President of language testing specialists Lidget
Green Inc., Dr Gary Buck, passed 4 A levels at
Bradford College to gain a place at Oxford in 1979.
“I was brought up during the 1960’s, when any
cool young man would drop out of school, become
a hippy, travel to India, and all that. Which I
did. But then in my thirties, I decided to go to
university, and I needed A levels. I was a mature
world traveller, well-read in literature, oriental philosophy, and broadly knowledgeable in a number of other fields, so Politics, Economics and General Studies at Bradford College didn’t seem likely to offer much of interest. How wrong I was!
The teaching staff were outstanding. We
studied how power functions in our society, how
economic benefits are distributed within society,
and what mechanisms society uses to bolster
and justify that. We read the competing ideas of
academics, commentators, and political writers,
and I was led to examine all my ideas about our
society, and how it works, as I realized that just
about everything I had been taught about it was
wrong. The sophisticated ideas I encountered
have stayed with me for the rest of my life, but
they are not the most important thing I gotfrom
Since then I have gone on to complete a PhD, studied at prestigious universities, worked for internationally-recognized research institutions and published fairly widely in the academic literature, and the foundation for all that is the fact that the teachers at Bradford College made me think. Teaching people to think is the essence of education, and Bradford College did an outstanding job, for which I will always be grateful.
I have enjoyed a successful career in ESL, originally as an English professor in a Japanese college, but more importantly, as an assessment expert. My dissertation won a fairly prestigious international award, I have a book on the topic, and I have published in a number of academic journals. I am currently running a large international English language testing program at the University of Michigan, and I have worked as a researcher at ETS, the premier testing organization in the US. I have my own testing company, Lidget Green (Gary’s family ran a fish and chip shop at Lidget Green in Bradford!), which is on the cutting edge of bringing high-stakes assessments over the internet.”
Photograph by Pacia Platzek