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Roger Shilling

Roger Shilling

Areas of Interest

Alumni, Education

Honorary Award

Honorary Fellowship, 2006


For over 25 years Roger Shilling has served the University and its predecessor institutions in Chelmsford as a senior administrator. During a period of distinguished service Roger held a number of senior appointments and on retirement in August 2003 was Head of the Academic Secretariat and Manager of the Conferment Unit. As Secretary to the Senate and its major standing committees, Roger provided informed advice on academic matters during the important early stages of Anglia Ruskin's development as a new University and holds the distinction of being the only person to have attended every Senate meeting from 1992 to 2003. Roger has been involved in the Chaplaincy at the Chelmsford campus of the University since its inception in the mid-1980s and he became Secretary to the Chaplaincy Council in 1997. He has continued his interest in the work of the Chaplaincy as a co-opted member since his retirement.

In 2006 Roger Shilling was made an Honorary Fellow of the University.


"The Senate of Anglia Ruskin University is pleased to confer on Roger Shilling the award of Honorary Fellow of the University for his long, dedicated and distinguished service to the University as a senior academic administrator, and for his sustained contributions to church and charitable organisations in Essex.

It is not often that the University confers an honorary title on its own folk - the vast bulk are awarded to honour contributions to society in general - to the arts, entertainment and cultural industries; to business; to service to the community in public and voluntary or charitable organisations. But it is very fitting today that we pay tribute to Roger Shilling for his services to the University and its predecessor organisations for a period of nearly thirty years. Since we undertake this pleasurable activity in a Cathedral, a text from Scripture seems particularly appropriate - "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Roger Shilling was born in Portsmouth in 1943, and his first appointments were in local government educational administration, gaining valuable experience both in the local colleges of art and education, and with Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council. However, frustration with the vagaries of local government reorganisation led to his becoming Head of the FE Section in the Education Department at the London Borough of Redbridge in 1975. He continued his northerly trajectory in 1978 by moving to the then Chelmer Institute of Higher Education initially as Deputy Institute Secretary, but moving through a succession of roles over the next thirty years as Chelmer changed to the Essex Institute; joined with Cambridge College of Art and Technology to become Anglia Higher Education College; became Anglia Polytechnic in 1999; and then Anglia Polytechnic University in 2001. This period was marked by a succession of mergers, changes in the local status of the institution; the acquisition of freedom from the local authority; and an enormous expansion in student numbers, innovative and pioneering developments, and the institution's research capacity and capability. Accordingly, Roger went through the roles of Acting Institute Secretary; Principal Administrative Officer; Registrar; and Academic Services Coordinator; ending up as Head of the Academic Secretariat. The fact that Anglia developed so quickly and effectively is due in no small measure to his custodianship of Senate and its major committees (he solely attended every Senate meeting from 1992-2003); and the way in which he developed the role of senior administrator over this period.

In 1990, Roger obtained the Diploma in Management Studies (Education) and then in 1995 he was one of the first members of the administrative staff to obtain an MSc in Education Management, both from this University. The subject of his dissertation was "Issues of Good Practice in Relation to Student Appeals against Academic Decisions". The research for this work assisted Roger in developing the University's Academic Appeals procedures.

Colleagues will readily testify to his excellence in the role of Anglia's equivalent of Sir Humphrey, the archetypal top civil servant in Yes Minister. They will testify to his skills as a facilitator and trouble-shooter; to his ability to design administrative process which enabled rather than frustrated progress; to his view of regulations as dynamic not static; to his immense dependability, probity and integrity; to his ability to conceptualise and implement sensible policy options to apparently impenetrable problems; to the sensitivity of his political antennae which frequently headed off potentially difficult situations; and his ability to get on with things with quiet, but effective unobtrusiveness. In short, the very model of an academic Sir Humphrey!

His particular personal interests in this wide field of institutional endeavours were student appeals; the development of sound QA arrangements to underpin our burgeoning doctoral programme; and the Chaplaincy Council, of which he became Secretary in 1997.

The last mentioned relates closely to his external interests, where he is a Churchwarden of his Parish Church; a lay chair of the Deanery Synod; is a member of this Cathedral's Council; and is one of the three Educational Advisers of the Bishop of Chelmsford in which capacity he is engaged in the selection of candidates for training for the Ordained and Accredited Lay Ministries. Apart from this, he is productive on behalf of local charities and organisations.

Roger is now fully retired from the University. To those of us who have had the pleasure of working with Roger down the years... well done and thanks thou good and faithful servant!

In the light of the above, and exercising the power conferred on me by Senate, may I therefore invite the Vice Chancellor, David Tidmarsh, to bestow the award of Honorary Fellow of the University upon Roger Shilling."