Christopher Haycock

The effect of “Culture Shock” on new U.K higher education students and the associated impact on student completion and attainment.

Supervisors: Dr Justin Cruickshank and Professor Simon Pemberton

Applicants to HE are outside the HE professional culture and in general terms their only reference to what it is like to go to university is that which they acquire from their social network and from media and general word of mouth. Society has taken on board the neo-liberal view that a higher education is defined in terms of employability and leads directly to social mobility. This means there are students who now take the utilitarian view that merely taking part in the process of going to University and achieving a degree qualification, (almost irrespective of the class of the degree) will lead to better employment opportunities and therefore social mobility. Going to University is seen as engagement with the process rather than engagement with the learning. Becoming “academic” cannot be stream lined, there is no fast track and requires engagement with the professional culture in order to identify and adopt those behaviours that allow one to develop their own intellect. This gives rise to a common concern in HE that students only engage around their assessments. For many students the mark is the sole objective of HE study.

Using a longitudinal qualitative study to assess attitudes and aspirations around the higher education experience to inform the production od best practice, will enable work to help HE professionals better introduce the opportunities and methods of higher education to students new to UK higher education learning.

Working from a number of sources a check list of best practice will be developed to help HE professionals learn how better to develop students’ engagement with the higher education process, drive up attainment and deliver better outcomes for graduates.


  • BA (Hons) Law and Finance :Sheffield Hallam.
  • MSc Criminal Justice: Portsmouth University
  • MA Forensic Linguistics: Aston
  • PGCE: Canterbury Christchurch
  • PGCert Professional Practice in HE: Coventry University

Research Interests

Critical University studies: Reflecting on the nature of higher education and asking critical questions of the status quo in UK HE. Evaluating HE from the perspective of utility and function, What is Higher Education for, how is it to be differentiated from Further education.

Cultural change: How do cultures develop and how do they change over time. With a particular interest in professional cultures, how these can be defined and importantly how they can be modified.

Pedagogic best practice: What counts as best practice. From an HE perspective what methods work to convey professional norms?


As a part time research student, working full time within H.E. Chris came to academia almost two decades ago after having previous careers as a management consultant and a police officer. Having spent considerable time devising, writing and developing courses at levels 3,4,5,6 and 7 (National Qualifications Framework)  Chris has significant experience of how students have approached the university journey. In addition to his interests in pedagogy and education policy Chris also has interests in the linguistics of Investigative Interviews and the sociological aspects of surveillance.

Chris is a keen motorcyclist and driver holding advanced qualification in both disciplines. Chris enjoys writing fiction and sculptural welding in his spare time.

Teaching responsibilities

Outside Birmingham Chris delivers lecture series on…

  • Investigative interviewing policy and practice (BSc Forensic Investigations)
  • Surveillance Studies (BSc Forensic Investigations)
  • Fraud Investigation  (MSc Fraud Investigation Management)
  • Legal aspects of forensic evidence (BSc Analytical Chemistry and Forensics & BSc Biology and Forensics) 

Guest lectures

  • Disadvantage and Crime
  • Investigative aspect of language

Professional memberships

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • British Association of Applied Linguistics
  • Association of Counter Fraud Specialists
  • Association of Counter Fraud Examiners
  • Member of the Institute for Learning

Conference papers

Plagiarism across Europe and beyond 2017 “Using PEACE to investigate cases of academic misconduct”.  Brno Czech Republic. May 24th to 26th 2017.

Contact details