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Issue 01 Summer 2011




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Life. At Wolverhampton. After Wolverhampton. For Life. Welcome to the first edition of WLV Life – the new alumni magazine for graduates and former students of the University of Wolverhampton. Whether your time at Wolverhampton is just a distant memory or graduation seems like it was only yesterday, we’ve kept you in our minds. As the editor, I’ve had great fun putting WLV Life together, talking to fellow alumni and hearing about where life has taken them after graduating. And that’s what this magazine is all about – your life, at Wolverhampton, after Wolverhampton, for life. Packed full of news and features from our alumni community, you can read about the lives of people who, like you, studied at Wolverhampton. For some graduates, life has taken them all the way to Hollywood (p10-11) and NASA (p20), and for others just starting out, life is looking very promising as they begin their career or continue their studies (p14-15). WLV Life goes out to over 50,000 people from across the globe and just like the WLV Alumni Association (p4-5), it aims to bring together all of our graduates.

Inside you’ll be sure to find something of interest, whether it’s the conferment of Honorary Degrees to distinguished figures in India (p8-9) or closer to home, the brand new facilities being built at Walsall Campus (p16-17). I hope you find WLV Life an entertaining and informative read – please do let us know your thoughts at: If you fancy sending us a letter or sharing your life story then we’d love to read – and maybe even publish – what you’ve been up to since we said goodbye.

Amy Robert on Best wishes

Amy Roberton Alumni and Development Office

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The University of Wolverhampton takes great pride in the success of its alumni community and none more so than Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline Gipps. Attending graduation ceremonies each year, Professor Gipps takes the opportunity to join graduates in the celebration of their achievements. “Graduation is the culmination of years of hard work for our students and it is always a pleasure to witness the happiness that this special occasion brings to them and their families,” she says. Since Professor Gipps took up the post of Vice-Chancellor in 2005, the University has received recognition for its world-leading research activity; re-designed its curriculum; built an increased international presence and enhanced its regional, national and international business links.

“KTPs offer graduates the opportunity to fast-track their career and at the same time make an impact within an organisation through managing their project for the company,” she says. “With an average of 73% going on to secure permanent employment with the company upon completion, the benefits of this scheme reach out to graduates and the region.” During her time at Wolverhampton Professor Gipps has witnessed the many successes of graduates. She says: “Every day we have graduates who get back in contact with the University to share their stories and volunteer their time to support us. It gives me great pleasure to know they are achieving their aspirations and great pride when I think that Wolverhampton had some part to play in that.”

University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline Gipps, retires this summer. We celebrate the last five years With just under 90% of Wolverhampton graduates going on to a job or further training, Professor Gipps recognises the role that the University’s students go on to play in the region’s economic and cultural development.

Professor Gipps has also been pivotal in the University’s increasing global presence, establishing strong relationships with countries including China, Malaysia, France, India, and the United Arab Emirates to name but a few.

The 2010 ‘Learning Works’ project, which launched a new portfolio of undergraduate courses is testimony to Caroline’s belief in the importance of providing the best courses.

Before she retires this summer, Professor Gipps will also witness the completion of a multi-million pound building development which began before she took up the post and will end this July with the completion of The Performance Hub in Walsall.

“Learning Works was a step into tomorrow where the University is better able to prepare students for the world they will face upon graduation, and beyond. Drawing on past and current successes, we have enriched the undergraduate portfolio so that courses are now focused on providing them with the skills and knowledge they need for the world of work.” One of the University’s most notable achievements while Caroline has been at the helm was in 2009 when it was awarded £24.3 million to manage Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) for the region, a scheme which offers graduates a threeyear paid placement within a local business. Earlier this year it was also announced that Wolverhampton is now number one in the UK for its KTP scheme.

Caroline is looking forward to joining her husband in retirement but will miss the colleagues with whom she has spent the last five years working closely. She says: “I could not have achieved as much as I have without the support of staff, particularly my excellent senior team.” She adds: “This is a great institution and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to lead it for the past five years. I like to think that I have been able to contribute to the University’s development and profile but, of course, we would be nowhere without our students who, with their energy and enthusiasm, keep reminding me why we work in a university.”

Univer sity highlights A round-up of some of our key successes Academic excellence

Olympic honour for sports centre

Computer scientist and mathematician, Professor Mike Thelwall was named the world’s number one expert in the field of ‘informetrics’, and Senior Lecturer, John Hay received an MBE for his services to the D/deaf community and higher education.

Our Walsall Campus sports centre was named as an official training base for the 2012 Olympics. It is included in the Guide for National Olympic Committees for the Olympic sports of Basketball, Judo and Taekwondo.

Learning Works

Chalking up top marks Ofsted has ranked our primary and secondary school teacher training courses as ‘Grade 1: Outstanding’ and for our budding future students our on-site nursery, Little Scholars, was also rated outstanding by Ofsted at the latest inspection.

We’ve been up to a great deal since you graduated (enough to fill the whole magazine probably!) and we’d like to share with you some of our biggest achievements. These are what we are most proud of and we hope you are too.

We proudly launched an exciting new portfolio of undergraduate courses in September 2010. As the first UK university to establish a virtual learning environment across campus, we introduced a second generation system to enhance the virtual learning experience, and in 2010 the National Student Survey showed that 84% of students were happy with the learning resources available, compared to a

New Centre to tackle brain tumours We opened a new scientific research centre to target the world’s toughest brain tumours. The Centre brings together two teams of experts to identify the genes that trigger the toughest childhood and adult brain tumours and to develop new forms of chemotherapy to attack them.

national average of 80%.

A Fairtrade University We achieved Fairtrade status and were named runner-up in the Outstanding Achievement category of the Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 Awards. BBC News Presenter George Alagiah visited the University to chair a panel discussion on International Fairtrade Day.

World leading research The last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) revealed the University has areas of research ranked among the best in the world, achieving the highest 4-star rating, which equates to world-leading.

International offices We developed our international links by opening our newest regional office in Cyprus, to join those in Poland, China, India, Nigeria and Malaysia.



Alumni Association

What’s it all about? To us, it doesn’t matter when you graduated, what qualification you took away with you or where your life since University has taken you. As a past student of the University of Wolverhampton you are one of our alumni and part of our exciting new WLV Alumni Association. Got some questions? Then read on... What is ‘alumni’? ‘Alumni’ is another term for graduates and is used to describe former students of a University. It is used throughout the world and aims to create a sense of community amongst those who, through studying at the same institution, have one thing in common. ‘Alumni’ is plural, ‘alumnus’ or ‘alumna’ is singular so you’ll regularly see each being used, but don’t worry, they essentially mean the same thing!

Am I an alumnus? You may be wondering how you can be an alumnus because you didn’t complete your course, or because you only studied one module. Well, the term alumni can be used broadly or narrowly. Some universities restrict alumni to mean only those students that completed their course. But we want our alumni community to be much broader so we use it to mean any former student that came away with an award.

Here’s the important bit…the term ‘award’ includes: •

all classes of undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees

Certificates and Diplomas of Higher Education – for example, if you withdrew from your course but still completed a number of modules

undergraduate credits – for example, if you only intended to study one module with us, perhaps as an Associate Student.

So, whether you completed a three-year undergraduate course, a one-year postgraduate course, or you only studied one or a few modules and then withdrew, we still want you to be part of our alumni community!

What is the WLV Alumni Association? The WLV Alumni Association is a Universitywide, global association that brings together Wolverhampton graduates old and new, from both the UK and overseas into one community. Every student that leaves the University with an award automatically becomes a member. It’s completely free and offers you some fantastic benefits – more about these below! We’re already in contact with over 50,000 alumni and you’re one of them. As part of the WLV Alumni Association you can always be part of your University and we can always be there for you.

What are the benefits? As a member of the WLV Alumni Association you can enjoy some great benefits including: • WLV Life – biannual flagship magazine • WLV@lumni – monthly e-newsletter • access to careers and employment services • invites to career and social networking events • discounts on UK attractions and activities. For more information about these visit:

WeLoVe membership card Look out for your WeLoVe membership card. On it you will find your unique Alumni Membership Number (which you will probably recognise as your old Student Number). It is important that you keep this to hand as you will need your membership number to update your contact details and access benefits and discounts.

How can I support the University? You can read more about how you can support your University on pages 12-13.


Meet the first President of the WLV Alumni Association Waqas Baggia, Master in Business Administration, 2010 We’re delighted to announce the appointment of the first ever President of the newly launched WLV Alumni Association: MBA graduate, Waqas Baggia. 25 year-old Waqas is the founder and Managing Director of Wolverhamptonbased digital media company, Kreative Iron. Named as one of the Future 100 Young Social Entrepreneurs for 2009, he made a name for himself on the global stage last year when he was invited to share his experiences of launching a business at the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit in Canada. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Waqas moved to Wolverhampton to study a Masters in Business Administration.


I had the privilege to be taught by some of the best minds in the industry. The invaluable experience and advice provided by my postgraduate lecturers gave me the foundation and right mindset to start my own company.

Together with fellow graduate, Zee-shan Chaudhry, Waqas successfully applied for the University’s Student Placements for Entrepreneurs in Education West Midlands (SPEED WM) programme, which enables students to establish their own business alongside their studies. The programme provided the tools and resources needed to set up and develop their company, Kreative Iron. He says: “SPEED WM was instrumental in making Kreative Iron a success. Participants are educated in all aspects of running a business and can gain access to networks which would have been difficult if pursued independently.” Waqas is an advisor to the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs which stimulates university enterprise by supporting, connecting and representing enterprise societies and student entrepreneurs. He was awarded the SPEED WM Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 jointly with Zee-shan Chaudhry for Kreative Iron. He is an Ambassador for One Young World, a global leadership summit for young leaders whose Councillors include Kofi Annan, Bob Geldof, Muhammad Yunus, Desmond Tutu and Mo Ibrahim. He is also a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Waqas formally took up the position of President of the WLV Alumni Association on 9 May 2011. “It is truly an honour to be the first President of the University of Wolverhampton Alumni Association,” he says. “Alumni of our University are leaders in their industries. We hope to showcase the success of our alumni and allow them to connect, collaborate and support fellow alumni as well as existing students.” Got a question for Waqas? Email:



News... ‘Share your Story’ competition winner Natalie Barrow



Congratulations to BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and MSc Environmental Technology graduate, Natalie Barrow, who has won our ‘Share your Story’ competition. Natalie has gone on to become a qualified Environmental Health Practitioner and, alongside her day job, has used her knowledge and skills to do volunteer work in Peru, helping some of the poorest people in squatter villages to improve their health. Natalie won an Apple iPad and you can read her full story in the winter edition of WLV Life.

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Postgraduate students celebrate graduation


Careers Recruitment Fair 2011 Wednesday 19 October, 11am-3pm Student Union Centre, University of Wolverhampton, City Campus, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LY If you are looking for an opportunity to start or develop your career, then you need to attend the Recruitment Fair 2011. This event will be a great opportunity to ‘get ahead of the field’ in a highly competitive jobs market. • Meet with local, national and international employers, recruitment agencies and support organisations. • Find out the latest graduate, placement and seasonal job opportunities. • Get free advice from our qualified Career Advisors, advice on job applications, interview techniques and career planning. • Access enterprise and self-employment resources. There is no need to book and it is free to attend.

April saw the culmination of years of hard work for our postgraduate students as they donned their caps and gowns for graduation. Students from courses across the University came together at The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton where the ViceChancellor, Professor Caroline Gipps was proud to confer their awards. Nursing students from the School of Health and Wellbeing also graduated in ceremonies that spanned two days. We welcome them all into the alumni community! Indian Alumni Association Last month we officially launched our new Indian Alumni Association. A Chapter of the WLV Alumni Association for graduates from India, membership is open to Indian graduates living around the world. The Association was officially launched at an Honorary Degree ceremony in Chennai for The Hindu Editor-inChief, Narasimhan Ram, who we are delighted to appoint as Honorary President of the Association. Join the Indian Alumni Association: Read more on p8-9. Discounts As a graduate of the University of Wolverhampton you can take advantage of lots of fantastic discounts on UK attractions, travel and accommodation providers, and much more. Visit: New merchandise Want a gift or souvenir of your time at Wolverhampton? We have a whole new range of merchandise which you can purchase online at: Check out the range on p18-19.



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We award Honorary Degrees to distinguished figures in India For over four decades the University of Wolverhampton has been proud to confer Honorary Degrees on distinguished people from around the world.

These prestigious awards recognise the achievements of individuals within their career and the impact they have had in their field, and last month we were delighted to honour three leading figures from the political and media arena in India. In two ceremonies taking place in New Delhi and Chennai, Finance Minister, Honorary Shri Pranab Mukherjee; Leader of the Opposition, Mr Arun Jaitley; and Editor-in-Chief of India’s largest newspaper The Hindu, Mr Narasimhan Ram; all received Honorary Doctorates.

The award of Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters was conferred on Mr Pranab Mukherjee in recognition of his outstanding service to Indian society and contribution to international affairs. Mr Arun Jaitley, who received the same award, was recognised for his contribution to Indian politics and service to the people of India. Mr Narasimhan Ram was conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Social Sciences in recognition of his prolific and distinguished journalistic career. Attending the events was the University’s Chancellor, The Rt Hon Lord Paul of Marylebone, PC. Speaking of the awardees Lord Paul described them as: “First class scholars that understand the value of education and what can be achieved when the right foundations are in place. Through their inspirational careers, they have come to play a vital role in the prosperity and global standing of India.” He added: “The University is proud of its connection with India. It is a privilege for me personally, as I have been Chancellor of the University for many years, and I am always pleased to attend and confer such awards, to help promote and strengthen relations between the UK and India.”

There are almost 3,000 international students studying in Wolverhampton and a further 1,000 studying on University of Wolverhampton programmes delivered overseas in over 10 countries. Supporting this activity is an established network of regional offices in India, Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia, Nigeria, Cyprus and Poland. The University is also part of the Government – driven Wolverhampton India Project which aims to strengthen economic, educational and trade links between the City of Wolverhampton and India. Conferring the Honorary Degrees was the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline Gipps. She said: “I am delighted that so many distinguished guests are here today to share and celebrate this auspicious occasion. The special relationship we have fostered with India for many years has been strengthened today, and the University is looking forward to developing new relationships and partnerships that will benefit India and the University.”

Guests at the two events included Sir Richard Stagg, British High Commissioner; Mr Pratip Chudhuri, Chairman of the State Bank of India; Mr Sayyed Jilani, Chairman of the NRI Council (UK); and Mrs Ratna Singh, Member of the Parliament of India. Biographies Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister of India and Leader of Lok Sabha, the Lower House of the Indian Parliament, is a leader, respected statesman, an intellectual, parliamentarian and visionary. His parliamentary career began as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Indian Parliament in 1969 and throughout his career he has played a key role in policy formulation and implementation for the Party and the Government. Mr Arun Jaitley is the Leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Parliament of India. A prominent Indian politician, Mr Jaitley is an active figure in the Indian civil rights movement and helped found the People’s Union for Civil Liberties Bulletin. An orchestrator of many well organised campaigns, Mr Jaitley’s impressive powers as a strategic thinker have helped his party gain a number of important victories. Mr Narasimhan Ram is one of India’s most highly regarded journalists and has tirelessly served the Indian media industry since 1966. Mr Ram has been linked with The Hindu for over four decades, becoming Editor-in-Chief in 2003. His journalistic integrity has won him many admirers and awards and in 1990 he was honoured with one of the highest civilian awards in the Republic of India, the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India, for his outstanding work in the fields of literature and education.

University of Wolverhampton Indian Alumni Association Join today: On Monday 30 May 2011 we formally launched our brand new Indian Alumni Association. Honorary graduate, Mr Narasimhan Ram, was appointed Honorary President of the Association at his degree ceremony in Chennai. The University of Wolverhampton is proud to have alumni from over 100 countries around the world and each year we gladly welcome over 500 students from India and more than 2,500 from the UK with Indian origin. As our global community grows, we are passionate about helping graduates stay connected with the University, and their fellow alumni, no matter where they are in the world. The Indian Alumni Association is a chapter of the University-wide WLV Alumni Association. Membership is free and open to all Indian graduates regardless of where they live or the course they studied. For more information and to join the Indian Alumni Association visit:


And the award goes to... We talk to Oscar and BAFTA winning graduate, Peter Bebb, about his visual effects work on Hollywood blockbuster film, Inception, and how it all began at the University of Wolverhampton.

WLV: Congratulations on winning a BAFTA and an Oscar! You must be very proud… PB: I am thank you; I feel very honoured. It’s a huge accomplishment and testament to the work of the team at Double Negative. WLV: You work as a co-visual effects supervisor for London - based Double Negative. What does a typical day look like for you? PB: My first task everyday is to check emails for any feedback from our US clients so that we can limit problems caused by the time difference. The team then get together for ‘dailies’ where we review the work being produced by each person. This usually takes place in a screening room with the moving images projected onto the screen; just like a mini cinema. Most days also involve a process called ‘bidding’ where we review a client’s requests for a shot, for example using part of a script or a storyboard, and then consider different ways to achieve it. We do go home at some point but not for long. Ten hour days are very common! WLV: What do you enjoy the most about your job? PB: The creative process and being part of a team. There is always a great vibe in doing something artistic and something you are very passionate about. Then ultimately seeing your work in the cinema, nothing can beat that. WLV: You graduated in 1996 with a BA (Hons) Woods Metals and Plastics (3D design). What are your memories of studying at Wolverhampton?

PB: Fun! University life was and still is a great experience. My course had great links with the industry which helped to put everything into perspective and it was Wolverhampton that introduced me to Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) machines. Thankfully the University had a CGI department which back then was a real bonus as the technology was still fairly new to the industry. WLV: What made you decide on a career in cinema special effects? PB: By the end of the degree I knew I wanted to pursue a career in CGI. Being able to model, animate and render my product ‘in situ’ was a real eye opener for me. I also loved films and I knew that the technology could be applied in most fields so visual effects was the natural conclusion. WLV: With special effects now included in most films, how do you think their use is changing the world of cinema? PB: I think that the creative possibilities that visual effects offer to film makers has meant that some films are being written around the advances in CGI – and this isn’t a bad thing. Films such as Armageddon and Deep Impact, for example, simply would not have been possible without visual effects. Today they are just another tool for the director to explore telling the story with, no different to costume, lighting or make up. The effects I am most proud of are shots the audience don’t even see.

WLV: What are your favourite special effects shots in cinema? PB: There are many shots or sequences I have loved in film over the years. The most memorable being the birth of the ‘Batpod’ from the tumbler in The Dark Knight; Mal and Cobb’s walk through Limbo square in Inception; and the tidal wave in The Day After Tomorrow – awesome! WLV: Normally we like to ask graduates what their greatest professional achievement has been, but in your case we think we can guess your answer! So, instead we’d like to know what you would like your next great achievement to be. PB: You’re right that winning an Oscar has been my greatest achievement to date but looking to the future I would love to work with the Coen Brothers, Ridley and Tony Scott and of course, Steven Spielberg! WLV: What advice would you give a potential student of the University? PB: Without a shadow of doubt my best advice is to follow your instincts. Figure out what makes you tick. I’m a firm believer that if you enjoy doing something you’ll put the time in and ultimately be rewarded. I’ve known people dread the prospect of going into work. Don’t let that be you.


In March this year we were delighted to welcome back to campus three members of our alumni community when they volunteered to help out at our undergraduate Open Day.

Alumni Ambassadors Volunteering a couple of hours of their Saturday morning, graduates Jane Heeley, Ian Pritchard and Richard Viner took to the stage in one of our lecture theatres, sharing their experiences of the University with prospective new students and their families. Afterwards we chatted to them about what it was like: Q. What was your experience of studying at the University? Jane: “It was the most enjoyable hard work I have ever done; sometimes difficult but with the support to help me through.”

Ian: “It was excellent – a life changing experience which has profoundly enhanced my skills and knowledge.” Richard: “University introduced me to so many new things that when I graduated I took a completely different career path to what I thought when I started.”

Q. Why did you volunteer for the Open Day? Jane: “I really wanted to get across to prospective students the enthusiasm of the tutors and the help and support available.” Ian: “It was a good opportunity to enhance my skills (presenting, verbal communication etc) and to strengthen my CV.” Richard: “As a graduate that has studied, and now works at the University I felt I had a unique view, which I really wanted to share.” Q. How important do you think it is for graduates to support their University? Jane: “It is really important for graduates to support their University as they tell it like it is, from start to finish.” Ian: “Your University experience stays with you for life and by volunteering you make just a small but invaluable contribution to the institution that gave you this experience.”

Richard: “Having current students and graduates represent the University at events such as Open Days gives a much more rounded view to prospective students. It also shows that the students and graduates are proud of their association with the University – just like I am.”

Jane, Richard and Ian (left to right)

Ways you can support your University 1. Become an Alumni Ambassador • Create local networks, groups and societies • Organise local events/reunions • Mentor final year students through their last year • Attend Open Days • Provide testimonials


Societies Networks New alumni sports society

Being an Alumni Ambassador is a great way of enhancing your CV and meeting new people. For more information and to register visit: 2. Volunteer your time If you don’t want to be an Alumni Ambassador, you can still volunteer your time on a more casual basis to help with any of the above activities. If you can only spare a bit of time you can still make a huge difference. 3. Create your own society or network Keep in touch with fellow alumni and reconnect with the University by creating your own society or network. It can be about anything you like – your course, your Halls of Residence, the area where you live, your personal interests, or a professional network.

Did sport play a big part in your university life? Join the new WLV Sports Society. Register online: Membership is free and open to everyone whatever your age or ability. Whether you played for one of the University’s teams or clubs, or just like sport to keep fit, the WLV Sports Society is a great way of getting back in touch with old friends and meeting new ones.

Contact us If you are interested in supporting your University contact the Alumni and Development team today.

Tel: +44 (0)1902 323056 Email:

Over the year we’ll be organising some great events including our first ever Alumni Sports Day where you can take on the current student teams. For more information visit:


Graduation is exciting and liberating, but can be daunting if you’ve yet to decide what’s next. We follow three graduates’ steps...

A step in the Employment Christine Danks BA (Hons) Media and Communication Studies When I graduated I decided to go straight into employment. I got a job as a Marketing Assistant for West Bromwich based transport company, Carlyle Bus & Coach Ltd. I am responsible for producing product specific marketing material such as flyers, brochures and catalogues, as well as maintaining the website. I love the variation in my role as every day is different and unpredictable. I often have tight deadlines to meet but I thrive on being busy. I believe my degree was a major factor in getting my job as through it I developed the knowledge and practical skills I needed. My work experience also prepared me for the demands of the working world. Christine’s top 3 skills for employment 1. Real experience – gain as much work experience as possible, whether through University organised placements, voluntary work, or part-time jobs. 2. Confidence - if you believe in yourself then someone else will too. 3. Ambition – companies like employees who want to succeed, so let them see that you are determined and want to go far. Christine’s top tips •

Work on your CV, covering letters and interview techniques – attend skills sessions if you need to.

Get feedback – if you don’t get a job find out why so you can prepare for next time.

Don’t give up – you may not get your dream job straight away but keep going, a career is something you have to work towards.

right direction Postgraduate study

Setting up your own business

Gemma Normansell MA Education (Learning and Teaching)

Peter Richards BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering

When I graduated I began my career in teaching but soon realised that if I was to achieve the career goals I had set myself I would need to go back into higher education and study a postgraduate degree.

Ever since I watched my parents start up their own succession of businesses, I knew that I wanted to follow in their footsteps. Today, at 24 years-old, I am the Managing Director of Armstrong UEN, a manufacturer of computer controlled products for light industrial engineering applications based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

I am studying a Masters in Education. The study is very in-depth and the onus is on me to work independently, researching the different subjects and unravelling the theories. Although it is hard work, I know that the knowledge and experience that I gain will help me to reach my ultimate goal of becoming an Assistant Headteacher. Gemma’s top 3 skills for postgraduate study 1. Motivation – you need a ‘get-up-and-go’ attitude. If you don’t put the effort in, you don’t get the rewards. 2. Time management – courses are demanding, so think carefully about the time you will need to give and how this may impact on other parts of your life.

Being my own boss offers great flexibility and I love the excitement of creating something new. I do work long days, often starting at 7.00am or earlier, and it can be a lonely job without a big team to bounce my ideas off, but when an idea turns into a product that has the potential to be truly successful it is definitely worth it. My ultimate goal is to own a business that is one day publicly listed on the stock market. Peter’s top 3 skills for setting up your own business: 1. Only take calculated risks – be comfortable with your decisions. 2. Step out of your comfort zone – be prepared to do something different.

3. Passion – if you are not interested in what you’re studying it creates a barrier in learning. Postgraduate is in-depth study, it’s important that what you are studying intrigues you.

3. Don’t give up – even if you fail at something there is always another way of getting what you want to achieve.

Gemma’s top tips

Create a vision – think about what you want from your business.

Plan – you need to know every step you need to take and when to take them.

Learn everything about your business – the more you can do this then running a business will become easier and the more your customers will notice.

Research different courses – postgraduate study is very specialist so make sure you’ve

picked the right course to suit your goals. •

Peter’s top tips

Know your career plan – a postgraduate degree can set you apart from others so know how you are going to use it to advance you career. Talk to other postgraduate students – find out about their experiences to prepare yourself for what is ahead.


New multi-mill facility for perf

This July, the University will see the completion of a brand new, advanced teaching and learning facility for performing arts, called The Performance Hub. Based at Walsall Campus, the building will house new teaching, rehearsal and performance spaces for students of music, dance and drama. The four-storey building will also feature a new Learning Centre for the entire student body at Walsall. With purpose-built facilities including a black box theatre and music rooms, students from the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure will be able to learn as they perform, enriching their student experience. The Performance Hub will bring together actors, choreographers, designers, writers, researchers, dancers, theatre practitioners and musicians from communities across the UK. Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Caroline Gipps said: “The Performance Hub marks the culmination of 20 years worth of investment into the arts. Investment of this kind by universities like us will be critical to the future of this sector. It is well evidenced that the arts (whether creative or performance) play a unique role in helping society to gain a better understanding of the world around us.”

The cutting-edge build, which began 10 months ago, will complete a series of multi-million pound developments at Walsall Campus. The Performance Hub will add to the transformation of the Campus which is already home to the University’s sports facilities including an athletics track and swimming pool. Dean of the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, John Pymm added: “This is an exciting time for the Creative and Performing Arts provision at Wolverhampton. We have built up an enviable track record in providing high quality programmes and with this state-of-the-art facility we can further enhance the student experience.” Due to be completed in July, The Performance Hub will be officially opened in September ready for the start of the 2011 academic year.

lion pound forming arts Main picture: Artist’s impression of interior Above: Artist’s impression of exterior


University of Wolverhampton gifts and souvenirs 06 10 01







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As a souvenir of your time at the University, we have a selection of gifts, both decorative and practical.

Order Form Please use block capitals You can also order online at:

Items are available throughout the year and can be purchased online at: or by post by completing the order form and sending it with your cheque to:

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Alumni and Development Office University of Wolverhampton Camp Street Wolverhampton WV1 1AD

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Wall plaque of University crest £18.00


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Wall plaque of University crest


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Keyring with University logo £2.50

Alumni and Development Office University of Wolverhampton MX Building Camp Street Wolverhampton WV1 1AD

11 Keyring with star £3.25

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12 £10.50 £18.35

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My Life

We find our oldest graduate (who just happens to have worked for NASA!)

William Willis HNC Mechanical Engineering, 1951 We love hearing about what our alumni have got up to since graduating and so when 85 year-old William Willis got back in touch, we were excited to learn that he was officially our oldest alumnus to date! We couldn’t wait to find out more, and boy were we glad we did because Bill’s life story just happens to include working on three of history’s most famous astronomical successes…

Above: William Willis working at NASA (far right) Left: Images from

“When I completed my National Service back in 1948 I was fortunate that the Armed Forces offered to pay for me to study two full-time intensive courses as part of a scheme run by the Ministry of Education for ex-servicemen only. I initially studied an ONC in Mechanical Engineering, which by today’s standards is equivalent to A-levels and then went on to complete the Higher National Certificate (HNC) which is the equivalent to half a degree. It was a big shift to come out of National Service into full-time education but the course was giving me the knowledge, practical skills and recognised qualifications that I knew I would need to have a career on ‘civvy street’. After graduating I initially worked for several small companies in Wolverhampton, but then in 1957 my sister, who was a G.I bride, persuaded me to emigrate to the USA. Like most people who took the journey across the pond back then, I went straight to Hollywood looking for work. My first job was with a company that made 16mm sound-on-film motion picture cameras that were mainly used by the news media. Then a friend suggested that I apply for the position of a design engineer at a company called Boller and Chivens in South Pasadena, which at the time was the world’s largest manufacturer of observatory telescopes. This was the company that made the Baker-Nunn telescope which was the first to photograph Sputnik in its orbit.

Having found a job that I loved I stayed at Boller and Chivens for 21 years. I worked on some of the largest astronomical telescopes in the world and their accompanying instruments. At this time I drew a lot on the knowledge I had gained from my course, in particular mathematics, strength of materials, and theory of machines. At a dinner to celebrate 20 years in the job, I remember my boss introducing me to the audience as the designer of more astronomical instruments than any one else in the world. It was quite a recognition!

So what did you think?

It was in 1981 that I took a job at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) and it was here that I worked on the Galileo, Mars Observer and Hubble space telescopes – three of the most famous spacecraft to enter space.


We hope you enjoyed reading the first edition of WLV Life. We’d really love to hear your views – what you liked, what you didn’t like and what you would like to see in future editions.

On Hubble, I was a cognizant engineer for the shutter and filter mechanisms that were on the wide field planetary camera. It was this camera that took many of the famous Hubble pictures you see today.

Why not write us a letter or send us an email and we look forward to publishing your feedback.


Alumni and Development Office University of Wolverhampton MX Building, City Campus North Camp Street Wolverhampton WV1 1AD

Working for JPL was such an exciting time and knowing that I have helped to build space equipment that has changed the way we look at our solar system makes me very proud.

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When I retired in 1986 I decided to stay in California and for several years I helped restore Theatre Pipe Organs in theatres, churches and schools. It gave me the opportunity to play them which was fun! These days I spend my time relaxing on the golf course. I’ve been an avid golfer for about fifty years, and these days I entertain myself by trying to shoot my age – which I have done a couple of times. A true silver surfer, William got back in touch with us by filling in our ‘update your details’ form on the website. You can too by visiting:

Want to share your ‘My Life’ story? Email:



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WLV Life - Issue 001  

Alumni magazine for Wolverhampton graduates.

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