My links to the Open University go back to 1977 when I enrolled as a student on an education course after taking my first degree, in English Studies, at the University of Nottingham. I subsequently became a part-time postgraduate research student at the OU: my doctoral thesis was on fiction and history in the work of V.S.Naipaul.
I taught in the University of Nottingham's Adult Education Department before taking up a lectureship at the University of Bradford's Department of Interdisciplinary Human Studies in 1994. I became an OU Staff Tutor in 2000, served as head of the Department of English (2011-2015) and was the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences's first Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching Innovation) from 2016 until my retirement at the end of 2018. I continue my links with the University, especially within FASS, as Emeritus Professor.
Amongst the materials I have written for OU modules are chapters on Kipling, Conrad, Pat Barker and Dickens. As a spin-off from writing about Dickens for a level 1 module, for the Dickens bi-centenary in 2012 I was academic consultant for an itunes album focusing on Dickens’ public readings. I edited a volume of short stories, A World of Difference, for the long-running level 1 module, The Arts Past and Present (AA100), and chaired two more indisciplinary level 1 modules, Voices and Texts (A150) and then the expanded Voices, Texts and Material Culture (A105), which began in 2014. I was academic editor of Realities 1800-1870, the first book of Literature in transition: from 1800 to the present (A335), and my most recent module material is a chapter on Dickens's A Christmas Carol for the forthcoming level 1 module, Discovering the Arts and Humanities (A111). I received an OU individual Teaching Award in 2012 and became a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2016. Follow-on developments in teaching and scholarship from the HEA engaged student learning project in 2014-15 led to a team OU Teaching Award for Innovative Scholarship (2019).