Emeritus Professor Andy Downton's last full-time academic appointment was as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at De Montfort University (DMU) from 2011 to 2014. During this period, he was also acting Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities at DMU in 2012-2013. His successful and varied career has included numerous roles, from senior management positions to research on communication aids for the deaf, including contributing to the design of Independent Television’s Oracle Teletext subtitling systems in the 1980s and developing machine shorthand transcription for profoundly deaf people (including the British MP Jack Ashley) in the 1970s and 1980s.
Prior to taking up his role at DMU, Professor Downton spent 25 years at the University of Essex, holding a number of positions during this time including Head of the Department of Electronic Systems Engineering from 1999 to 2004, Pro Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) from 2005 to 2011, and Pro Vice Chancellor for the Humanities Faculty from 2007 to 2011. He also developed a research group with interests in image analysis applications and systems, including research on handwriting recognition in conjunction with the Post Office, and embedded parallel systems in conjunction with BT.
Among his extensive publications are textbooks on microprocessor engineering and human-computer systems, a research monograph, and more than 150 research papers.
He has also been an External Examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at more than a dozen universities, was a QAA (The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) university auditor and reviewer for 10 years up to 2016, and is currently vice-Chair of IET's (The Institute for Engineering and Technology) Academic Accreditation Committee and vice-Chair of the Engineering Accreditation Board of the Engineering Council.
Professor Downton personal interests include squash, theatre and long-distance cycle touring. He is a supporter of Colchester United football club and spends his spare time with his wife maintaining their listed farmhouse in Essex.