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BA (Durham), PGCert (Durham), MA (Open), PhD (Bristol).

Karen holds an MA in Education from the Open University, and a doctorate in education from the University of Bristol. Her doctoral research related to forms of knowledge in higher level work-based learning programmes. 

Karen joined what is now the Warrington campus of the University in 1993, first as Cert Ed programme leader, then Head of Department of Professional and Education Studies (including Access to HE) before becoming Director of their University of Manchester undergraduate modular programmes.

Since joining Chester College in 2002, Karen has held posts as Director of Widening Access; Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching; Associate Dean of Academic Quality and Enhancement; and, since 2012, Dean of Academic Quality and Enhancement, encompassing both Academic Quality Support Services and the Learning and Teaching Institute, including Study Skills.  She has a long-standing commitment to widening participation and flexible learning, and has responsibility for oversight of the University’s Access Agreement. 

Other responsibilities include chairing and active membership of a wide range of internal groups and panels, with a sustained interest in institutional strategy and continuous working towards enhancement of the curriculum, learning, experience and outcomes of all the University’s diverse students.

Karen is a QAA reviewer and has held several external examining posts, including Chief External Examiner at Oxford Brookes University. She has also held external adviser appointments on standing approval and periodic review panels at several other universities.

Karen is a team coordinator for the European Universities Association Institutional Evaluation Programme, and has undertaken and reported on evaluations of institutions in Romania, Turkey, Ireland, Latvia and the Czech Republic.