As a university teacher, Robin attempts, through the interactive nature of the teaching event, to engender in each student the sense that the learning relationship is more one-to-one than one-to-many, even when there are several hundred students in a lecture theatre.
A main focus of his design of teaching and learning is on enhancing students' capacities to demonstrate their intuitive understanding even when material becomes quite mathematical or technical. He aims to achieve this through a combination of lectures, small group teaching, demonstration workshops, online mini-videos for asynchronous delivery and follow-up summaries of lectures posted online. He takes great pleasure in former students telling him that their early experience of taking his first year undergraduate module contributed to their decision to pursue a professional career involving economics.
As a first-generation university entrant, Robin has a strong commitment to the opening up of higher education at Warwick and across the sector, to all individuals regardless of background or other personal characteristics. Robin’s research agenda for much of his career has focused on student performance and progression across the student lifecycle. His early contributions to the literature focused on prior schooling and social class, but currently is focussing on the BAME awarding gap in his role with the Warwick Race Equality Taskforce. One of the key research findings of his earlier work (co-authored with colleague Jeremy Smith) established that state-educated students tend to do better at university, all other things being equal. This helped promote the adoption of contextualised admissions policies across the sector and hence the admission to university of students who might not have been admitted otherwise.
As director of teaching and learning in his department, Robin has always been keen to develop joint initiatives with student groups and forums such as the student staff liaison committee. One of their joint achievements was the introduction of development review meetings through which students are supported in developing their own self-reflections, tracing their acquisition and enhancement of sets of skills through their degree course. Robin is a member of the management board of the Economics Network and has served as deputy secretary general of the Royal Economic Society, in which he has promoted support for teaching and learning within the discipline across the sector. As a joint author of ‘CORE: The Economy’ - the innovative new undergraduate curriculum - Robin has contributed to this creative commons project to flip the pedagogy in economics towards a primary focus on real-world issues, in which models are servants rather than the masters in the teaching of the discipline.