Elaine Hawkins, programme director of Higher Education Introductory Studies

To commemorate the College’s bicentenary in 2023, we’re showcasing 200 ‘Birkbeck Effects’ which capture the incredible stories of our vibrant and diverse community, highlighting their achievements and impact on the world. 

Elaine Hawkins

Elaine Hawkins was Programme Director of Birkbeck’s Certificate in Higher Education Introductory Studies from 2003-2012, which helps to get people back into studying who might lack the required entry qualifications or who need a course to help them prepare for degree-level study.

In addition to pathways in the arts, humanities and social sciences, Elaine developed new modules in nursing and business and established agreements with degree programmes across Birkbeck to enable students to progress within the College to continue with evening study.

Thanks to her drive and enthusiasm, the programme grew from around 30 students in 2003 to over 450, running in eight different centres across London. Some classes were delivered in Sure Start centres which tapped into the aspirations of women in hard-to-reach communities and this initiative won the Times Higher Education award for Widening Participation in 2008.


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