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 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 held our inaugural symposium, The University reimagined: past and present, in September 2015 and are planning our second for September 2017. 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.