Robert Smith

Head of CELE / Director of the Preliminary Year

Centre for English Language Education
Staff Profile Portrait Image



Trent Building 340


University of Nottingham Ningbo China


199 Taikang East Road, Ningbo, 315100, China


+86 (0)574 8818 0023


MSc TESOL, Stirling, Scotland 

BA (Hons) Film & Media Studies, Stirling, Scotland 


I have been teaching English in China since 2003 - I previously worked at universities in Suzhou and Zhuhai near Macau before moving to UNNC in 2006 as a Course Tutor in English for Academic Purposes (EAP). I think part of my longevity with the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) is that I have been fortunate to have worked in most of the key areas of the department, helping my experience in teaching and management grow in tandem with CELE and the University. In October 2018, I was successful in my application to become Head of CELE after previously being Deputy Head and Director of the Preliminary Year. CELE have close to 120 staff now in EAP, Academic Content teaching and the CELE Professional Services Office. I believe that I have helped put in a very strong management team and opened new opportunities for staff development, and I am very encouraged by positive feedback from staff and from tutors returning to CELE to work with us again.

I continue to teach classes in EAP and am very active in promoting and developing areas that I have been heavily involved with in the past such as Preliminary Year assessment (I was the CELE Exams Officer for 7 years), In-sessional English Language and Study Skills support through the Academic Literacy Development Centre and Digital Learning. I set up the CELE Online Materials Development team in 2016 to give students wider access to online learning resources. Digital content can help enrich modules, offers greater scope for skills development and flexible learning, will provide a foundation of pre-arrival and bridging activities to help students make the transition to UNNC study as well as the move between years here at UNNC.

I was also the university’s first Campus Senior Tutor for three years and Chair of the UNNC Senior Tutor Network (STN), a panel of all of the School/Divisional Senior Tutors at the University of Nottingham who coordinate the pastoral care support for students. 




Reading and Writing in Academic Contexts

Oral Communication Skills

English in Specific Academic Contexts: Science and Engineering

Research interests

My particular field of interest and academic research is Computer Assisted Language Learning, which was a key component of my MSc in TESOL at the University of Stirling in Scotland and I am currently developing ideas to help provide students with more comprehensive and quicker feedback using electronic resources. I launched CELE Online Materials Development to provide high quality and meaningful resources to add to the student development and experience. I am also interested in Film Theory from my BA in Film and Media and have module development and lecturing experience in ‘British Film and Contemporary Society’.