Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean (College of Social Sciences and International Studies)

Professor Debra Myhill

Professor Debra Myhill is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the College of Social Sciences and International Studies. She is an alumna of the University of Exeter, having gained a BA in English, PGCE, MPhil and PhD in Education at Exeter. Debra's research interests are in the teaching and research of language and literacy, and she is the Director of the Centre for Research in Writing. She is an internationally-recognised academic in the field of language education.  Her commitment is to the bringing together of teaching, teacher education and research so that children and young people‘s experience of learning to be literate enables them to be confident, articulate citizens of the future, able to use language and literature for personal fulfilment and economic well-being.

Debra believes that being an academic in education is fundamentally about inspiring change and about undertaking teaching and research which makes a difference. Education as a field is naturally outward-looking, seeking to understand and transform the educational experiences of young people. She says: “I hope to inspire those I teach, especially new teachers joining the profession. Becoming a teacher can be a rather bureaucratic process and my goal is to demonstrate to future English teachers that excellence in teaching is far more than simply evidencing a set of criteria: it is about being confident, critical and reflective so that professional learning never stops.

“If I can inspire new teachers, then hopefully they, in turn, can inspire young people to love the texts and language of English, and to understand themselves and their world better. Secondly, my motivation for researching writing is to inspire change, the kind of change that will transform pedagogies and enable all young people, regardless of their social background, to be confident, creative writers.”

Debra was a member of the Education sub-Panel for the Research Excellence Framework and is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the English Association, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to Social Sciences.