Dr Peter Coxhead: Brief Academic Biography

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Academic History

Cambridge  I began university intending to become a school teacher. A First in Natural Sciences at Selwyn College, Cambridge in 1970 was followed by a PGCE in 1971. I was then lucky to obtain one of the rare studentships valid for a PhD in Education (the Ribband's Research Studentship at Wolfson College), and obtained a doctorate in science education in 1974, supervised by Richard Whitfield (who later became a Professor at Aston University). I carried on as a Research Assistant in the Department of Education for a year.

Open University  When finally forced to leave Cambridge, I moved to become a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Educational Studies at the Open University. There I worked for John Bynner on the secondary analysis of data on smoking and alcohol use by schoolchildren. I was also a member of a team which produced an OU course on social science statistics (DE304); I wrote and edited a range of teaching material in this area (for E341 as well as DE304).

Aston Education  In 1977 I joined the Department of Educational Enquiry at Aston as a lecturer in Educational Research Methods and Statistics. My research interests were primarily in multivariate statistical analysis and its applications to education. A particular application was the Second International Science Survey conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement; I was the National Coordinator for England and Wales until 1983.

My teaching was mainly in the area of research methods and statistics for the social sciences. Administrative tasks included MSc(Educational Studies) Programme Tutor.

Aston Computer Science  When the Department of Educational Enquiry was closed in 1983, I transferred to Computer Science, beginning by obtaining an MSc in Computer Science (Software Engineering) from Birmingham University. My academic interests were then mainly in AI (including Lisp and Prolog programming and Natural Language Processing) and Software Engineering.

I taught a range of modules, including introductory software engineering, introductory AI, statistical computing, AI programming languages (Lisp, Prolog) and natural language processing. Administrative tasks included MSc(IT) Programme Tutor, BSc Computing Science Final Year Tutor and European Exchanges Coordinator.

Birmingham  In February 2000, I moved to the University of Birmingham, to take up the post of Senior Lecturer/Academic Manager in the School of Computer Science.

After the School had created the post of Academic Manager, the University caught up by creating the titles 'Director of Learning & Teaching' and 'Head of Academic Programmes', which together amounted to roughly the same post.

I retired from this post on 30 September 2008.

For the period 1 November 2008 to 31 January 2009, I was employed on a short term contract by the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, partly to work on preparation for the University's QAA Institutional Audit.

» Publications

Former Research Students

Frank Godleman
1980 MPhil
The Effect of Television Image Degradation on Learning

Steven J Warburton
1981 PhD
The Effects of Different Ages of Transfer between Pre-Secondary and Secondary Schools on the Nature and Effectiveness of the Science Provision for Children aged 10-14
Joint with Dr W L Jenkins, Wolverhampton Polytechnic
David Dibbs
1982 PhD
An Investigation into the Nature and Consequences of Teachers’ Implicit Philosophies of Science

Rajinder M Gupta
1983 PhD
The Assessment of the Learning Efficiency of Asian Children

Afra T J Al-Saud
1985 MPhil
Sex Differences in Attitude towards Mathematics – an Investigation in Iraqi Secondary Schools

Mohammed A Ashiurakis
1987 PhD
The Influence of the Socio-Educational Reading Environment in an Arab University upon English Reading Performance
Joint with T Bloor
Simon A S Beesley
1988 PhD

Brian Drabble
1988 PhD
Intelligent Execution Monitoring and Error Analysis in Planning involving Processes

Hugh Dorans
1988 PhD
METEX: An Expert System for Metamorphic Petrography
Joint with Prof. D D Hawkes
Irene Woon
1989 PhD
Applying Qualitative Reasoning to Finance

Hyacinth S Nwana
1989 PhD
An Iterative-Style Approach to Constructing Intelligent Tutoring Systems in Mathematics

Robert C Thompson
1991 PhD
Petrographic Image Analysis and Understanding
Primary supervisor Dr Ela Claridge; took over from her for one year after she left Aston University
David Rann
1996 PhD
The Effective Use of Implicit Parallelism through the Use of an Object-Oriented Programming Language