Jackie Carter is Professor of Statistical Literacy at The University of Manchester. Jackie uses her atypical career trajectory, and experience in different sectors, to show how academic careers be can be gained and enhanced.
At the heart of Jackie’s practice is her drive to challenge educational inequalities, and to enable social mobility. Jackie was a first-generation university student, one of six children and a product of the comprehensive system, gaining her PhD in her 30s. Jackie has taught maths in high schools, worked in professional services at university, then became an academic in her 50s. Being awarded the first Chair in Teaching and Scholarship in her faculty was a very proud moment.
A major accomplishment is the living-wage paid work-placement programme Jackie has developed. 250 social science and humanities undergraduates have benefited from this in just six years. Each undertakes a two-month long summer internship in a host organisation, ranging from local government, charities, think tanks, national government departments, data/polling consultancies, media organisations (BBC, The Times), to the World Bank. The projects they undertake reflect real-world, data-driven, analytical research that matters to the host.
Jackie works resolutely to bring numbers to life, inspiring schoolchildren to university students with real-world empirical social research. Her book, ‘Work Placements, Internships and Applied Research’, reflects students’ experiences of doing applied social research through these prestigious work placements.
Ambitious to extend beyond the UK, Jackie is taking the experiential learning programme to Latin America to support the delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Her EmpoderaData project explored data capacity in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, and is now focusing on developing this in Colombia. Jackie will also introduce ‘immersion activities’ in Social Policy and Business degrees in Sao Paolo. The aim – to develop data skills training to support data and statistical capacity in Latin America.
Jackie passionately believes that we learn skills through practising them, and that applied social research can be undertaken by undergraduates, given the chance. As an undergraduate, Jackie read Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Today she is empowering her own students to become critical data consumers and well-informed citizens.