Alison gained a Physics degree and Materials Engineering PhD at Imperial College. Her early career was with Tube Investments before returning to Higher Education. She has held academic posts at Brunel University, Coventry University, the Open University and the University of Wolverhampton, before joining Aston University as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching Innovation in 2007.
At Aston she created a new Centre for Learning, Innovation and Professional Practice, bringing together widening participation, learner development, learning technologies, peer mentoring, pedagogical research and the academic leadership of the postgraduate certificate for professional practice. Alison developed and implemented the 2008-2012 Learning and Teaching Strategy, ‘Creating an Inspirational Learning Community’, championing promotion routes for outstanding teachers and external grants and awards for learning and teaching. In her role as Head of Quality and Standards, she oversaw the successful institutional quality audit.
Passionate about raising young people’s interest and aspiration to study science and engineering, Alison has led the development of the Aston University Engineering Academy, one of the first University-led Technical Colleges for 14–19 year olds in the UK. For the last year of the School’s development Alison relinquished her learning and teaching portfolio and supported the national creation of University Technical Colleges as the Director for University Partnerships, at the Baker Dearing Educational Trust. In September 2012 the Aston University Engineering Academy opened, Alison became the Chair of the first Governing Body and returned full-time to the University as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Academic Developments, currently working in Vietnam, Hong Kong and the UK.
Alison is interested in the implementation of technology to enhance learning and the development of mentoring, volunteering and work-based and employer-led professional qualifications. Her publications include course text books, learning materials and video productions with the Open University, journal and conference publications as well as an extensive number of national and international keynotes. In 2005 Alison was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for her academic leadership and innovative curriculum development and recently became one of the first Principal Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. In 2011 she chaired a parliamentary Skills Commission Inquiry into Higher Level Technical Skills and in 2012 City and Guilds awarded her an Honorary Fellowship for her national work on Apprenticeships, University Technical Colleges and High Level Technical Skills.
She is a Board member of the OCNWMR exam board, EU Skills the utilities sector skills council, The Children’s University, the University Vocational Awards Council, UVAC and Complect.