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Gillian Arnold: oration

Read Dr Marina De Vos' oration on Gillian Arnold for the honorary degree of Doctor of the University in July 2019.


Gillian Arnold
Gillian Arnold

Vice-Chancellor, we all need role models in our lives. People that set us on a journey to new and exciting things and show us that aspirations are not necessarrily just dreams but can become reality. In Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM for short, we need female role models to inspire girls and young women to study those disciplines and careers. Male students and graduates still far outnumber their female counterparts.

Gillian Arnold is one of these role models. The running thread of her highly successful career has been widening participation in the IT Sector with a particular focus on women. Gillian came to IT through the particularly interesting route of studying English Literature, making her, in a sense, a model example of “widening participation” herself.

After 22 years at IBM in a range of roles, she started her own company, Tectre Ltd, which, amongst other things, supports companies’ positive action campaigns for Women in Technology and offers Diversity and Unconscious Bias training. Aside from her busy professional career, Gillian has been actively involved with the British Computer Society, the Chartered Institute of IT. She was elected Chair of BCSWomen, their Specialist Group that supports women in the IT industry. Gillian has now taken a different role as BCS Vice-President and Trustee Director. She is on the board of governors for WISE, a community interest company focussing on gender balance in STEM.

Furthermore, she is the chair of Women in IT taskforce of the CEPIS, The Council of European Professional Informatics Societies, CEPIS. She is also on the diversity board of the Institute of Coding, a UK Government initiative led by the University of Bath, aiming to narrow the digital skills gap and to develop digital talent. Widening participation is a key element in this initiative and one that Gillian is keen to support.

Gillian’s work has not gone unnoticed as a range of accolades demonstrate: she has consistently been listed in the “Top 50 Women in IT” by Computer Weekly, won the Everywoman CISCO/EBAY Inspirational Woman of the Year award in 2012 and was named in the 2018 “Top 100 Women” in the Hampton-Alexander Review in females in senior position in FTSE 350 companies. Gillian is no stranger to Bath nor to our female computer science students who she has repeatedly visited in the department. She has supported our Women In Technology group which is an official Chapter of the international network, the Association for Computing Machinery Council on Women in Computing (ACM-W) which was only set-up a few years ago. She was an invited speaker when Bath hosted the BCSWomen Undergraduate Lovelace Colloquium. Each time she took the time to individually talk to and mentor our students. I would argue that she is not only a great role model and inspiration for aspiring female IT professionals but for all of us.

Vice- Chancellor, I present to you Gillian Arnold who is eminently worthy to receive the degree of Doctor of the University, honoris causa.


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