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Goldman Professor

Educational leader appointed as Goldman Visiting Professor

Published on: 2 March 2018

Newcastle University Business School has appointed Alison Shaw as this year’s David Goldman Visiting Professor.

Preparing for the Future of Work

Among the areas Alison (pictured) will contribute to as the Goldman Professor are working with the University’s academics and students to consider and prepare for the future of work and enabling people to develop the leadership and employability attributes, entrepreneurial thinking and innovative behaviours that will be needed.

She will also work closely with Professor Sharon Mavin, Director of Newcastle University Business School, and other colleagues to extend the University’s engagement in the technology and digital sector in the region.  This will include activities with local schools and students of the Business School such as meeting and networking with employers.

Alison said: “I feel so honoured to be asked to be this year’s Goldman Professor. It is a wonderful opportunity for me and I hope to carry out my role in a way which makes a lasting positive impact.

“This is a post which offers real freedom to innovate and I am looking forward to initiating new partnerships and collaborations".

During her tenure as Goldman Professor, Alison will deliver a number of public lectures. The first of these, the annual David Goldman lecture, will take place on 14 March and cover the changes which are taking place in the world which could have the greatest impact on our working lives.

In this lecture, called ‘Human-scale learning for work in a machine-scaled world: the value and purpose of education’, Alison will also consider the ways in which we see education and provide insights into how education might be improved to better prepare people to thrive in a dramatically different future.

Equipping young people with key skills

Alison is the founder of the North East Futures UTC, due to open in Newcastle in September 2018 and which aims to equip young people aged 14 – 18 with the skills to pursue careers in IT and Health Sciences. She is also Vice-President of the National Foundation for Educational Research, a leading independent provider of education research and insights.

She has considerable experience gained from senior roles at various schools in the North East, including Deputy Head at George Stephenson High School, Killingworth, and 11 years as Principal at Seaton Burn College, where she led the school through a period of significant change which included pioneering relationships with employers and delivering a transformation in the ethos and culture at the school.

Alison added: “I hope that my background in education will enable me to bring new perspectives to the Goldman professorship this year to help address the concern we hear so often about how to nurture the skills needed for the workplace of the future. Establishing the UTC has been especially valuable in helping me learn how to bring networks of people and organisations together to work on finding solutions to this skills problem.

“Working with students is what I love most, and I am greatly looking forward to this over the next year, especially to supporting them in an exploration of the future of work and how to prepare themselves to engage confidently as leaders and learners wherever they choose to live and work.”

Influential leader

Alison is the 15th Goldman Visiting Professor. The appointment is awarded on an annual basis to a leading entrepreneur or influential leader from within the North East who will be able to provide inspiration and motivation to budding entrepreneurs and business leaders.

The role was established in 2001 to commemorate the life and work of David Goldman, founder and Chief Executive of the North East’s iconic software company, the Sage Group plc.

Professor Sharon Mavin said: “As an influential leader, Alison will be an amazing asset to the Business School over the coming year. Her role will support our strategic ambitions of continuing our world-class research and impact in the ‘The Future of Work’ and 'Leading on Leadership'.

“Alison will support us in developing our networks and collaborations and support the University’s civic contribution and Place Strategy as an anchor organisation. She will work across the boundaries between the world of education and the world outside and across academic disciplines and industry sectors.”

The annual David Goldman lecture will take place at 5.30pm on 14 March in the David Shaw Lecture Theatre, Newcastle University Medical School. The event is free and open to all, but placed must be booked in advance at   


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