Image of Willy Kitchen

Willy Kitchen, LLB, MA, PhD

Head of Department for Lifelong Learning


Willy first taught for the Department as a part-time Archaeology tutor in 1997, whilst he was studying for his PhD at the University of Sheffield. He started work as Programme Co-ordinator for the part-time Foundation Programme in 2002, a programme which he directed through to 2014. He played a leading role in the institutional review of Foundation Year provision in 2013, leading to the introduction of the suite of full and part-time degrees with Foundation Years which now form the core of DLL’s work.

Willy was appointed Deputy Director of DLL in September 2014 and Head of the Department in October 2015.


Willy has taught many different subjects for DLL over the past twenty years. He first taught a range of Archaeology modules on the BSc Natural and Human Environments, before focussing his teaching increasingly within the Foundation Programme. Over time he has developed a range of core study skills, project and inquiry-based learning modules, many with a strong interdisciplinary flavour.

Along the way, Willy has turned his hand to subject areas as diverse as the archaeology of death, burial and ritual, contract law, bricks and local Sheffield history, and trigonometry. He received a Senate Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching from the University in July 2008.

Institutional roles

Willy is DLL’s Director of Learning and Teaching, Chair (in rotation) of the University’s Extra-Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee, a member of the University’s Student Support Committee, Learning and Teaching Committee, and of Senate. He is co-convenor of the University’s Widening Participation Special Interest Group, a long-standing member of the Access Agreement Monitoring Group, and of the Maths and Statistics Help (MASH) Steering Group.

Research interests and external roles

Willy is particularly interested in the support and development of mature learners studying at Foundation Level within an HE context. He is also a firm believer in the value of teaching-led research, with the theme of inequality across the Sheffield City Region being a growing interest. He takes every opportunity to explore this and related themes with foundation year students taking DLL’s Introduction to Social Sciences module.

Willy has been an active member of the Foundation Year Network since its inception in 2007 and is currently Chair of this flourishing practitioner network. He is also an executive committee member of the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL), becoming Treasurer of UALL in November 2017.

Willy is a regular contributor to conferences and seminars exploring the learning and teaching experiences of mature, part-time and foundation year learners.