I am Lecturer and Staff Tutor in English Language and Applied Linguistics at the Open University. I started work with the Open University as an Associate Lecturer in 2005. I have over twenty five years of experience as a teacher and lecturer in English Language and Linguistics in a range of settings, including secondary, Further and Higher Education. I have also worked as an examiner for various awarding organisations, including holding the role of Principal Examiner for GCSE English Language and A-Level English Language for Pearson. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
As a Lecturer and Staff Tutor at the OU, I am now Line Manager and responsible for the recruitment, induction and development of a large team of Associate Lecturers. I am Module Chair on E304 Exploring English Grammar and Lead Staff Tutor on L161 Exploring Languages and Cultures, as well as being Cluster Manager on LB170 Communication Skills for Business and Management and L101 Introducing English Language Studies.
My linguistic research centres on diachronic and synchronic language variation and change, including the relationship between accent, dialect and identity. I am interested in a wide range of topics including heritage, ethnicity and migration. I am about to embark on a study celebrating the heritage of an East Durham former mining community, examining longitudinally to what extent the language variety is linked to the community’s identity. I will work with a range of external stakeholders on this work and I welcome approaches of interest and further collaboration.
I am involved with several initiatives working with under-represented groups to improve access to HE. This aligns with the OU’s mission of being ‘open to all’. I have recently worked with younger learners to assess their needs when embarking on Higher Education in a distance learning context. I have also worked with a range of stakeholders to investigate how care-experienced learners can be recruited, retained and supported on their learning journey.
In addition, I run a peer-to-peer mentoring scheme which allows students to match themselves with more experienced peers. The mentor:mentee relationship continues throughout a student’s first year of HE study, establishing a range of new skills and positive experiences for both parties. A PRAXIS and TEF-funded scholarship project is currently investigating how the scheme impacts on student retention and how students from under-represented groups specifically can benefit from the scheme.