Duncan’s original discipline is archaeology, having studied for his BA at the University of Birmingham and MA and PhD at Durham University. Following a period of researching and teaching late prehistoric Britain - during which he spent a lot of his time climbing up and down Welsh Marches' hillforts - he embarked upon a PGCE at Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds, and taught secondary history for two years in Doncaster (every year group from 11 to 18 years of age).
In 2003, he moved into an educational development-orientated role at the University of Sheffield, where he was responsible for developing the institution’s first Higher Education Academy (as was then) accredited postgraduate certificate in learning and teaching.
Since 2009, Duncan has been the Head of Academic Practice at the University of York. His team is responsible for overseeing, developing and delivering various Advance HE accredited programmes, as well as supporting learning and teaching development, enhancement and recognition more generally across the institution, including the university-wide Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Network. Duncan holds HEA Senior Fellowship and he has been an Advance HE accreditor for the Professional Standards Framework since 2012, and an Advance HE consultant since 2015.