I'm an historian specializing in the history of political thought, the history of universities, and the history of the humanities and social sciences. I was educated at St Catherine's College, Oxford (1st Class in Modern History, 1983) and at Nuffield College, Oxford (D.Phil 1988). I was a Research Fellow of Nuffield College (1986-88) and Lecturer at New College, Oxford (1988-90), before appointment at Manchester in 1990. I have remained here ever since, serving as Head of History from 2000 to 2003. I was promoted to a personal professorship in 2008.
I have a particular interest in PhD supervision and training, and currently serve as Associate Dean for Postgraduate Research in the Faculty of Humanities, overseeing programmes with around a thousand research students. From 2014-17 I was Director of the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership, which in 2013 was awarded around £14 million by the AHRC to provide doctoral training across seven universities and HEIs in the region.
I also chair the University's Research Group on University History, which promotes research in the history of universities. We hold biennial symposia, the most recent in September 2017 on Universities: Space, Place and Community. We also have a blog promoting university history, www.universityhistories.com.
I have held a number of research grants (AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme) and visiting appointments, including a Visiting Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford, where I studied the vices of endowed foundations.