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Branch Exec Photos and Biographies Ordinary members

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Eric Bowers, AL

Eric Bowers

Eric was appointed to the University in January 1971 as a Staff Tutor, Science (Wales) and remained in the post until retirement in September 2004. In every year up to the present he has tutored a course. He was AUT regional rep for some 25 years and became a Regional UCU AL rep on retirement. Eric has sat on many different University Committees and Boards over the years, including Student Progress Committee, Research Committee, Higher Degrees Committee, Tutorial Board, Teaching and Counselling committees, Assessment Policy Committee, Science Faculty Board and Committee. He was Inter Faculty Staff Tutor Chair for some years during the 1990's. During his time as Staff Tutor he carried out research in a biological subject and contributed as an author to Biological Sciences courses.




Richard Bradbury, AL


Information and photo of Richard to be added shortly.





Gill Clough

Gill CloughGill began studying part-time for an MA in Open and Distance Education with the OU in 2001 whilst working in the computer software industry. She then moved to the OU to study full-time for her PhD in Educational Technology. Since completing the PhD, she has worked on fixed-term research contracts in the Institute of Educational Technology (IET) at the OU. Her union involvement arose out of a desire to give a voice to the contract researchers working at the OU whose needs can be overlooked due to the transient nature of their employment. Her experience of academic research together with her contacts with both central academics and contract researchers offer insights into issues that arise for members working in this area.





Bruce Heil, AL

Bruce Heil Bruce joined the OU in 1981 and joined UCU at the same time. Before that he worked in the Further Education sector and was involved with the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) as their Branch Secretary. He was also on the Further Education Executive for a time.






John James, AL

John James

John James is the AL rep for the South East region (R13). He’s been an AL since 1992. He currently teaches history and social sciences. He joined his first trade union in 1968 and has played an active part (local and national) ever since. He is a vociferous left winger committed to winning better pay and conditions for the members. He thinks everyone who wants to should go to University – and for free! He's also been a researcher at Bradford, Leeds and Sussex Universities.




David Knowles, AL


David KnowlesDavid joined the OU in 1971 as a summer school tutor on M100, and became a part-time tutor on M100 and M202, leaving in October 1975 when he was posted to the USA for three years by IBM. Twenty five years later David rejoined the OU as an AL and has been tutoring maths and computing courses since then. He joined the union in 2002 when the new contract was introduced, and became active in the union in 2005 when ALs were partially assimilated to the framework agreement, becoming Treasurer in November 2005. David served as Hon Treasurer for 7 years and is currently one of our Vice Presidents. Apart from OU work, David is a professional translator from Russian to English and a keen choral singer.




Isabella Muzio, AL

Isabella Muzio

Information and photo of Isabella to be added shortly.




John Peters, AL


John Peters
John joined AUT in 1964; before joining the OU in 1970, he was a lecturer at Manchester University. He has been a member of OUAUT executive from 1973 until 2004, and then after a year rejoined the Exec as an Associate Lecturer and retired member. John was Hon Secretary and then Hon Treasurer from 1977 until 2001.




Eric Wade


Eric WadeEric is an Honorary Visiting Senior Research Fellow based in the North Region from 2004 to present, specialising in Mining History. Prior to that he was a Staff-Tutor & Senior Lecturer in Social Science based in the North Region 1970-2004. Eric has played a very active role in the Union, he was President of the OU AUT branch from 1985-2000, a National Executive member from 1991-1998 and an Executive member OUAUT & OUBUCU 1983 to present. Eric was awarded an Honorary M. Univ for services to the University & Staff in 2005.




Gill Watt


Gill WattGill was co-opted at the Exec meeting on 12 March 2015. Gill Watt is currently the Assistant Quality and Partnerships Manager (Validations) in the Centre for Inclusion and Collaborative Partnerships. Gill joined the OU in August 2014. She has had a long history of working within the Trade Union movement having held executive posts (including branch secretary) at the University of Birmingham and Oxford Health Service branches of ASTMS before giving up research work. More recently she was a general executive member of the University of Essex UCU branch, representing Academic-Related Staff in particular. She has experience of negotiation and case work.

Trade Unionism has figured large in Gill’s life. Her father was a full-time Trade Union Official and she met her husband on a branch reps training course! She is particularly interested in equality issues and dealing with workplace issues such as bullying.




Chris Williams


Chris Williams
Chris was co-opted at the Exec meeting in December 2015. Chris is currently a Senior Lecturer in History, in a school within the merged Arts and Social Sciences Faculties. In addition to this, he works as an Arts Media Fellow for the Open Media Unit. He has worked at the OU since 1999, including some years as an Associate Lecturer. He has contributed to modules and research in Arts, Faculty of Business and Law, Social Sciences and Openings. Previous to this he was active in several student unions and the National Postgraduate Committee. Prior to joining the Exec Committee his main contribution to the UCU was turning up early on picket lines!