Magazine article Times Higher Education

HE&me: People

Magazine article Times Higher Education

HE&me: People

Article excerpt

Sir Christopher Snowden became president of Universities UK in August. The engineer, who has been vice-chancellor of the University of Surrey since 2005, was previously chief executive of the electronics firm Filtronic ICS.

Where and when were you born?

Hull in 1956.

How has this shaped who you are?

I don't think it had much impact on shaping my character - my later experiences in life have shaped me as a person. Like many others, my time as a student at university experiencing independence and new challenges, followed by my early career, made big impressions on me. I went on to work on both the west and east coasts of the US, which also had a strong influence on me.

Why should the man and woman in the street care about your new role?

Nearly 50 per cent of younger people in the UK now participate in higher education, and the research and teaching outcomes from our universities impact on all our lives.

Have you had a eureka moment?

Yes - several - and one in the style of Archimedes while having a bath!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Always stay true to what you believe in and never give up.

Tell us about someone you've always admired.

Albert Einstein, for his incredible ability to visualise groundbreaking concepts and describe them mathematically. He was an interesting character with an unconventional educational background.

What has been the most important change in higher education in the past 5- 10 years?

The government's White Paper of 2011, which fundamentally changed higher education in the UK and its funding, shifting the focus further towards the student and reducing direct funding of universities from the public purse. …

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