Ben Knights, 56
LTSN English Subject Centre
University of London
Job advertised in The THES , February 26 2003
Since August, Ben Knights has been commuting weekly from the Northeast to London, where he works as director of the English subject centre, one of 24 centres founded in 2000 to raise the status of teaching.
Knights says: "The job is exciting because it draws together two strands of my career - research in English and teaching. I have worked for many years in adult education and with education developers on improving English teaching."
The decision to advertise nationally for a full-time director was unusual, says Judy Simmons, pro vice-chancellor of De Montfort University and an advisory board member. She says: "We wanted to throw the position open to attract someone with a national profile in English. We believe this strengthens the centre's credibility and commands academics' respect."
Knights got the job because, Simmons says, "he is a national teaching fellow, has a strong research profile, is involved in our professional association and has done some extremely innovative work."
The centre is part of the Learning and Teaching Support Network and funding ends in 2005, when it will become part of the new Higher Education Academy.
It operates a split site, with four people working from Royal Holloway and two from King's College, London.
Knights is on secondment from the University of Teesside, and his wife lectures at Durham University - hence the commute.
Knights has been contacting English departments to build a national network. He works closely with the Council for College and University English, which co-sponsors the centre. He has also been working on a book.