School of Mathematical Sciences

Image of Tom Wicks

Tom Wicks

Associate Professor, Faculty of Science



Tom studied MMath Mathematics at the University of Nottingham 2007-11. He subsequently stayed at Nottingham for to study for a PhD in Applied Mathematics. Having completed his PhD, Tom joined the academic staff in Nottingham's School of Mathematical Sciences as a Teaching Associate in September 2015. He was promoted to Assistant Professor in August 2018 and again to Associate Professor in January 2022.

Tom began his research career in Applied Mathematics, but has transitioned to Mathematics Education having held teaching-focussed academic roles and developing a keen interest in curriculum design and innovative approaches to assessment.

Tom won a Lord Dearing Award for outstanding contribution to teaching and learning in July 2018.

Expertise Summary

Tom has a teaching-focussed role in the school, which involves development and dissemination of innovative, research-informed teaching and assessment practices for Higher Education. He sits on several committees within the School of Mathematical Sciences and Faculty of Science that oversee curriculum development and enhancing the Student Experience.

As Mathematics Curriculum Lead, Tom is conducted a major redesign of Undergraduate Mathematics programmes between Spring 2020 and Summer 2023. He collaborated with students, staff, alumni and employers to embed development and assessment of professional competencies with traditional teaching of mathematical content to ensure the curriculum is relevant and fit-for-purpose. The new programmes launched in September 2023.

Tom is dedicated to educational outreach, frequently engaging in public engagement events, hosting campus visits for primary and secondary schools, and also travelling to schools across the country to promote the study of University mathematics.

Teaching Summary

Head of Year 1 for Undergraduate Mathematics Programmes

Current teaching:

  • MATH1101 Core Mathematics
    • "Mathematical Fundamentals" lecturer
    • Year 1 Workshops Coordinator
    • Core Assessment Coordinator

Past teaching:

  • MATH4045 Mathematics Group Projects, Mixed Stream (Deterministic and Stochastic Modelling) [2022-2023]
  • MATH3024 Communicating Mathematics [2018-2023]
  • Teaching support for 1st Year Core (MATH1005 Analytical and Computational Foundations, MATH1006 Calculus, MATH1007 Linear Mathematics) [2014-2020]
  • 1st Year Core Programming [2017-2020]
  • MMME2032 Professional Engineering and Project 2 [2017-2020]
  • MTHS4001 Mathematical Techniques in Partial Differential Equations for Engineers [2019-20]
  • MTHS1009 Mathematics for Civil Engineering [2017-2019]
  • HG1M11 Engineering Mathematics 1 [2015-2017]
  • HG1M12 Engineering Mathematics 2 [2015-2017]

Research Summary

Tom has an active interest in Mathematics Education, with a focus on the following areas:

  1. Curriculum Design
    • Programme-level design to create a coherent curriculum with clear learning outcomes.
    • Innovative assessment design - Traditionally, mathematics is assessed using high-stakes summative exams. Tom investigates alternative assessment approaches that test both subject knowledge and competence at using mathematical knowledge and skills in a variety of contexts.
    • Role of feedback in assessment - by providing high quality and timely feedback, can assessment be used for learning rather than/as well as of learning?
  2. Access to and participation in Higher Education Mathematics
    • Ongoing project analysing large data sets (National Pupil Database, High Education Statistics Agency data) to determine factors which influence the progression and attainment of mathematics students at various stages of their educational pipeline. We hope to identify blockages and leaks in the pipeline to Higher Education Mathematics for underrepresented groups, which could then be addressed by policy makers.

Recent Publications

Past Research

Tom's past research involved molecular simulation of nucleation of polymers using Monte Carlo methods. In particular, investigating the effect of placing polymers under flow during the nucleation process and how this affects the ease of crystallisation and the arrangement of polymer chains within the resulting crystal.

School of Mathematical Sciences

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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