Rachel

Senior Lecturer - Mathematics

Personal statement

I have taught mathematics to engineering undergraduates for over 20 years. I worked at Oxford Brookes University until July 2018, where I had attained the position of Principal Lecturer for the Mathematical Sciences, with primary responsibility for the organisation and management of all mathematics and statistics provision across the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics. I then took a one-year, fixed-term teaching position at the University of the West of England as a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics before joining The Dyson Institute in 2019.

My teaching has encompassed a wide range of courses, from service courses for students of subjects requiring an understanding of the applications of mathematics, to advanced courses for specialist mathematics students, and Masters level courses in Data Analytics. I have delivered learning opportunities using a variety of methods from traditional lectures through to flipped style classes, inquiry-based learning and small group tutorials, coupled with extensive use of online materials and tools tailored to suit the needs of the cohort. I particularly enjoy finding ways to make my subject accessible (and hopefully enjoyable) for my students. Class sizes have varied between lectures for 250 students to individual supervision sessions. I have also supervised undergraduate and postgraduate research.

I was awarded a Brookes Teaching Excellence Fellowship in 2015 in recognition of my influence and inspiration in learning and teaching, underpinned by a scholarly and reflective approach to practice. I have delivered an invited workshop presentation on the subject of innovative approaches to teaching, assessment and feedback for the Higher Education Academy (HEA), and subsequently acted as a primary reviewer for the HEA’s National Teaching Fellowship Scheme from 2014 to 2017.

Prior to my academic career, I had worked in the IT sector as a database performance analyst and systems programmer.

I head up the mathematics provision at The Dyson Institute, and I’m responsible for the software stream in the 3rd and 4th years of study.

 

Why you chose to come to The Dyson Institute

As the first academic to be appointed to The Dyson Institute, I was attracted by the opportunity to start from scratch, to really think about what we should offer to our students, from the policies and procedures that support our academic programmes through to novel approaches to the assessment and delivery of taught content.

The degree programme at The Dyson Institute can be truly tailored to suit the needs of our Undergraduate Engineers, and the size of the Dyson Institute means that we can be far more flexible in our delivery that I’ve been used to! We benefit from having excellent teaching spaces that are not used by other students, and by timetables that do not have to work around other courses, together with access to some of the latest research developments from the wider Dyson team.

I strongly believe that the degree apprenticeship programme offered by The Dyson Institute offers students the best of both worlds – a high quality degree taught by experienced, passionate lecturers, with the opportunity to immediately apply what they’ve learnt via their workplace rotations. By offering both sides of the programme “under one roof”, the theory and practice can be closely related in a way that wouldn’t be possible from a collaboration between an employer and a traditional university.

 

Academic qualifications & professional memberships 

My PhD is in the area of computational number theory and was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. I was jointly supervised by Prof. Catherine Hobbs at Oxford Brookes University and Prof. Roger Heath-Brown at the University of Oxford. My thesis was entitled “The Algorithmic Solution of Simultaneous Diophantine Equations” and presented a novel approach to determining rational points on elliptic curves.

I am a chartered mathematician and a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.

 

Personal interests 

I’m a very keen baker and cake decorator. Accolades include winning the inaugural Dyson Institute staff bake-off. I relax by watching stage musicals, very loud bands and my collection of maths movies (a few of which are actually quite good).