of Graduation: 2007


What’s on

Guide May



Free public lecture – Perceptions of HE teaching effectiveness: students, lecturers and pedagogy – consensus or conflict? By Professor Jo Allan

Free public lecture – Global citizenship and a cosmopolitan outlook by Professor Glynis Cousin

Olivier Mythodrama - Ethical Leadership: Lessons from Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Date: Wednesday, June 2 2010

Date: Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Time: Full day event, starts at 9am

Time: 6pm

Time: 6pm

Location: Wolverhampton Science Park, Exhibition room

Location: WN004, Walsall Campus

Location: MC001, Millennium City Building, City Campus

Contact: The Graduate School on 01902 32 3317 or

Contact: The Graduate School on 01902 32 3317 or



Free public lecture – The role of universitybusiness collaboration in influencing regional innovation by Professor Ian Oakes

School of Art & Design Degree Show 2010 – featuring work by final year students

Date: Thursday 1 July 2010

Contact: Lina Jarvis on 01902 518964 or Website: Open to all University staff and partner organisations Stroke Conference - Stroke professionals, patients and carers are invited to attend this conference, to share best practice and find out more about the current Stroke Agenda

Time: 6pm

Dates & times: Saturday 5 June and Saturday 12 June -10am to 4pm; Monday 7 June to Friday 11 June - 9am to 5pm.

Location: MC001, Millennium City Building, City Campus

Location: School of Art & Design, MK Building, Molineux Street

Contact: The Graduate School on 01902 32 3317 or


Time: 9am – 4.30pm



Tel: 01902 322058

Location: School of Health and Wellbeing, Walsall Campus

Date: Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Date: Friday, 9 July 2010

Contact: Marie Gildea Inspirational Leadership seminar (with Rob Holdway) Date: Wednesday 26 May 2010 Time: 10am -12.30pm with complimentary lunch Location: Wolverhampton Science Park, Auditorium Contact: Lina Jarvis on 01902 518964 or Website: Open to all University staff and partner organisations

University of Wolverhampton Open Day – Find out about a range of courses, meet the lecturers and current students and tour the excellent facilities Date: Saturday, 12 June 2010 Time: 10am – 3pm Location: Wolverhampton City and Walsall Campuses Contact: Enquiries team on 0800 953 3222* Or visit:

Website: Call: 01902 321151

*If you are calling from a mobile you may incur a charge. The charge may vary depending on your network provider



University of Wolverhampton Wulfruna Street Wolverhampton West Midlands WV1 1LY tel: 0800 953 3222* fax: 01902 32 25 17 web:

Printed on paper from sustainable forests with FSC mixed source credit MAC071 (1)

*If you are calling from a mobile phone you may incur a charge. The charge will vary depending on your network provider

WLVdialogue April 2010  

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