At Solihull College & University Centre we are proud of our staff. Have a look at the profiles of some our university level teaching staff below.
Alex Gibb studied Computer Science at Thames Polytechnic (now Greenwich University) and worked as a programmer in the flight simulation industry, before becoming an FE teacher for 5 years. He studied for an MSc in Human Computer Interaction at Sussex University and was then invited to do a PhD at the University of Birmingham, within the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department. This involved designing a computer model for radiotherapy treatment planning and was followed by a three year Research Fellowship at Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital working on the development of a Decision Support System for Health Professionals to use in the diagnosis of childhood brain tumours. Alex joined Solihull College in 2010 and has worked in both FE and HE supporting students in gaining skills in software engineering and programming. He has also assisted with the development of a HND in Enterprise Information System (SAP) which feeds into a final degree with Birmingham City University and with the creation of a BSc (Hons) in Business Systems and Technology validated by Newman University. Alex is the co-ordinator at Solihull College for both programmes and has helped to write the course content. Along with Michelle Kempson, Alex champions the development of research skills amongst students and staff. Alex believes research skills are valuable beyond the academic environment, allowing people to gain strategies for resolving complex problems, develop independent thinking and the ability to systematically evaluate information. Such skills are needed in many kinds of employment in an increasingly complex world.
Andrea started her career in the Engineering industry as she was offered an apprenticeship when she left school. After completing her apprenticeship Andrea started working for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) on the track where she worked for 15 years. During this time Andrea decided to change career paths as she realised that engineering wasn’t the right future for her. Andrea’s colleague at JLR made her question what she would do if she could no longer work in the engineering industry and with a lack of qualifications she realised that she would have limited options. Andrea then took herself back to College and studied for her HNC in Business at Solihull College. On completing her HNC Andrea went on to complete her BA(Hons) as well as her Masters. Whilst completing these qualifications Andrea worked night shifts at JLR and juggled studying with her family life. On completion of her degree Andrea applied for a HR role involving education and development at JLR where she was able to have the opportunity to teach. Andrea really enjoyed the teaching part of the job role and decided to take this further by completing a teaching course at Solihull College. A tutor at the College offered Andrea the opportunity to teach the Personal Development module in Business which Andrea took as she felt she had nothing to lose. When a position became available to be able to teach at Solihull College Andrea applied and was successful in her application and is now the Foundation Degree Programme Manager for Business. Andrea commented: “I believe that when I was at school it wasn’t my time to learn as I never seemed interested, however, coming back to education I felt it was the right time to learn and get my qualifications.” Andrea is currently completing her PhD and contributing towards a book which is due to be published.
Clare completed her BSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Anglia Ruskin University and later completed her MSc in Conservation at Derby University. After completing her studies Clare went to Borneo to work with orang-utans before returning to the UK where she found an office job. Clare decided that the job wasn’t for her and after searching for careers in Animal Care she found Solihull College and contacted the College about any possible opportunities. Clare never thought that she would look into teaching careers, however, felt that she would be able to benefit students by changing aspects of learning that she felt could have been improved when studying herself. From this Clare completed her PGCE and was offered an opportunity at Solihull College for some part-time hours in the Animal Management department. Clare started at the College in 2008 and her hours gradually increased before securing a permanent full time contract. Clare is now the Higher Education course co-ordinator and teaches the Foundation Degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare as well as the BSc in the same subject. Currently Clare is completing a research topic on the suitability of nest box types which is a preliminary study before a dormouse release project takes place in Warwickshire. Students at the College were encouraged to assist with the research by installing nests across Warwickshire, working with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. Clare said “It is a great opportunity for the students as it is good experience for them and they can form links with companies such as the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. We are hoping to use these links to provide new courses in the future.” Clare also has a particular interest in the Principles of Animal Behaviour which she teaches as a module at the College. She also enjoys the idea of human and animal interactions and the theory and ethics of animals. Clare believes that the theoretic modules make students challenge their own thinking. She comments: “There is nothing wrong with being wrong as students may then come up with an idea that nobody else has thought of or one that another person agrees with. It is about developing critical thinking and making students feel confident enough to share their ideas.”
Deborah completed her degree in Civil Engineering at Southampton University as well as her Masters and is also a qualified Chartered Civil Engineer. Deborah then worked in the industry for 25 years before being made redundant. Deborah realised that it would be difficult to find another career in the industry that would be able to fit in with her family life so Deborah retrained to become a teacher as a teaching career would fit in with her family life. Deborah gained her teaching qualifications including her Dtlls – maths qualification before working for Solihull College teaching HNC Civil Engineering as well as being the GCSE Maths Co-ordinator. Deborah uses her 25 years industry experience to her advantage as she has the life experience to be able to inform her students of situations within the work place. Deborah has published a book relating to reclaimed land and the environment and takes a keen interest in the idea of new buildings in comparison to old buildings. Deborah enjoys getting her students to talk of projects that are in their office and to think broader about work and to ask questions whenever possible. Deborah comments: “learning I informed by work and work is informed by learning and if this doesn’t happen and link together then it all becomes disjointed and students wonder why they are doing it.”
Born in Sierra Leone, Idris moved to the UK at the age of 15. He went on to study Biochemistry and Chemistry at the University of Nottingham where he was subsequently encouraged to pursue a PhD researching muscle physiology. As part of his PhD, Idris had the opportunity to teach and decided it was the career for him. Idris’ first teaching role in the College including teaching the Access to Health Studies programme and Level 3 Diploma in Health & Social Care. Idris hoped to be able to get involved teaching on higher education programmes and he now uses his anatomy and physiology expertise to teach full time in both Further and Higher Education. Idris is also the lead internal verifier for the department as well as the Programme Lead for Higher Education. On the recent opening of the College’s Health and Care Skills Suite, he comments “Our new facility rivals top universities. I love being part of the innovation taking place within the department.”
Katie completed her HND in Early Years at Warwickshire College before moving to Solihull College to complete her BA(Hons). Katie had always wanted to pursue a career in teaching but had been previously discouraged to follow this career. Whilst completing her BA(Hons) in Early Years at the College Katie was inspired by her tutors as they were passionate and taught Early Years so well. Katie decided to speak with her tutors with regards to being able to teach and they encouraged her to pursue her ambitions. Katie is now currently completing her PGCE whilst working at Solihull College tutoring Early Years, which she has done since September 2014. Katie started working at the College on a voluntary basis and her skills were noticed and subsequently her hours were increased until she was tutoring Early Years on a regular basis. In September 2015 Katie is looking to complete her Masters and will be looking to focus on Special Educational Needs (SEN) support in Early Years. Katie has a particular passion for SEN studies as well as practitioners perceptions of outdoor environment; which she completed her dissertation in. Within Katie’s teaching she teaches students who study a Top-up degree in Early Years; she particularly enjoys teaching the children’s literature module as she believes it puts a twist on usual academic teaching and believes it is interesting to see the students value the importance of poetry. Katie also commented “I like to see students achieve goals and develop their practice. It’s rewarding to see students take what they have learnt and use it in their own settings.”
Michelle completed her doctorate at the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender at the University of Warwick, after having obtained her Masters in Culture and Media Analysis from Coventry University. She taught across a variety of modules within the Sociology department at the University of Warwick, and later worked as an Early Career Fellow within the Institute of Advanced Study. She has published within the areas of Youth Studies and Feminist Theory and has coedited a book (‘The Subcultural Imagination: theory, research and reflexivity in contemporary youth cultures’) with Professor Shane Blackman from Canterbury Christ Church University that was published in 2016. She also co-convenes the Solihull Research Forum, and is currently working on a research project in collaboration with several local universities looking at students’ transitions from FE to HE. Michelle has worked at the College for 3 years teaching on the BA (Hons) 2+2 Social Studies Degree and within the level 3 Access programme, and comments “It is rewarding to see students generate their own knowledge and to come up with new ideas.”
Nadine completed her studies at UWIC where she gained her BSc (Hons) in Sports Science. On completing her degree Nadine then continued to study at UWIC to gain her Masters degree in Sports Science. After completing her studies in 2010 Nadine started working at Solihull College teaching on both further and higher education modules. At this time Nadine was also training with British Athletics team and was able to make her way into the squad for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Dehli. Nadine progressed with the team and was part of the women’s 4x400m relay team who secured themselves a silver medal at the games. Nadine returned to teaching and now teaches on the university level programmes. She is able to pass on her experience in the industry to students and takes a specific interest in sports psychology, lab methods and exercise physiotherapy. Nadine has complete research in the mentioned areas as part of her studies and now teaches research projects as well as field based testing modules on different courses.
Nadine aims to share her passion for sport and exercise science with her students in the hope of them progressing within their career in the sport industry.
Nicola is the Higher Education Admissions Officer at the College. Nicola has worked for the College for over 4 years and is responsible for queries that students may have with regards to their course application. Nicola is able to give students advice on areas such as UCAS applications, appropriate courses and finance. Nicola is the main contact for students in the application process as she answers students enquiries, assists with applications, arranges interviews as well as placement offers. Nicola also works closely with the College’s partner institutions to ensure that the courses run smoothly.
Adam is the Director of Student Services at the College and is responsible for looking after students’ needs outside the curriculum. Adam previously worked at University College Birmingham before moving to Solihull. He therefore has a vast amount of experience with student welfare as well as issues concerning applications. Adam ensures that student’s needs are met and looks after areas such as student welfare, finance, counselling amongst others.