Professor Roger Dalrymple, DPhil MPhil (Oxon), MA PGCE BA (Hons)
I studied A Levels in English, History and Theatre Studies at Collyer’s from 1997-1999. I gained the vast majority of my professional literacies at Collyer’s – scholarly reading and writing; argumentation and debate; close reading and attention to detail; capacity to listen, reflect and work collaboratively with others. I was particularly inspired by the expert teaching and passion of the members of the English department, and by the opportunities I had to take part in high-quality drama productions.
I then read English at Goldsmiths in London and then I undertook graduate studies at St Peter’s College, Oxford. I lectured for seven years in Oxford after concluding my DPhil and was a fixed-term Tutorial Fellow in English at St Hugh’s Oxford from 2001-4.
I later developed a ‘second bow’ to my academic career by taking on additional responsibilities in learning and teaching, and by studying for a PGCE and MA in Education part-time. Today, I continue to research and publish in English studies, but my professorship is in Education, and I currently hold a Pro Vice-Chancellor role in education.
In terms of making a difference as well as my Oxford posts, my higher education career has involved leading learning and teaching strategy at two modern UK universities where I have been committed to widening participation and supporting inclusive curriculum development. In addition to teaching for 25 years, I have published widely in both education studies and English studies, including monographs, literature reviews and undergraduate textbooks.
Each day invariably begins with the email inbox! There are always plenty of meeting papers to read and varied meetings to attend with a wide range of members of the university community. A typical day always involves quality conversations, things to consider, and ideally some time, however brief in the library, refectory, or gym.
I love my job as it gives me the opportunity to focus constantly on education and the chance to work with words all day – both in speech and writing and to collaborate and co-create with colleagues, students, and the wider university community.
For someone looking to get into a similar role you need a variety of skills such as self-management, organisation, resilience, and the willingness to attend to small details. Academia requires a huge amount of self-management and resilience. It is important to seek out professional development, mentoring and other opportunities proactively.
The advice I would give to a younger me is look for patterns in your experiences and learn from these. Keep a healthy work-life balance. Whether you are studying or working, learn as much as you can about the organisation you are part of, its guidelines, processes, and procedures, so that you can make the most of every opportunity and draw upon all of the available support when needed.
What next Roger? I plan to remain in academia and hope to access more opportunities for research sabbaticals and international exchanges.