Carolyn is the course leader of the BA English programme (combined honours: English and Creative Writing, English and Film, English and Magazine Journalism, English and Media, English and Public Relations and English and Screenwriting).
Prior to becoming course leader for English, she led the MA Media programme for seven years. Carolyn works closely with Devon Campbell-Hall (course leader of the single honours English degree) and the rest of the English team to ensure that the course runs smoothly. The University's English courses are consistently in the top ten English degrees in the country for student satisfaction the aim is to continue these successes in the future.
Carolyn's contribution to the teaching provision is as follows:
Carolyn has 19 years' teaching experience in the USA and the UK.
She is a member of the Higher Education Academy and has helped to validate a number of undergraduate and post-graduate degrees, internally at Solent, and externally in Bournemouth, London and Birmingham.
As link tutor and validation panel member for English at the New College of Humanities, London, Carolyn has the opportunity to see how English literature provision is being addressed elsewhere.
Her teaching philosophy is student centred. She wants her students to be interested in the material and finds it incredibly fulfilling when students come alive in seminars and make their own inroads and discoveries into research. She was nominated for a Solent University STAR Teaching Award in 2013, and won the STAR Award in 2015 for Outstanding Feedback.
Carolyn got her big break in industry when Jon Tacey, the managing director of the second most prestigious educational publishing company in the UK was prepared to hire her on a trial basis as his new managing editor and product development manager. Jon recognised the importance of a traditional degree such as English. He knew that graduates of English literature were thinkers and communicators. For example, there were two rounds of tests and interviews for the job; one of the tests was an IQ test. When Carolyn pointed out that the questions were culturally biased, Jon invited her to explain why. Rather than expecting her to follow along in sheep-like agreement, he was impressed by her willingness to ask why. All of her subsequent training in educational publishing started on the day Mr Tacey was prepared to take a chance on her. Carolyn wants her students to see that if she can do it with no previous experience or connections in industry, they can too. Jon Tacey had an eye for detail and he taught Carolyn that the devil really is in the detail. In the current climate, where so many seem to bow before the altar of the reality TV show, (The Apprentice), Carolyn believes that you don’t have to take a kicking or work for someone who puts you down to succeed in an area you feel passionately about.
Carolyn belongs to SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders) and has worked with the creative team at WPP’s The Store to provide editorial and copy services. In turn, they provided insight into exciting global developments that are taking place in retail. In the past two years, the team has launched the following publications (available digitally or in hard copy):
In February 2014 Carolyn was invited to the parliamentary launch of China’s most valuable brands where Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP’s CEO was the keynote speaker. She was accompanied by a public relations student who was writing a dissertation about women in business, who was introduced to a number of the key people involved in the UK’s current initiatives to work with China in a joint business partnership.
Carolyn continues to stay connected to industry and follow the developments that are relevant to English graduates.
Her research passion is linked to representations of widows in eighteenth and nineteenth-century literature. In 2014, she gave a paper at St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford, on the role of the long eighteenth-century widowed writer in the production of Conjugal Fidelity Rewarded, a novel featured in the Chawton House Library collection.
She can talk endlessly about her fascination with the ways in which widows are portrayed in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century plays, poetry and the novel but her interest extends beyond these forms to conduct literature, legal documents, sermons, correspondence and other written forms. In a contemporary context, she is intrigued by the widows who find their way into advertising and commercial products. Lloyds TSB’s construction of the Scottish Widow as their ‘living logo’ is now widely recognised as one of the most successful financial campaigns. The eighteenth-century widow, Madame Clicquot for whom the champagne brand Veuve Clicquot is named, is responsible for encouraging the nobility in Europe to choose champagne as their drink of choice.
The works of literary widows, such as the nineteenth-century Scottish widow, Mrs Margaret Oliphant, disappeared from reading lists until scholars in the mid-1980s began to recognise the significance of her contribution to literature. The death of loved ones was a regular feature of the widow Oliphant’s real life. Despite her hardships, she published over 120 works which included novels, travel writing, biographies, collections of letters and a significant volume of reviews. Mrs Oliphant is also said to have been Queen Victoria’s favourite writer.
Charlotte Despard, who was widowed young, spent several of her later years hanging out with WB Yeats’s muse, Maud Gonne. This earned them the nickname around Dublin: ‘Gone Mad and Mrs Desperate’. Charlotte Despard’s widowhood was the catalyst to her work with the poor in Battersea, her involvement in the suffragette movement and the many publications and public speeches for which she was famous. Despard was easy to recognise by her unusual visual appearance: stunning grey hair covered by a mantilla, which she was never seen in public without.
Carolyn belongs to a few literary organisations: BSECS (the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies), BAVS (British Association for Victorian Studies) and the Women’s History Network.
More recently she has also started to combine her experience in publishing for a primary education market with the historical production of children’s literature. Many widowed writers had a role in the construction and delivery of educational materials for children.
Carolyn is soon to complete her project A Cultural History of Widowhood.
Carolyn was nominated for the STAR Teaching Award in 2013 and in 2015 won the Award (winner in the Outstanding Feedback category, 2015).