I received my first degree, a BA Hons in English with American Studies at St Johns, York, after which I spent six years as an English teacher then teacher-trainer in Tokyo, Japan. I returned to the UK in 1996 to complete a PG Diploma in Cultural Representation at Staffordshire University and establish a new career. In 1998 I joined the education team at Stoke-on-Trent College and completed a PGCE with Manchester Metropolitan University, continuing on to lead the Teacher Education and Continuing Professional Development team, designing and delivering the PGCE (Further, Adult and Higher Education) awards with Staffordshire University.

Research and scholarship

I have completed a PG Diploma in ‘Advancing Pedagogy’ with Oxford Brookes University, secured an LSIS research fellowship that allowed me to explore joint practice development as a tool for teachers’ continuing professional development and received a Master’s Research Degree with Distinction in Education from Sunderland University. I have a particular interest in holistic and integrated curriculum development, collaborative learning, action research and formative assessment.


As lecturer and tutor on the Certificate in Education and Post Graduate Diploma in Education I learned how important it is to focus on underpinning academic practices such as critical analysis/reading/reflection; developing an argument; and structuring discussion, in order to support students to engage confidently in higher level learning. I joined the Student Learning team at Keele University in January 2015, linked to the HUMSS faculty as a Learning Developer in a role that gives me the opportunity to put that learning and experience to work on a wider front.

Faculty role

As the HumSS Faculty link, my remit is to engage in ‘Academic Partnerships’ with teaching staff that begin with a focus on student learning in the curriculum. Where staff identify opportunities to develop their students’ academic practices*, and if they would like support, I can offer:

  • time, space and a critical friend to reflect on continuing “sticky issues” regarding students’ learning in your programme,
  • advice and guidance on strategies to develop your students’ academic practices,
  • collaboration in designing resources or sessions to support your students’ academic practices,
  • co-delivery of teaching sessions to support your students’ academic practices,
  • support in researching your students’ learning.

* For example: selecting sources / analysing a text / close reading / developing a literature review /using reading to develop a position / structuring an argument / academic writing.

Some comments from HumSS staff on the value of working with SL:

Getting together to share ideas etc. and to come up with ways that best help the students but that are also geared towards the module.”
“Encouragement, affirmation, support; accessibility to students; being prepared to be a critical friend; sharing time and resources.”