Coventry Uni VC honoured for his dedication to IT
Monday 25 January 2016
Coventry University Vice-Chancellor John Latham’s contribution to developing, promoting and teaching IT has been recognised with a major accolade from one of the computing industry’s leading bodies.
Vice-Chancellor John has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship from BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, for his services to the industry. John received his award from BCS at a special ceremony held in his honour at Coventry University today (Monday 25 January 2015).
John’s career in IT and his connection with the institution he now leads goes back over thirty years. He graduated with an honours degree in computer science at the then Coventry Polytechnic in 1983 and, following a brief stint in the telecommunications industry, returned to his place of study as a lecturer in the same subject.
Keeping in touch with developments beyond academia, John undertook several industry secondments during his teaching career and in 1992 he was appointed as Head of Training Consultancy for the newly established Coventry University. In a role he held for three years, John helped pioneer new approaches to vocational training and worked with numerous agencies locally, across the country and overseas.
In 1999 John was appointed Director of Commercial Affairs for the university’s business-facing subsidiary Coventry University Enterprises Limited (CUE Ltd). Here he led the development of Coventry University Technology Park, transforming a 24 acre brownfield site into a thriving, commercial centre with especially strong input to local SMEs focusing on computing and engineering industrial applications.
John joined the university’s senior management team in 2005 and was appointed Vice-Chancellor in 2014. Under his leadership, Coventry University has continued to grow in stature with its innovative approach to teaching and learning being recognised across the higher education landscape and beyond.
In the last year the university has risen to 15th in the Guardian University Guide, was named ‘Modern University of the Year‘ for the third time by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide and won the title of ‘University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education (THE) 2015 Awards.
The university was also awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise last year for its international operations - one of only a select few higher education institutions in the history of the awards to be honoured. CUE Ltd - the business subsidiary that John played a major role in establishing - was cited in the award for its positive contribution to the university’s international activities.
At Monday’s ceremony, John received his award from former colleague and previous Chair of the Coventry Branch of BCS, Alan Chantler. Alan was head of software engineering at Coventry Polytechnic and worked alongside John when he took up his first teaching position there. John evidently made a lasting impression as Alan was one of those who nominated him for the BCS Honorary Fellowship.
On collecting his award, Vice-Chancellor John Latham said:
I’m both flattered and delighted to receive this Honorary Fellowship from BCS. When I started out computing and IT in general were often regarded as specialist, niche subjects. That’s no longer the case - at least not to the same extent as before – and people these days are much more aware of information technology.
Young people in particular are very IT literate; you only have to look at our students for evidence and that applies to students across all disciplines. There are many reasons for this culture shift but as a tireless champion of IT, BCS has undoubtedly played its part.
Ian Marshall, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Coventry University, said:
John has amply demonstrated the value of studying a computing related subject. The analytic and problem solving skills that are the core of computing and which John has put into practice throughout his career have, alongside his entrepreneurship, vision and drive, benefited not just Coventry University but the wider community.
And while academic management is now John’s day job, he remains a computing enthusiast and it isn’t hard to get him talking about the latest developments in the industry!
Irene Glendinning, a lecturer in computing at Coventry University and current Chair of the Coventry Branch of BCS, said:
John fully deserves this Honorary Fellowship for the excellent contributions he has made locally, nationally and internationally to promoting effective use of IT in commerce, industry and society.
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