I grew up in South Wales and currently live in Cambridge in England. I studied History at Oxford University, and joined the British Civil Service in 1989. I entered the world of higher education via the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) and, after a couple of years developing human resources policy, I took over the management of one of SERC’s Civil Engineering programmes. There I became fascinated with the intricacies of research grant development, assessment and funding, studentship and PhD support.
I moved to Anglia Ruskin University in 1996 where I was instrumental in developing its Research Office and Graduate School – significantly broadening its activities from administering its regular submissions to the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) to include grant development and management, intellectual property, knowledge transfer, studentships as well as staff and student training and development programmes.
I completed my Doctorate in 2005. Though it has nothing to do with higher education – a study of East Anglia in the early Cold War if you're interested (!) - it has left me with a desire constantly to learn more, to think critically about what might seem obvious, and to convey ideas coherently, verbally and in writing.
In 2006, I shifted my focus to University Registry functions, managing over a hundred staff supporting more than 36,000 students from the moment they became interested in studying with us, through to their graduation and beyond. Here my interest in systems and process was reignited by the rising tide of electronic and internet-based support and delivery systems as well as an appreciation that, even when perfected, they are nothing without good people.
I began working as an occasional consultant in higher education in 2004 and went full-time in 2008. I’ve since worked with numerous institutions and organisations around the world to develop their management, academic and administrative staff and systems. This culminated in 2009 when I was asked to develop a programme to offer online higher education to refugees. What started from nothing has since become Jesuit World-Wide Learning, currently operating in over 20 countries and offering higher education to thousands of refugees. I stepped down as its Chief Academic Officer in 2015 and look back on my time there as a privilege.
I’ve been fortunate to work around the world and to meet some incredible people. My approach has always been to use my knowledge to harness their expertise in a way which is appropriate to them. As such, I continue to teach, write and consult on higher education not only to help others evolve, but to continue my own learning.
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