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John Robinson

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching, Learning and Students



I have overall responsibility for ensuring that our students have an intellectually stimulating, relevant and well supported teaching and learning experience. I also have responsibility for the development and implementation of the University’s Information Strategy (which includes the library, IT and Web) and that their overall university experience is enriching and fulfilling.

Biography in brief

I am an electronic engineer and most of my research contributions have been in image and video processing and analysis.

I have been a Professor in York’s Department of Electronics since 2000 and was its Head from 2007 to 2011. 

Immediately before coming to York I held an Industrial Research Chair at Memorial University of Newfoundland and previously worked for the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; Bell-Northern Research Ltd., Verdun, Quebec, Canada; and Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd., Basildon, UK.

I have postgraduate degrees in engineering from The University of Essex, and in the humanities from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Roles and responsibilities

What is your day job?

I chair the University Teaching Committee which approves taught programmes and sets key teaching and learning policies.

Behind the scenes I work with Chairs of Boards of Studies, the Academic Support Office, the Learning and Teaching Forum, and the YUSU and GSA academic reps to enhance teaching and learning at York, ensure that academic quality standards are maintained and that we make the most of all our resources – human, technological, infrastructural – in giving students an outstanding education.

I oversee the ways students are assessed, and the provisions for supporting students who face special circumstances in their studies. In these areas much of the policy making and implementation is done through the Standing Committee on Assessment and the Special Cases Committee whose chairs report to me.

I chair the Information Strategy Group and work with the information directorate in ensuring that the University’s library and IT services support all our activity.

Role on The Board

Learning is done and teaching delivered within the academic departments.

My key responsibility is ensuring that this activity, dispersed through the University, is well-understood and represented within SMG and that the University’s strategy and support for teaching are effectively realised in departments.

Other responsibilities

As a Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, a Chartered Engineer and a Professional Engineer I serve on various boards and committees associated with my profession.

About me

What makes me tick?

I love learning. A University is a place of learning, so I’m delighted to work in one.

York offers many opportunities to interact and engage with the fullest diversity of people and groups. I appreciate the texture and surprises of that everyday experience.

I’m an amateur pianist and photographer and every few years I start to learn Italian.

My vision for the University

For me, a University is the place where scholarship – the pursuit, discovery and creation of knowledge - has primary value; and where reason and empiricism are embraced and applied to all of life, from the details of disciplines to citizenship.

My vision is for students, staff and other stakeholders to be effective, influential and fulfilled scholars, so I see my role as helping to make York’s academic environment as inspiring and supportive as possible.


The thing I am best known for is predictive coding. In the early 1980s I designed the hardware for the world’s first Hybrid-DPCM codec and thirty years on my algorithms and code for Adaptive Prediction Tree compression are used in many mobile phone applications.

More information is available at

Register of interests

Register of interests (August 2017)

  • PHEE - Board member (unpaid) (professional organisation)
  • IET - Fellow (professional organisation)
  • IEEE - Senior Member (professional organisation)
  • Percipo Inc, SF, California - Advisory Board Member (unpaid with share options that will vest upon an IPO)
  • York College - Governor 
  • Sutton Trust - Fellow
  • Shareholdings - various public companies traded in London and Toronto (in all cases <0.1% of issued share capital)

2015-16 expenses

Below are the travel and expenses for Professor John Robinson covering the period September 2015 to July 2016.

 John Robinson expenses Sep 15 - Jan 16 (PDF , 5kb)

John Robinson Expenses Feb-Apr 2016 (PDF , 98kb)

John Robinson Expenses May - July 2016 (PDF , 4kb)

Profile of John Robinson PVC for Teaching and Learning

Contact detail

Personal assistant