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Dr Mara Fuertes Gutierrez

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer in Spanish
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Languages and Applied Linguistics
  • Languages
  • mara.fuertes-gutierrez

Professional biography

I have recently joined the Open University as a Lecturer in Spanish and I am currently chairing L194, the Beginners’ Spanish Course. Before joining the Open University, I was a Senior Lecturer in Spanish at Leeds Becket University for a number of years, where I carried out several roles, such as Period Abroad Academic Leader or Course Leader for all the Languages Full-Time Undergraduate Courses. Previously, I held several research fellowships, including a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Manchester funded by the Spanish government, and taught Spanish at several institutions, namely the Instituto Cervantes in Manchester.

Over my career, I have received several prizes, amongst others two Undergraduate Extraordinary Academic Achievement Awards and a PhD Academic Achievement Award. In addition, I have been nominated or shortlisted for several “Achieving Excellence Awards” (granted by Leeds Beckett University) and “Golden Robes” (granted by the Student Union at Leeds Beckett University) including Innovative Teacher of the Year (2010); Course Leader of the Year (2012); Fantastic Feedback (2015); Innovative Tutor (2015); Motivator of the Year (2015); Personal Tutor (2015).

Research interests

  • Language and creativity
  • Academic writing
  • The teaching and learning of foreign languages, particularly in online and distance contexts
  • Open Educational Practices and Resources

In the past, I have also conducted extensive research in the area of Historiography of Linguistics, Linguistic Typology and Sociolinguistics, and have lead or been involved in different research projects, such as The E-Portfolio Toolkit, funded by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (ALPS) or The Pragmatic Change in Spanish, funded by the Spanish Council of Science and Technology. I also collaborated in the CORDE Project, conducted by the Spanish Royal Academy.

I am currently co-supervising a PhD thesis on Pragmatics applied to teaching and learning Spanish as a foreign language and I am regularly invited to PhD Viva in the field of the Teaching and Learning of Foreign Languages. In addition, I frequently collaborate as a reviewer for different Periodicals in the field and I am a member of several Scientific Boards. 

Teaching interests

I have experience in teaching Spanish language and culture, Cross-Cultural Capabilities, Linguistics and various related fields to a wide range of levels in Higher Education; in addition, I have taught Research Methods applied to Modern Languages and collaborated as a guest lecturer on a MA in Materials Development. I am qualified as a DELE Examiner and I am currently participating in the Council of Europe’s Education Department validation workshops of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Mediation descriptors. I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I am a Member of the Research Team entitled Language Teaching – Enseñanza de Lenguas, lead by Dr Carmen Rodríguez Gonzalo (University of Valencia, Spain).


The Language Exchange Programme: plugging the gap in formal learning (2017)
Beaven, Tita; Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara and Motzo, Anna
In: Kan, Qian and Bax, Stephen eds. Beyond the language classroom: researching MOOCS and other innovations ((in print))
Publisher :


Jenny Simpson

Learning from people: the training method bringing service users and social workers together

Jenny Simpson, Head of Social Work (England), as well as students and staff at the OU are involved in an exciting development in relation to social work education. Mend the Gap is a model for the effective involvement of people who are at the receiving end of services, together with those who provide professional support. Read more about Mend the Gap here

18th April 2018
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