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Dr John Butcher

Dr John Butcher is Associate Director (Curriculum and Access) in at the Open University.  He is responsible for the development, enhancement and implementation of the portfolio's teaching curriculum. This includes leadership of the university’s UK-wide Access provision (three 30 credit Level 0 interdisciplinary Access modules). He is also Deputy Director on the Open Programme and support the Masters in Online Distance Education. He leads the Access Observatory and through that, evaluation and reporting of Widening Participation initiatives: internally via implementation and evaluation of the University’s Widening Access and Success Strategy; and externally, via Access and Participation plans to the Office for Students (OfS). He is Academic Lead for the Access Student Support Team. He has supervised 13 doctorates to successful completion and is currently supervising three Doctorates in Education.

He represents the OU as an Executive member on the Forum for Access and Continuing Education and is Managing Editor for the international Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning journal.  He is also a Review Coordinator for the Quality Assurance Agency.  He has gained funding, as Principal Investigator, for a number of research projects, most recently' Understanding the impact of outreach on access to higher education for disadvantaged adult learners' (OFFA, 2016-17), and  'Part-time higher education in the UK' (HEA, 2014-15). 

Recent publications

Hills, Laura; Clarke, Anactoria; Hughes, Jonathan; Butcher, John; Shelton, Isobel and McPherson, Elaine. (2018). Chinese whispers? Investigating the consistency of the language of assessment between a distance education institution, its tutors and students. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 33 (3) pp. 238-349.

Butcher, John; Clarke, Anactoria; Wood, Carlton; McPherson, Elaine and Fowle, Wendy. (2018). How does a STEM Access module prepare adult learners to succeed in undergraduate science?. Journal of Further and Higher Education (Early Access).

Butcher, John. (2018). Editorial - Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 20 (1) pp. 1-7.

McKendry, Stephanie; Marr, Liz and Butcher, John. (2018). Editorial - Writing Together: Practitioners, Academics and Policy Makers. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 20 (3) pp. 1-6.

Butcher, John and Fowle, Wendy (2018). Outreaching: two approaches to outreach with adult learners from disadvantaged backgrounds (and an emerging evaluation toolkit). In: Broadhead, Sam; Butcher, John; Hill, Michael; McKendry, Stephanie; Raven, Neil; Sims, David and Ward, Tom eds. Concepts of Value and Worth: National and International Perspectives on Widening Access and Participation Forum for Access and Continuing Education, pp. 207-229.

Marr, Liz and Butcher, John (2018). Learning Through Life Revisited: The Role of Policy in Enhancing Social Mobility Through Access to Part-Time Study. In: Billingham, Stuart eds. Access to Success and Social Mobility through Higher Education: A Curate's Egg, Rotterdam: Emerald Books, pp. 51-65.

Butcher, John (2018). Preparing unconfident adults to access STEM degrees. The Efficiency Exchange (Universities UK).

Butcher, John (2018). Supporting the transition of mature learners into higher education. In: Matheson, Ruth; Tangney, Sue and Sutcliffe, Mark eds. Transition In, Through and Out of Higher Education Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 121-124.

Butcher, John; McPherson, Elaine; Shelton, Isobel; Clarke, Anactoria; Hills, Laura and Hughes, Jonathan. (2017). Unfit for purpose? Rethinking the language of assessment for Widening Participation students. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 19 (2) pp. 27-46.

Butcher, John (2017). There has been a massive drop in the number of mature students studying at UK universities. The Conversation.

Fowle, Wendy and Butcher, John (2017). Do you have to be mobile to be socially mobile? Adult learners miss out again!. In: Broadhead, S.; Hill, M.; Hudson, A.; McGlynn, C.; McKendry, S.; Raven, N.; Sims, D. and Ward, T. eds. Widening Participation in the Context of Economic and Social Change, Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE), pp. 153-162.

Butcher, John (2017). A toolkit to encourage more ambitious access agreements. Efficiency Exchange, UUK.

Office for Fair Access and Butcher, John (2017). Understanding the impact of outreach on access to higher education for disadvantaged adult learners. Office for Fair Access.

Butcher, John. (2017). Editorial 'Where are we now?'. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 19 (2) pp. 1-5.