National Teaching Fellow 2010
Linking teaching and research lies at the core of John's belief in what higher education should be about. He learnt its potential very early on. As a first year undergraduate at Durham he found himself travelling to dusty archives in Oxford to obtain original data for an essay. During his second summer vacation he supervised on one of his lecturers' research excavations and later helped write up the pottery from that project for publication, learning and becoming part of a research team at the same time. Therefore, when he took up lecturing, active-learning and linking teaching and research were always destined to feature strongly.
John's career has largely developed within the Department of Archaeology at Reading, a top research department where he and his colleagues actively engage students at all levels in their research, especially fieldwork. Having led teaching and learning in the Department for a long time he was thrilled when their collective excellence was recognised in the award of the Queen's Anniversary Prize (2009) for 'making the past work for the future', with the citation specifically recognising: 'Research-based teaching sits at the heart of the distinctive suite of undergraduate and Masters programmes'.
At a time when many universities are defining their missions, John's work through CETL-AURS has focused on the interaction of teaching and research. Using the £2.7 million external funding, he has helped many colleagues develop initiatives specific to their own discipline to enhance the student experience and engagement with research-based learning.
Many students have benefited from Reading's undergraduate research opportunities programme which John established in 2006, providing them the chance to work with researchers over the summer vacation. The Nuffield Foundation, Wellcome Trust, two of the Research Councils and several other universities also fund such schemes and he has worked with them to establish the pedagogic evidence for their efficacy in the UK.