So as the new academic year rolls into view it's time to look back over a very successful year, my first as an academic at the University of Wolverhampton.
I really have enjoyed facilitating the success of our most engaged students and raising our profile in the wider world. Having met members of the local education community at schools and colleges I realise we could do a better job of talking about our successes. In particular the unique portfolio of opportunities that we offer to our students. This review is not exhaustive but hopefully gives a flavour of what is available for students to take part in. Over the last few years the School of Mathematics and Computer Science has been transformed by investment and by new members of staff with nationally and internationally significant profiles. We wish to ignite the passions of those who study here and attract the best students to be part of our community and our story. This University motto is "Innovation and Opportunity". We take that personally! We take that seriously!
In October 2018 we hosted an event called "Exploring Blockchain for Business: Usecases, Theory and Practice" - an event open both to our students and local businesses to learn about blockchain technology and engage in hands on workshops. This was a collaboration with blockchain specialist Matt Lucas who has been implementing real-world systems based on blockchain for a number of years.
In November a group of Wolverhampton students travelled to a three day conference on Enterprise Computing Guide Share Europe (GSE) at Whittlebury Hall. They took part in many seminars, talks and events, including an introduction to the IBM Master the Mainframe competition which led to our University being the strongest UK contributor to this national competition.
That same month the School of Mathematics and Computer Science were academic partners for CodeMESH LDN, a leading edge tech conference based in London. Dr Liam Naughton represented the Maths Department and we were able to demonstrate that our best students are among the brightest to be found anywhere in the country. Two of our students also attended, under a special scholarship scheme. Among other highlights they got to talk to Carl Hewitt, originator of the Actor Model for programming.
In February, during Career Development Week we ran a special workshop called "MaSS:Introduction to the Mainframe Software Stack" with Netherlands based international consultant Henri Kuiper. Over two days Henri introduced the basics of the mainframe platform to a group of around twenty eager students. Relatively few UK students know much about this platform but skills in this are area very much in demand.
During the event we were visited by employers keen to talk about the role of the mainframe in their organisation and to meet potential hires. This included a team from RSM Partners, a local consulting firm with clients in the UK, Europe and the US, as well as JP Morgan Chase one of the world's largest investment banks. Both Henri and I are IBM Champions and we were very pleased to bring University of Wolverhampton students to the attention of these world class organisations.
In the wake of that successful workshop three of the students who took part in MaSS also took part in the GenZ workshop at RSM Partners HQ in Bromsgrove, where they met other young professionals. They were inspired to start our own University Mainframe Student Society and for their success and hard work they received Community Cohesion (CoCo) Awards.
We are very keen to promote and encourage all of our students. In April the British Computer Society (BCS) help the Lovelace Colloquium organise a special event for female undergraduates studying technology. Five students from the School took part with participants creating a poster on a subject of their choice to present on the day. Their hard work was rewarded with networking events and careers talks from major companies in the company of other students from all around the country. Encouraged by this, several of our female students have taken up opportunities to attend events under diversity sponsorship schemes as far afield as Sweden, through relationships with industry partners which I have established.
In June, our newly formed Mainframe Student Society enjoyed their first outing to the IBM Research Labs in Hursley. The day trip included several workshops as well as a tour of the grounds, server room, research centre and museum.
Some of our students worked as volunteers at GoTo Amsterdam; A Leading edge technology conference in the Netherlands where they got an insiders view of conferences and startups, all while up close and personal with world renowned speakers. In July three students took part in Code ElixirLDN, a conference in Bishopsgate in London, where they learned about the latest developments in distributed systems design.
Personally too it has been a very exciting year. I was confirmed as an IBM Champion for System Z for the second time in 2019 and took part in a Champions event in Brussels followed by the IBM Technical University event in Berlin. I also took part in ECIS at Stockholm University and became an member of the Academy of Information Systems (AIS). It was an excellent opportunity to talk about the University, our courses and students. On the basis of our work this year, the people and organisations we connected with, we hope to have an interesting range of opportunities for our students to take part in for the coming academic year.
Visit the website for more information about Mathematics and Computer Science. For anyone who already has their results, applications can now be made through the Clearing website, calling the HOTLINE on 01902 518585 or contacting us through our Social Media channels on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Anyone applying for a course through Clearing can register their interest and arrange a phone call with the University on results day, Thursday 15th August. Or visit our next Open Day on Saturday 17th August 2019.