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Alfred graduated with his Mathematics PhD "Epimorphisms Between Groups Given By Means Of Generators And Defining Relations" in 1977, just a week after getting married. Living in inner city Birmingham as a child of two Maltese parents he lived in council maisonettes in Duddeston Manor and later, Leebank, for most of his childhood and experienced some tough times with racism and bullying throughout his schooling, however his aptitude for maths first asserted itself at school. In Primary School he experienced corporal punishment by his teachers to "cure" his left handedness. Despite these challenges, Alfred passed his 11+ ...and went to grammar school where in his second year an amazing teacher brought him out of his shell and he began to shine academically, culminating in going to Royal Holloway University of London to study maths and chemistry. It was a computing module on his degree that was to be the basis of his future career. His application to study a PhD at the OU was successful. He found it a friendly and democratic institution and was involved in many extra-curricular activities, notably performing in the iconic "Ballad of Walton Hall".  His first job was a research programmer at the OU in 1978-81 before moving on to a varied career, lecturing at Oxford Brookes and North Staffordshire Polytechnics and then at Cranfield University. He arrived at the University of Luton in 1995, first as Head of Department before he became Associate Dean, Computing Research and Development, University of Luton in 1998 until 2000. From 1992 he came back to the OU as an associate lecturer and continues in that role. From 2008-15 he was a lecturer at Liverpool University online and he also teaches online and examines for London University External Degrees.
Metadata describing this person
Name: Dr Alfred Vella
Gender: Male
Project person ID: phd_010
Event: Awarded PhD, 1977
Thesis title: Epimorphisms between Groups given by means of Generators and Defining Relations