Doctoral supervision: I'm interested in taking on new doctoral students whose research is closely aligned with mine - but please note that I shan't reply to your inquiry unless you show that you have carefully read the information and closely followed the advice for potential doctoral students that I provide on my webpage. You'll find this information and advice by clicking on the tab 'Research and Projects'. After you've clicked on this tab, scroll down until you see the sub-heading: Doctoral supervision.
Visiting scholars: I'm afraid I'm not currently considering applications from visiting scholars.
Born and brought up in Greater Manchester, I was a primary school teacher in Salford and Burnley before becoming an academic. My first academic post was at the University of Warwick, where I worked for 12 years before moving to the University of Leeds, to take up a post as reader before then being promoted to a professorship. I was delighted to come to the University of Manchester in June 2017. In 2019 I presented my inaugural lecture, A career-long odyssey through education workplaces. You can find a recording of it here, listed in the archives of the Sarah Fielden lecture programme.
In my leisure time I enjoy the theatre and visiting historical sites. I am a fan of the website, Onehundredthousand words, and I am a lifelong Manchester United supporter. I enjoy European travel and learning foreign languages, and as a French student many years ago spent a period of study at the University of Dijon in Burgundy (now l'Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté). More recently, I lived in France in 2011 as visiting professor at the Institut français de l'éducation in Lyon. I remain a fluent French speaker and I speak reasonably fluent German. I have several networks in the francophone world, and from time to time I present my work in French and collaborate with Francophone colleagues on research and writing projects. Most recently this involved a return to Dijon, where, in June 2019, I presented a paper, ‘L’attractivité des métiers de l’enseignement en Angleterre’, at the journées d'étude: Penser l’attractivité des métiers de l’enseignement : des agendas politiques aux travaux scientifiques held at the Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté.
My research focuses broadly on professional working life in education contexts representing all sectors - compulsory and post-compulsory - and my recent studies have examined the academic workforce in higher education. Four funded projects on UK-based university professors have culminated in my book, Professors as academic leaders: expectations, enacted professionalism and evolving roles, published in 2018 by Bloomsbury. A Spanish translation of the book has been published by Narcea, with the addition of a prologue by the eminent Professor Miguel Zabalza Beraza from the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. One of the research projects that feeds into the book traced the history of professors and professorship from medieval times - from which I developed a website intended for a general audience of those interested in how professorship and professors' work has evolved. Since my research into professors has generated what I believe is the largest research-generated data set to date on UK-based professors, I am often invited to speak at universities' professorial away days, or to advise universities on how best to deploy and develop their most senior academics. In 2022 I also featured in a South Korean TV documentary, 'Chair', which was broadcast by KBS, and is now available to view on YouTube.
Another of my fields of interest and expertise is research leadership and researcher development, and, again, I am often invited to speak on issues related to these topics. I am also an associate researcher, by invitation, at the Centre for the Study of Research Training and Impact at the University of Newcastle in Australia.
Recent speaking engagements
In 2021 my invited talks included:
- an invited masterclass - 'Professionalism and Professionality' - at the University of Dundee (hosted by the University of Dundee's MEd Community Hub), on June 1st.
- an invited keynote - 'Leadership and leaders in research: Outside-the-box thinking' - at the University of Manchester's annual research staff conference, on November 15th. Watch a recording of this keynote talk here.
In 2022 I accepted the following speaking invitations
- The University of Manchester's School of Environment, Education and Development's annual postgraduate research conference on May 5th, when I presented a keynote 'Raising your game: Injecting more rigour into your research'.
- 'Researching changes to working lives and professionalism: An analytical frame', at the University of Porto's 2-day workshop for the research project: Fifty years of teaching in Portugal - international dialogues, May 11-12th.
- 'Is leadership worth studying - or is it a myth that we have reified?' - invited keynote to prelude the two-day Edu-Lead seminar, North West University, South Africa, June 1st.
- 'Becoming an "extended" educational researcher: Developing skills for research rigour', keynote talk at the 4th annual lecture Researcher training: Necessary competences for the contemporary researcher, at the Pontifical Catholic University of Parana, Brazil, June 9th 2022.
- Expert speaker panel member at the Advance HE Aurora programme 'Your future in HE' face-to-face event, Edinburgh, June 17th 2022.
(Click on the Research and Projects tab for more details of my research, and the Activities tab for information on my recent keynotes and other speaking and advisory engagements.)
Teacher’s certificate (with distinction) (subjects: French; history) - Victoria University of Manchester (Didsbury College of Education)
Diploma in mathematical education - Manchester College of Higher Education
BEd (hons), class I - Lancaster University
MA in education - Lancaster University
PhD - University of Warwick (passed with no corrections)
Diplôme approfondi de langue française, level C1 - Brasshouse Language Centre, Birmingham, UK
Learned society membership and activity
I am a fellow of the UK's Academy of Social Sciences.
Resignation from SRHE governing council
I was a member of the Society for Research into Higher Education between 2007 and 2018, and served for over eight years as an elected member of the SRHE's governing council, including over two years as its vice chair. Due to my disillusionment and dissatisfaction with several issues relating to the society's governance and management, however, I resigned my council membership on 28th June 2018 and have allowed my society membership to lapse.