I joined the University of Wolverhampton in September 2007 as a Senior Lecturer on the Primary Initial Teacher Training Team after spending 13 years as a Primary class teacher across a variety of schools in the West Midlands.
Since January 2017 I have been Head of Student Experience, Progression, Attainment and Employability in the Faculty of Education, Health and Well-being. This is a seconded role which works across the Faculty’s 5 Institutes. I work closely with other Faculties, the Dean of Students, International Centre, Student Enabling Centre and other corporate services to identify and share good practice, and in collectively shaping and enhancing the University student experience. My role involves leading on the National Student Survey and other University student survey activities and systematically analysing the information in order to co-ordinate and monitor implementation of faculty and course level action plans. I also work with staff, student advisors, students and their representatives to develop and lead the implementation of a faculty level strategy for enhancing student engagement. I lead on the development and embedding of mechanisms for student voice and partnership towards the delivery of an excellent, market-leading student experience across the faculty, through all modes of delivery. I monitor and analyse data on student satisfaction, progression, attainment and employability and take responsibility for providing reports to faculty executive, course teams and for quality assurance purposes and initiate interventions to achieve faculty targets in these areas. With regards to the employability of our students I Iead developments to promote employability, entrepreneurship and enterprise in curricula. I work collaboratively with staff and departments across the university (for example with alumni, programme teams, outreach, student union and business development managers). In the Faculty we enjoy high employment rates of our students and had 96% in employment at the end of their studies last year. In order to continue this, I liaise with external agencies and develop and implement strategies, such as Challenge Academy and the Wolverhampton Employment and Enterprise Award, both of which contribute towards the employability of students.
As a Principal Lecturer, I am engaged in recruitment, selection and induction across the faculty including research posts and I have carried out staff appraisals and supported the probationary periods of new staff to the primary team. I have engaged in management toolkit training and completed all mandatory online training. As well as external partners, I work strategically with colleagues both across the Faculty and the University. The interdependent relationship between systems, administration and academic staff is vital to securing quality of provision for the students and my ability to work so closely with administration staff is a key skill for a PL role. I have worked closely with senior colleagues across the Faculty to develop our portfolio and ensure consistency of the brand and vision that we offer in order to develop an excellent market-leading student experience.
Effective interpersonal and people management skills are essential as a Principal Lecturer. These skills have been strengthened through my membership of strategic alliance groups operating across Birmingham and the Black Country as well as in my roles as a vice-chair of Governors at a mainstream school in the Black Country and a Director on the board of a large multi-academy trust of special schools in Birmingham. My duties have included chairing meetings; recruiting staff; liaising with senior leaders and business managers with regard to CPD; brokering the deployment of Senior Leaders in Education (SLEs) and enhancing the research and development aspect of the Teaching Schools agenda by engaging with teachers and support staff on action research. I have been involved in head teacher appraisals and target setting; financial monitoring; disciplinary hearings and monitoring of performance management. These roles allow me to see a much wider view of working with schools and extended services.
I currently teach on the post-graduate masters courses in the Institute of Education. The students on the Masters course are from diverse backgrounds and entry points onto the course. They are full-time, part-time and, quite often, international students. I am module leader for ‘Critical Reflection and Reflexivity in Professional Contexts’. This is a core module and involves students in reflecting upon their professional backgrounds and educational positioning to reflect upon their continuing professional development as change agents in both educational and non-educational contexts. I am currently involved in adapting and planning to teach this module to a group of doctors as part of their educational module and CPD. I also supervise final dissertations at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In line with university policy, I assess, mark and moderate masters level work and sit on the award and module boards for the masters level provision.
In addition to my full-time job at the University and my Governance responsibilities, I have previously held External Examiner posts at the Universities of Bedford and of Northampton for undergraduate and PGCE university and school based programmes respectively. I am currently external examiner at St. Mary’s University Twickenham for their undergraduate QTS routes. The external examiner roles enable me to see undergraduate and postgraduate courses from the viewpoint of a critical friend. I can exchange ideas for improving practice across the different programmes at my own institution making suggestions to further strengthen provision.
With regard to research and scholarly activity, I am currently enrolled on the Professional Doctorate programme at the thesis writing stage. My research interests are focused around teacher identity and resilience, centred upon how student teachers on school-led routes into teaching are facilitated to develop their identities as teachers and build resilience. I hope to submit my thesis in the spring of 2018. Previously, I presented two papers at the University staff research conference in July 2014 and another at the UCET conference in November 2014 in collaboration with a colleague. I sit on the editorial board of a recently launched peer review journal - Pedagogy in Practice (PiP). I regularly present at both internal and external doctoral presentation events and conferences. I am a full member of BERA. I also sit on the Education Ethics committee demonstrating that I am able to support and enable the research and enterprise activities of the faculty. My short term aims are to complete my application for Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy; to complete my doctorate and publish papers in peer-reviewed journals from my thesis and my current strategic role. I would also like to continue with my postgraduate teaching commitments and eventually teach on the professional doctorate programme and supervise theses.