James Powell is an Honorary Professor in the School of Education at Glasgow University and Professor Emeritus of Academic Enterprise at Salford University. He is also UK Ambassador for Social Entrepreneurship for Higher Education (HEFCE/UNLtd) and Director of Citizens Enablement project. He is a Chartered European Engineer with specialisation in Design, Academic Enterprise, Human Communications, Innovation, Leadership and Team Building.
James Powell is a Chartered European Engineer with specialisation in Design, Academic Enterprise, Human Communications, Innovation, Leadership and Team Building. His research areas include space and resource utilisation, design methods, the product introductory process, technology and knowledge transfer, multi-media for professional communications, partnering, cultural change, action learning, the information superhighway and simulation, including virtual reality, and especially higher education which empowers citizens to achieve their fullest aspirations form themselves. He was the managing director of Britain’s first commercial learning videodisc company, designer of the Menuhin Auditoria in Portsmouth and head of two very different university departments, architecture and manufacturing and engineering systems. He then became a Deputy Dean of Technology and Dean of Postgraduate Studies before taking up the post as Director of Academic Enterprise responsible for Salford University’s ‘Reach Out’ initiatives into industry, commerce, the service industry, the voluntary sector and society at large. For the past 40 years James has been researching into and leading all aspects of communication and the mid-career education of professionals, especially those in the construction industry, and now focuses his work on citizen enablement. He has designed, directed and produced a number of national/European award winning multi-media learning packages and has been responsible for developing effective professionals’ learning strategy based upon a fourfold model of learning. He was responsible for the Powell Report on Postgraduate Education for SERC, which led to significant changes in its supported higher educational training, especially the development of their sponsored Engineering Doctoral and the IGOS programmes.
Over his career James has received many prizes and awards the major ones being: Taylor Woodrow Prize 1967; British Interactive Multi Media Award 1978; European Multi Media Award 1979; Artificial Intelligence in Learning Award 1983; Bangermann IT Challenge for SMEs (British Best) 1990; Queen’s Award for Higher and Further Education (Construct IT) 1999; Shell LIVEWire North West Enterprise Award 2001 and North West Excellence Award for Innovative Excellence 2002; Leadership Award from the Times Higher Education Awards in 2010. On the 15th June 1996, in the Queen's Birthday Honours list, he was awarded the OBE for "services to science and to engineering research and education".
James Powell is now formally retired, after finishing a successful senior academic management, research and enterprise career, at which time he was appointed Professor Emeritus of Salford University; his last full-time role was as Senior Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic Enterprise) for Salford. He is now working on a range of research, development, innovation and academic enterprise projects which emanate from his successful time in Academic Enterprise at Salford University and especially research into the ‘leadership, governance and management’ of Academic Enterprise. He is also building on his pioneering ‘Smart City Futures’ conference, held in the Lowry Centre, Manchester, in 2009; the latter uniquely involved the local communities and small businesses in a highly interactive mode empowering citizens to undertake key developments in conjunction with the Greater Manchester Universities (www.smartcityfutures.co.uk).
He is also presently developing his notion of the future of ‘Citizens Enablement’, developed with funding from the EU Socrates programme and the European Universities Association with, Board Members of the PASCAL International Observatory for place management, social capital and learning regions centred in Glasgow University and the European Leonardo Awards. James powerfully argues that the world will be a very different place with respect to higher learning after Covid 19 if universities and further education colleges, and particularly their insightful academics, can learn to support citizens, communities and small businesses, in a very different way providing a true ‘bridge to an effective future’. The Citizen Enablement project he has developed provides a constructive way through which academics can foster real and sustainable improvements to the lives of ordinary citizens. In particular , along with Colleagues in Glasgow and Manchester he is now developing a ways and means of achieving this, based on a comprehensive paper ccommissioned by the Leadership Foundation in Higher Education entitled ‘Leadership for improved Academic Enterprise’ (Powell and Clark, 2012). An early pilot theme of this work is to support the enablement and empowerment of Vulnerable Young Citizens. The key in all this latest work will be to closely listen to the needs and wants of young 16-25 year olds and to help them embark on new challenges, with confidence and enjoyment. The hope is that the approach will lead them to fulfil their aspirations; just some of the things James Powell envisages that the project will explore with them include: 21stCentury skills including social, soft, emotional and entrepreneurial skills; second chance opportunities in technology and commercia skills; digital inclusion, mindful learning; integration in society; learning to know; learning to do learning to live together; learning to be; gainful alternative employment; care leavers development post-18; community engaged scholarship; coping with disabilities, risk, protection, vulnerability and resilience. Powell stresses the importance of all citizens tackling the problems and issues they perceive to be theirs and they and to tackle. To learn more about these latest ideas there is a short video presentation recorded n YouTube at this link.
Lantelme, E. M. V., Formoso, C. T. and Powell, J. A. (2017) Integrating technical and social competencies of construction managers. Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, 143(4), 04017004. (doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)EI.1943-5541.0000332)
Powell, J. (2012) The university role in the innovative leadership of small to medium sized enterprises. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, 18(4), pp. 396-416. (doi: 10.1108/13552551211239465)
Powell, J. A., Bowmaker, J. and Higson, A. (2009) SMART CITY FUTURES - Showcase Prospectus. University of Salford. ISBN 97819057327777
Powell, J. A. and Wainwright, C. (2009)Universities for a Modern Renaissance. Published jointly by the Institute of the Arts London and the University of Salford. ISBN 9781905732770
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