When my twelve year old called me a nerd recently, I pointed out that ‘nerd’ pays the bills. And then pointed out that he was an even bigger nerd than I was. And then we laughed, high-fived and went to do our respective homework because that’s how we roll. Clearly, he’s not wrong. And gaming is where he usually points this out to me. The resurgence of Dungeons and Dragons, the fact that Warhammer is now worth over £1 billion, and that tabletop gaming generally…Continue Reading “Choose your own adventures…”

Well, it’s official. Tim Thompson has left the building. And entered another one. 100 metres away. On the same campus. This seemed more dramatic when I started… As some of you may know, the School of Science, Engineering and Design is no more. We’ve had a bit of a restructure here at Teesside, and the School that was once my home has been split into its three component parts and spread across the rest of the Institution. Engineering heads over to the new School of…Continue Reading “Parting is such sweet sorrow…”

Croeso! Which Google Translate reliably informs me means ‘Welcome’ in Welsh. I’m in Cardiff, FYI, so this is not as random as it seems. I’ve spent the last couple of days down here in Wales working with colleagues at the University of South Wales. Last year, Dr Stewart Eyres (Deputy Dean of Computing, Engineering & Science) reached out to the Teaching Excellence Alliance Peer Review College for some support with their work to develop their Foundation Years. Since I was just coming out of my…Continue Reading “Sharing is caring…”

So, I almost knocked over both Emily Thornberry and Floella Benjamin in one day… Forensic science is in a challenging place at the moment. The well-publicised closure of the national Forensic Science Service and the rapid marketisation of forensic provision has left the sector a little winded. Combined with the complexity of contracting out forensic services, the increasing demands associated with ISO accreditation, the budgetary cuts, the fragmentation of research and so on, it is little wonder that the criminal justice system and the public…Continue Reading “House of Lords Science & Technology Committee – Inquiry into Forensic Science”

Now, the problem with being an utter delight, is that people want to talk to you. Like, all the time. In every possible situation. The pressures of being such a joy to be around are great.   Like most people I commute to work. But I don’t drive in, I take the train. I much prefer the train to the car – it’s easier, cheaper and as an anthropologist it gives me considerable opportunity to people-watch. Also, the train is a microcosm of human society…Continue Reading “Planes, trains and automobiles…”

Well, there we go then. #endofanera as I imagine the kids are saying… After three years in the hot seat, I’ve finished my stint as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Science & Justice. When I put my name forward to take over back in 2014, I did so partly because I wanted to see if I was up to the challenge, but mainly because Science & Justice has always been one of my favourite journals. Focused primarily on Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences members, it was…Continue Reading “The King is dead. Long live the King!”

Last night, I was thinking a lot about giving lectures. This is not unusual, but this time it wasn’t the content that interested me, but the mechanics of lecturing. Three things happened over the past two days which brought this to the forefront of my mind. First, I’d come back from a fantastic 2-day leadership development residential; second, I’d just given four hours straight teaching, and; third, I’d just watched Jerry before Seinfeld. The leadership workshop was great. Run by the Leadership Foundation for HE…Continue Reading “Comic Timing…”

It’s been very quiet on campus recently (a little too quiet…), but that was all shattered last week as our new students arrived at Teesside. That’s right, last week was Welcome Week!  It also marked the first Welcome Week where I’ve been actively involved in crafting the week (well, I say ‘actively’ – it’s largely been our fantastic School Registrar Michelle Dickson and her team who have pulled together a workable week…). For me, this week is all about setting the tone for study and…Continue Reading “Every new journey starts with a single step…”

Last night a team from Teesside headed down to the bright lights of the big city for the inaugural Higher Education Academy and Times Higher prize-giving for the Global Teaching Excellence Awards. The awards were devised to allow institutions to demonstrate their continued and innovative commitment to teaching excellence for their students. And unlike awards like the recently announced National Teaching Fellowships, these awards focus on institutional actions rather than the work of specific individuals. Following over 300 expressions of interest, 27 universities were long-listed…Continue Reading “Global Teaching Excellence Awards”

I’ve been spending a bit of time this week working on Science & Justice. We’ve had some interesting new papers come in, there have been some useful reviewers comments to read through, and some decisions to make on manuscripts. Regardless of whether the decision is Accept or Reject, I never take these decisions lightly. I’m an academic myself, and I know what it’s like being on the receiving end of Editors’ decisions. Anyway, this post isn’t about editorial decision-making (as enthralling as that sounds…), but…Continue Reading ““There Are Two Typos Of People In This World: Those Who Can Edit And Those Who Can’t””