UCL Centre for Engineering Education


Professor Alan Parkinson delights with first Professorial Inaugural for education-focused staff

19 December 2022

The Faculty is honoured to present the first in a new series of education-based inaugural lectures celebrating the career, leadership and achievements of education-focused Professors from across the faculty.

UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education within the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, in partnership with UCL’s School of Management kicked off a new tradition at UCL Engineering with a Professorial Inaugural from Professor Alan Parkinson.

Lecture title: Reflections on a journey through, in and for education, including an exploration of business ethics and corruption, and particularly so regarding the East India Company in the seventeenth century.

After a change into academic dress, during which the sold-out audience listened to some hand-picked music, Professor Emanuela Tilley (CEE Director of Studies and the Integrated Engineering Programme) opened proceedings. Professor Parkinson’s lecture will be the first in a series of inaugurals, as teaching track Professorial staff from across the Faculty now number eleven. We were honoured to have Professor Kathy Armour, UCL Vice Provost Education & Student Experience then welcome the audience and outline her current work and vision for education at UCL.

During the first half of his lecture, Professor Parkinson took us through his education-related journey from school and university days to his role at the UCL School of Management. It started with experiences and lessons learnt from studying for a professional accountancy qualification, and then from designing and delivering accountancy/management education initiatives in both online and face to face contexts. In so doing it captured pedagogical and scholarship ideas applied to his teaching and assessment in the learning arena. The second half of his lecture progressed to explore the phenomenon of corrupt business practices, an anathema to the ideal of professional accountancy. Professor Parkinson drew upon recent scandals but also on the corrupt practices adopted by the East India Company in the seventeenth century, not least with regard to the transatlantic slave trade.

Professor Dave Chapman (Professor Emeritus, UCL School of Management) gave a response to Professor Parkinson's lecture, who then concluded with a very personal reflection on those who have supported him throughout his career.

Alan commented, "it was a privilege and an honour to be the first from those promoted to Professor on the Education/Teaching track to deliver an inaugural lecture". Alan added, "that whilst of course it is a personal celebration it is also a celebration of UCL’s recognition of the value of Teaching within the university’s ecosystem, and an acknowledgement of those who have been promoted and who will be in the future". As a final note, Alan recorded his gratitude that not too many dozed off during the lecture…. always a bonus, if not a surprise! 

Alan Parkinson inaugural