After an initial career in the UK civil service, Ellen joined the University of York in the mid 1990s, to develop professional development programmes for public service professionals.
While in the Civil Service she had first-hand experience of the policy process in various roles as Assistant Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Security and through postings to the Cabinet Office. She also had direct experience of Parliament as a member of the team charged with taking through a major piece of mental health legislation.
At York she is Programme Director for the Department of Social Policy and Social Work’s innovative online programmes for public service professionals, and received a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Award for this work in 2009. Her key interest is in enabling public service practitioners from diverse backgrounds to benefit from academically challenging and relevant professional programmes, and in the contribution that online learning communities and student support mechanisms can make to meeting this objective. She is also interested in organisational learning, and in the contribution that simultaneous work and study, via distance learning, can make to improving individual and organisational effectiveness.
She is currently leading the department’s work for Athena Swan, a national initiative to promote gender equality in higher education.