Teacher audit

March 18, 2005

Name: Marina Mozzon-McPherson

* Age: 45

* Job: Senior open learning adviser, Hull University. Director of Reach Out, a project aimed at supporting and promoting language learning and teaching in the wider community.

* Qualifications: A PhD on the construction of an online speech community (Open University); national teaching fellowship (2004); PGCE (Huddersfield); certificate in teaching and learning online (Open University); Laurea in Lingue e Letterature Straniere (Universita Cattolica di Milano). Extensive business training in export and sales management.

* Background: In Italy I worked as an interpreter, translator and an export manager. I have also worked in further education and I developed language and cultural training programmes for industry.

* Working hours and conditions: I typically teach about 12 hours a week, both on campus and online. I also co-ordinate a team of language-learning advisers whose role is to support and encourage students in self-study and open-learning programmes. My working week is usually six-plus days. Logging on from home is too easy, especially when your students are in different parts of the globe.

* Number of students I teach: Typically 15, though I have taught 30-plus postgraduates online. For Reach Out, I organise events with up to 250 school and college pupils aged between 14 and18 and liaise with local businesses.

* Biggest challenge this year: Completing my doctorate and obtaining funding to write a book on my longitudinal study of an online community.

* How will you solve it? Networking with academics, applying to funding bodies and contacting potential publishers - and with a lot of support from my supervisors.

* Worst moment: Accidentally destroying a laptop with my presentation on it at the start of a conference and trying to continue as if nothing had happened.

* Office/working space: I have recently moved into a new office overlooking a green area with nice, old trees. It has lots of shelving and space for meetings, but needs an Italian touch, such as Venetian masks.

* University facilities: Hull campus has good cafes, great sports and music facilities, a brilliant theatre, a state-of-the art language institute with satellite TV and language resources in more than 50 languages. But parking can be a nightmare.

* What is the university social life like? I have excellent colleagues with whom I go walking, eat out and so on. A group of us are doing a charity swimathon.

* Best excuse for bad behaviour: Being Italian I can only ask: "What is this 'bad behaviour'?"

* Do you interact with other parts of the university/other departments?

I belong to various committees in my faculty and participate in teaching events. My research falls between several stools and can clash with less dynamic higher education structures (for example, research assessment exercise panels). Food for thought...

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