From education to employment

Queen’s Birthday Honours for Coventry University duo

The pioneering work of Coventry University’s Vice-Chancellor and professor of mathematics education has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours announced on Saturday (8 Jun).

Professor John Latham has received a CBE for his services to Higher Education. Duncan Lawson, professor of mathematics education and co-director of sigma (a maths support service at Coventry University’s library) has been awarded an MBE for his services to mathematics in Higher Education.

Coventry University Chair of Governors, Keith Bissett said:

“I am absolutely delighted to congratulate John on his award of a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to Higher Education.

“John’s drive, leadership, commitment to innovation and service for over 30 years at Coventry University have been truly outstanding. He has played a leading role in our region’s development, as well as promoting innovation on the national stage. John has made a transformational difference here and in the sector.

 “I am sure you will join me in congratulating John on this wonderful achievement, which I believe also serves as a powerful endorsement of the strength of our institution today and how well respected our university has become.”

Newman University Acting Vice-Chancellor, Peter Childs said:

“Tens of thousands of students at universities across this country and internationally have enjoyed a transformed experience of studying the mathematical aspects of their courses, thanks to the innovative and determined work of Professor Lawson in championing, developing and disseminating mathematics and statistics support. 

“In 2016, Duncan’s lifetime work was recognised by the award of the Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications Gold Medal for outstanding contribution to the improvement of the teaching of mathematics. This was the first time the Medal has been awarded in the field of mathematics education. “

Both Professor Latham and Professor Lawson are delighted to have been nominated to receive these awards, which reflect their dedication to Higher Education spanning more than fifty years. 

Professor John Latham leads delivery of Coventry University’s strategic objectives, as agreed by the Board of Governors. He is a double graduate of the university and has a background in information technology and telecommunications. He has held high-profile roles at regional, national and European levels promoting innovation, technology and economic development. He previously worked for organisations including JHP Group, Jaguar Cars and BT.

John chairs the University Alliance mission group and is a board member of Innovate UK and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. He is a committee member of HEFCE, and an advisory board member of the National Growth Board, the Design Council and Universities UK. He has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the British Computer Society and is also an Extraordinary Professor in the area of enterprise and entrepreneurship at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

After completing his PhD, Professor Duncan Lawson worked for British Gas as a research scientist, carrying out mathematical modelling of hazardous situations. He then joined Coventry Polytechnic as a Senior Lecturer in Applied Mathematics. During his 26 years at Coventry he held a number of national roles including Chair of the Joint Mathematical Council of the UK, member of the STEM Ministerial Advisory Group and a secondment as Assistant Chief Executive at the Higher Education Academy.

In 2013 he left Coventry University to become the first Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Formative Education at Newman University. In 2016 he was awarded the prestigious Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications Gold Medal for outstanding contribution to the improvement of the teaching of mathematics. In 2018 he returned to sigma at Coventry University to spend more time teaching students and undertaking research.

The sigma network is an international community of mathematics and statistics support practitioners that continues to develop resources, share good practice and champion provision for students’ mathematical needs.

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