“Don’t let work get in the way of your education”

Chris Higgins
Retired Vice-Chancellor, Durham University

I am not the top debugger in class </story>. Nor am I the fastest runner. But I pride myself in being an all-rounder. I’d like to introduce you to the experience I have gained throughout my education, following on from the ex-VC’s advice above.


I played rugby for my school every year in high school. In 2009 I captained the team and led our highest-ever game win against rivals, personally scoring five consecutive tries in one game. I also ran cross country every year, some years competitively. At University I have represented Durham in trampoline and came UK 4th in the mens novice category in Manchester, 2014. I also represented Durham at inter-university gymnastics. I am an occasional visitor to the Rifle Club and am currently captain of the small and growing University College Cross Country club at my college at Durham.

Academic Representation

I have served as the elected Course Rep for Computer Science for both my first and second years at Durham. I am now the Faculty Rep for Undergraduate Science of about 4,400 students, something which has brought a whole new level of responsibility and influence over the running of affairs at Durham. I sit (and sat in italics) on the following committees:

  • Science Faculty Education Committee
  • University Academic Affairs Committee
  • Engineering and Computing Sciences IT Management Committee
  • Engineering and Computing Sciences Staff Student Consultative Committee


I play a bit of piano and love Für Elise by Beethoven.


No, not the latest on the Gadget Show. Home-brew circuitry and bread boards. LEDs to make it look cool. 4017 ICs to add sauce.


I have a summer business (and strictly a summer business) – Arcza Digital. I do web design and network consultancy for small companies and individuals. In my 2015 summer holiday, while having no formal employment, I was in construction sites and office blocks wiring up Cat6 networks and pushing pages to FTP servers.

I also ran a small company under the Young Enterprise scheme in 2011 called Black Powder (reg. no. JAIOM1202). I made a turnover of £300 from importing and reselling goods from Asia in my school at a regular lunchtime stall) from just £50 initial capital from shareholders. Young Enterprise issue us share booklets and we even pay a “tax” at the end.


For four years, I took part in the UKMT general mathematics challenge. I received two bronze awards and two silver awards.