I am a Professor of Higher Education at Manchester Institute of Education, teaching primarily on the University's PGCert in Higher Education. I am also a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and an elected academic member of the Board of Governors here at the University of Manchester.
Since completing my PhD (funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council) in 1999, I've worked for several UK universities. At the University of Manchester, I have served as Director of Undergraduate Studies (2007-2010), Director of Social Responsibility (2010-11) for the School of Education, and Director of Postgraduate Studies for the School of Environment, Education and Development (2016-19). I was also an academic lead for the Faculty of Humanities New Academics Programme (2012-14).
I'm a member of the Sutton Trust Research Group, and have given papers at major international conferences in Mannheim and Freiburg (Germany), Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), Verona and Bertinoro (Italy) and San Francisco, New York and Chicago (USA). I've been interviewed about language use on BBC TV's The One Show (2010, 2011) and about my Higher Education research on BBC Radio Four's Today programme (2012, 2016). My funders include the British Academy, the Society for Research in Higher Education, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and the Sutton Trust, and I've undertaken consultancy work for OFFA and HEFCE. I've presented research findings to Universities UK (2012), the Employers and Education Taskforce (2011, 2012, 2014) and the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (2014), as well as delivering a Westminster Briefing (2013) and speaking at the Sunday Times Festival of Education (2013). In 2016, I was a member of the Academic Reference Group that reported directly to the government’s Social Mobility Advisory Group, and I have twice taken part in roundtable discussions led by the Rt Hon Alan Milburn on behalf of the Social Mobility Commission (2013, 2016). I am currently a member of HEFCE's Learning Gain Expert Group.
In 2015, I was one of four academics invited to discuss their research at the office of the Minister for Universities and Science in relation to the Teaching Excellence Framework and its associated metrics. I subsequently presented findings in the House of Commons alongside the Minister at the November 2015 meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Universities group.
I was Vice Chair of Governors at Burnage Academy for Boys in South Manchester from 2016 to 2018 and am now a Trustee of the school.