I grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a small university town in the American South.  I earned my BA, MA, and PhD at the University of North Carolina, spending a year on exchange at Mansfield College, Oxford along the way.  I came to American Studies at Keele in 1996 and then moved to SPIRE.

My main interest is education politics and policy, which puts me in the happy position of studying what I do for a living.  I am currently working on a comparison of higher education between Europe and the United States.   I won the Keele Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005, and was made a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2009.

Research and scholarship

My main research interests are in public policy (particularly education) and American politics.  I have written about education reform in the U.S., particularly No Child Left Behind.  I have been involved in various projects looking at topics that include promotion and rewards for staff, civic engagement and citizenship, assessment, undergraduate research, e-learning, research methods and the curriculum.  My current research compares the higher education curriculum for universities in Europe and the United States.  I am also carrying out a project examining the provision of study abroad programmes in the U.K. and their contribution to internationalisation.


  • Mass Media
  • American Politics
  • Public Policy
  • Political Analysis
  • Citizenship
  • Research Methods
  • Education Policy
  • American society and culture

Further information

I have been active in university administration at Keele, co-authoring the University’s learning and teaching strategy, assessment strategy, and its new degree structure.  I am active in C-SAP, the politics subject centre of the Higher Education Academy, where I am a member of the politics reference group and specialist groups on both e-learning and assessment.

I am currently leading a project on the shape of the politics curriculum and its approach to assessment for C-SAP and the Political Studies Association.  I was the main author of an ESRC international benchmarking analysis of social science research methods in undergraduate degrees.  I have published articles and presented at conferences and workshops in the U.K. and internationally on the design and teaching of research methods in undergraduate degrees.

I speak to many high schools every year about going to university, American politics and the United States.  I was vice-chair of governors at a local primary school and high school.  I currently serve as a governor at my local high school.  I was an elected parent representative on Staffordshire County Council’s Scrutiny Panel for Schools and Colleges.


PhD supervision

I am able to supervise research students on the following topics:

  • American politics
  • State politics in the US
  • Public policy

Please see my research and scholarship for more details about my area of expertise.

Further information is available about studying in SPIRE, including funding available for pursuing a doctoral research degree.

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