[This piece of content was originally posted in a Students' Union Newsletter from November 7th 2016.]
We sat down with Senior Lecturer in Software Engineering Kelvin Hilton and found out what makes him tick, from
What was your university experience like?
KH: I came as a mature student, but it was great fun. Being amongst people that share the same interests as you is great and very different to what it’s like at school. But from what I can remember of it I really enjoyed it.
What do you notice is different at University today compared to when you studied?
KH: One of the classic things you notice is that there’s less students who bring a notebook with them and more that rely on the content that’s put on to blackboard. I know I wasn’t able to remember an hours’ worth of lecture material and discussion. However, students are more enthusiastic and critical nowadays.
What makes you proud to be a lecturer at Staffs?
KH: Well, my association with Staffordshire University goes back to when I was about seven years old. My mother used to be a punch card operator and used to do a lot of overtime at Blackheath Lane in Stafford on Saturdays which she’d bring me and my sister to. When I did my degree here and decided I wanted to be a lecturer, there was only one place I wanted to come. I love this place – I’ve been fortunate to visit a lot of universities, both in the UK and further afield – but I feel there’s a real community amongst the students here which you don’t really get elsewhere. Now we’re all on one campus, I think it’ll be a really positive experience when things settle down. I believe in our product and I’m proud to be a former Staffs student as well as a lecturer.
Tell us about a cause you really care about.
KH: Anything to do with the environment. I’ve always been passionate about it and any environmental initiatives within the University and so forth to try and save this beautiful planet for the younger generation. My time on the planet is coming to an end, but your journeys have only just begun.
A piece of advice for current students?
KH: Believe in yourself. One of the hardest things to achieve in life, particularly when you’re young is believing in yourself. So much of university is about building skill, rather than physical. We don’t lay bricks, we don’t bake cakes, most of the stuff at university is to do with the mind. People are going to pay you for your ability to think and be creative, and it’s very hard to believe in yourself when you’re in the grand scheme of things. Some people are from less privileged backgrounds or are perhaps the first generation of their family to attend university, and it can be a very daunting prospect to be told you’re going to be paid for what’s in your head. Believe in yourself, because at the end of the day, if you don’t then nobody else is going to.
Are you working on anything outside of lecturing at the moment or have you recently?
KH: I’m very active in my research area. However, I’m quite fascinated in the way that we teach in general, particularly in computing.
Tell us something about you that people may not necessarily be aware of?
KH: I’m taller than I look! (laughs) But, I guess I could tell you that I’ve just finished a 13,500-piece jigsaw.
What is the most interesting thing your line of work has had you involved in?
KH: I’m very fortunate to run the undergraduate projects within my school, and I get to see all of them. Some of the work produced is fantastic. We don’t come up with that, students create it themselves and some of the work is genius. It’s so inspiring.
Have you ever been involved in anything of great importance due to your line of work?
KH: Something I pride myself on is being involved with the progression of students, particularly those who need my help. I’ve helped students with confidence issues, special needs and mental health with a lot of things and to see them graduate is important to me.
What is your favourite book?
KH: I’m quite an avid reader, but The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. It should be compulsory reading. It’s an inspirational book and I would recommend it to anyone. When you finish reading it, you’ll probably struggle to pick up another book for a while.
What is your favourite film?
KH: Casablanca. Because it’s the best film ever made.
What is your favourite album or band?
KH: That’s a hard one. I love Alabama 3, their songs are just wacky, they really are. Their music was taken as the theme tune for the Sopranos which is where I first heard it, and their album Exile on Coldharbour Lane is a riot from the first song to the last.