Mike Cooper

Country: United Kingdom, United States of America
Sector: Other Industries
Job title: Retired
Subject of study: English and Drama
Year of graduation: 1975
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name


What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

Mainly education: comprehensive school teaching, lecturer and Head of department in FE colleges, then Regional Director for a national education R&D agency. Following that, free-lance consultancy work nationwide in post-14 educational policy and practice, 2006-2020. Having retired, I am currently pursuing a long-planned aim to do postgraduate research — and, at Exeter again (an MbyRes in English, started in Sept. 2019).

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

It mattered, even when it was very difficult and frustrating for all sorts of reasons. I particularly enjoyed teaching adults when they were returning to learning later in life.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

‘Cinsoc’ (the Cinema Society – in other words, the film club); Overseas Students’ Society.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

Variety, challenge, excitement and people.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

Independence, challenge, excitement and people.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I applied to UCCA (!) from the US; had briefly visited the city a year before that, but not the uni. The information back then was attractive in all respects for someone in my (unusual) position.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Soft, ‘people’ skills. Practical ‘production’ skills, coordinating people, groups, organisations and materials for a desired final effect and impact.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

I probably wouldn’t, in any direct terms, since things are so very different now in all sorts of aspects of education. More generally, I suppose I’d say “Find something that you think you will enjoy — and might continue to enjoy, for itself, even when the context gets awkward or different or difficult.”

What are your plans for the future?

An active, healthy, stimulating retirement, with some ‘giving back’ (including as an Exeter alumnus).


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