Saturday, 30 March 2013

all aboard...

It's not too early to acknowledge the support of others in getting me to this point (and hopefully beyond it).  It's already obvious to me that fuel and pitstops, of all kinds, are essential on the otherwise solitary PhD roadtrip!  

So let me say: thanks to Becky and Katie, whose warm hospitality allows me to be enrolled at the University of London but live in rural bliss (your rewards are forthcoming but may take a while!); thanks to my mentors Bonnie and Ann-Marie whose academic and personal integrity I absolutely trust and whose time I really appreciate.  Thanks to Cat for cultural interventions and city sojourns and Kate B for coffees and institutional insights.  Thanks to all those ex-colleagues whose support kept me going last year and who waved me off with such good wishes.  To Mum and Rodda who won't let me pay for lunch!  To Tam who was there when it mattered.  And to my partner Jane Oliver, the sweetest woman alive, who feeds and loves  me in every way.  

Friday, 29 March 2013

six months and counting...

This seems like an appropriate moment to jump into the blogosphere....

I'm six months into a PhD researching how UK universities retain (or don't) part-time, mature students.

These dispatches from the field of higher education/academia will record my reflections on inhabiting the role of a doctoral student (I didn't see that coming!), my engagement with all aspects of my research and a watching brief on the state of UK higher education.  And yes, the title's implication of conflict/struggle/battle IS intended. 

To start, here's some context.  The UK government's funding reforms for higher education seem to have hit part-time student enrolment hardest.  It's down 40% from 2010/11 (BBC News 14 March 2013).