Tom was appointed Director of unionlearn – the education, learning and skills organisation of the TUC – in July 2009. Prior to that, Tom had been Head of the Organisation and Services Department at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) from July 2003.
Tom was previously head of NATFHE’s Universities Department for five years, having before that been Head of Research and then Assistant General Secretary at the Association of University Teachers from 1988. His other experience includes two years in employment research, with Incomes Data Services (a publishing house specialising in employment publications), and then five years with the GMB (the UK’s fourth largest trade union). Tom was also the National Trade Union Liaison Officer for the Labour Party (1986 – 1988).
Tom has an MA in Industrial Relations from Warwick University (1978-79) and a Diploma in Social Administration from York University. His first degree was in Philosophy from St Andrews University. In 1996 Tom gained a postgraduate Certificate in Employment Law from Middlesex University.
A fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development, the professional institute for management involved in personnel and staff development, Tom has written on unions, education and industrial relations for newspapers, magazines, campaigning organizations and academic publications.
Barbara Fister has coordinated instruction at the Gustavus Adolphus College library in St. Peter, Minnesota, for over 25 years, but is still learning how to help students learn. She has studied students’ research processes, examined the relationship between writing and research, and has taught a course on how information works for students planning to go on to graduate education for nearly ten years.
Another of her interests is the future of publishing. She has written widely on open access to scholarship, is participating in an exploration of publishing open access books through a library collaborative, has used PressBooks to publish an anthology of faculty writing, and is a founding editor of the new Journal of Creative Library Practice. Drawing these two interests together, she is exploring ways the library can support learning experiences that position students as creators of public knowledge.
Popular literacy practices and the role of reading in everyday life is another thread of her work. Currently she is studying online reading communities and has been pleased to participate from afar with the AHRC-funded Digital Reading Network based at Bournemouth University. She also writes fiction, having published three mysteries.
Ray Land is Professor of Higher Education at Durham University and Director of Durham’s Centre for Academic Practice. He previously held similar positions at the Universities of Strathclyde, Coventry and Edinburgh. He has been a higher education consultant for the OECD and the European Commission and has recently been involved in two European Commission higher education projects in Europe and Latin America.
He has published widely in the field of educational research, including works on educational development, learning technology and quality enhancement. He is best known for his theory (with Jan Meyer) of Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge. His latest book (with George Gordon) is Enhancing Quality in Higher Education: International Perspectives (Routledge 2013).