Interview with Jackie Carter (2023)

Table of Contents
CV Appointments References

Jackie Carter is professor of statistical literacy at the University of Manchester, co-director of the Manchester Q-Step Centre for social sciences training and director for engagement with research methods training. She previously taught maths in secondary school,before undertaking a PhD in geostatistics as a mature student. She developed a living-wage paid work-placement scheme, which has placed hundreds of social sciences and humanities undergraduates in summer internships where theydo data-driven, analytical research.

Where and when were you born?
I was born in Leeds in 1960.

How has this shaped who you are?
I was born into a very working-class family in suburban Leeds; my dad was a tailor’s cutter, my mum was a full-time mum. She became a dinner lady when I was 10 or something. That has shaped how I am now because it grounded me; it’s given me the values that I still use. We all had to go out to work when we were old enough to work, soI had a Saturday job from when I was 14. I was brought up in a family that respected work and [was taught] to look after each other in a way that was about looking after each other in society.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to speak up sooner and be the voice in the room that you want to hear. I tell my students that now. It took me a long time to have the confidence and the courage to be that voice. I’m now that voice for women in tech and data industries, as well as for disabled people because I have disabilities myself. But it wasn’t until I was in my fifties and sixties that I was confident enough to be that voice.

Tell us about someone in your life who has had an influence on you.
My eldest son – Huw – was diagnosed in 2019 with an incurable brain tumour. He is the strongest, most positive person I know. I think that’s why I can’t name anyone else...I can’t look up to people who were born into privilege. I struggle to name people because I know so few who have made it to where they are now without struggling.

What has changed most in higher education in the last 5-10 years?
The challengesfor academic staff have changed, and they are immense. I’ve worked in academia for 26 years, but I’ve not always been an academic–I’ve seen the change in workloads for academics go through the roof. The pressure on academics now to publish, to bring in grants, to teach more, to mentor, to do all of the emotional work around being in an academic setting has increased the skill set of an academic and[universities have]become a much more difficult place to work in – the pressures are immense.

What are the best and worst things about your job?
Best: I get to make a difference in young people’s lives and open doors that they never knew existed. And I do that because I lump together all of my previous experience in building those bridges between the academic and the workplace. Worst: probably having so many things to do, having so many plates to spin and fitting that into a working week. Because I have disabilities, continuing to function at the level I previously functioned at without disabilities is very challenging.

If you were the universities minister for a day, what policy would you immediately introduce to the sector?
I would put far more emphasis across all universitieson the need to have a well-planned experiential learning programme. I think the ones who gain the most out of university are the ones whotake upextracurricular activities alongside their academic activities.

What is the biggest misconception about your field of study?

The biggest misconception is that to get into the data or tech field you have to have a STEM background. It’s a myth. Everything I do is to show that arts and humanities students are brilliantly creative, that they are great at reading huge volumes of literature and then thinking theoretically and practically. If we give them opportunities[they can] put those into practice in the talent pipeline that the industry is missing.

What would you like to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for being the person in my students’ lives that I wish I had had in my life when I was their age.

You’ve won awards such as theOne in Twenty Women in Data and Technology award and the FDM Everywoman in Technology Academic Award. How much does that mean to you?
Quite a lot. Because I’m a late bloomer, a lot of my work has flown under the radar because it doesn’t fit into typical academic structures. I have been a bit of a maverick and ploughed my own furrow. I’ve done that for the lastseven years and all of a sudden industry and academia are paying attention to it, so it means a lot that there is a spotlight on what I’m doing and what I believe in. The awards in and of themselves are personally satisfying, but the biggest achievement for me is that the students going through this programme are having opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have.


1979-83BSc in mathematicswith its application, University of Sussex

1983-84PGCE, University of Swansea

1984-88Secondary school mathematics teacher

1991-92MSc in computer science, University of Cardiff

1993-96PhD in computer science, University of Leeds

1997-2013Professional services national role in development of educational and data services for higher education teaching and research, University ofManchester

2013 Director for University of Manchester Q-Step Centre

2020AdvanceHE NationalTeachingFellow for recognition of Data Fellows programme

2020One in Twenty Women in Data and Technology award winner (academic category)

2021Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

2021 Member of UKRI ESRCStrategicAdvisoryGroup

2022Member of UKRI ESRC Closer expert group

2023Winner of FDM Everywoman in Technology Academic Award


Elwen Evans has been appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Wales and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), succeeding Medwin Hughes, who will retire in September. Currently pro vice-chancellor and executive dean for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Swansea University, Professor Evans was previously a practising barrister who specialised in criminal law.

Chris Moran has been named as the next vice-chancellor and chief executive officer at the University of New England, replacing Simon Evans, who has led the university on an interim basis since August 2022. An environmentalist and water scientist, Professor Moran was director of the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland until moving to Curtin University in 2016 to become its deputy vice-chancellor, research.

David Lloyd, vice-chancellor of the University of South Australia, has been selected to serve as the next chair of Universities Australia, replacing La Trobe University vice-chancellor John Dewar.

Philippa Pickford is to become the new director of regulation for the English higher education regulator, the Office for Students. She joins from Ofgem, where she is director, delivery and schemes.

Emma Flynn will be the University of Warwick’s next provost in August. She moves from her current role of pro vice-chancellor (research and enterprise) at Queen’s University Belfast.

Nathan Ament has been appointed vice-president for enrolment and dean of admission at Knox College. He is currently vice-president of enrolment management at Loyola University New Orleans.

Lisa Quinn will be the next executive director of the McGill-Queen’s University Press, beginning in July. She has served as director of the Wilfrid Laurier University Press since 2016.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Last Updated: 23/06/2023

Views: 6525

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Birthday: 2000-07-07

Address: 5050 Breitenberg Knoll, New Robert, MI 45409

Phone: +2556892639372

Job: Investor Mining Engineer

Hobby: Sketching, Cosplaying, Glassblowing, Genealogy, Crocheting, Archery, Skateboarding

Introduction: My name is The Hon. Margery Christiansen, I am a bright, adorable, precious, inexpensive, gorgeous, comfortable, happy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.