I’m a proud Mackem!! Born in Sunderland, I still live in Sunderland, and I’ve been a season ticket holder at the Stadium of Light since the late 1990s (before that at Roker Park). That said, in all other ways I consider myself an honorary Geordie. I first entered the Geography Department at Newcastle University as an undergraduate student in 1994 and I'm incredibly lucky to work in the same department today as a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography.
I specialise in two (completely unrelated) things. Firstly, as a former school teacher, I’m very interested in the social and academic transition from school to university geography - particularly how these are experienced by widening participation students. Most recently I have been a corresponding member of ALCAB (a body established by the government to lead the reform of A-levels). I am also an advisor to several A-level exam boards on this issue. I have written multiple transitions related research articles, a textbook, and a report on transitions for the Higher Education Academy. If you are interested, please have a look at my personal website for more info.
My second area of interest lies in political geography – particularly British foreign policy and the so-called “Special Relationship” between the UK and the USA. I seem to spend a lot of time in darkened rooms in the Public Records Office in Kew, looking at old government documents and thinking about how Britain's past geopolitical strategy influences current British foreign policy. In 2012 my single authored monograph “A Special Relationship? British Foreign Policy in the Era of American Hegemony” was published by Manchester University Press.
I have been nominated by students twice for the Newcastle University Student Union’s Teaching Excellence Awards and once for The Vice-Chancellor's Distinguished Teacher Award. My innovative approach to teaching can be evidenced by the fact that I have been awarded four Newcastle University Innovation Fund Awards.
I currently lead and / or teach on the following geography modules at Newcastle University:
Study Skills (Geo1096): module leader, lecturer and seminar leader.
Interconnected World (Geo1010): lecturer.
Doing Geographical Research (Geo2111): module leader, lecturer and seminar leader.
Geopolitics (Geo3102): lecturer.
Dissertations (Geo3099): dissertation mentor.
The Nature of Explanation and Enquiry (HSS8007): module leader, lecturer and seminar leader. This is a faculty module taken by all humanities, arts and social science PhD students.
In addition, from 2008-2015 I was Senior Tutor for Geography, overseeing the pastoral care and wellbeing of all geography students. I currently convene and run the Geography Staff-Student Committee