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Head of the School of Education and Professor of Education Policy and Social Justice, University of Glasgow

I have recently arrived at University of Glasgow from Australia, where I worked in a number of universities in research and managerial roles. I was the founding director of Australia’s National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education – an Australian Government funded research centre, engaged in both pure and applied research and also in practitioner development, policy development and contributing to the political process. I am also a past President of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), Australia’s premier association of education researchers, presiding over a membership of around 1200. And I am founding editor of Critical Studies in Education – an international sociology of education journal with the highest impact factor in the field worldwide. My most recent post was at Deakin University as a research professor, focused on grant capture, producing quality pubs. and building research capacity in early and mid career researchers. I now hold an Honorary Professorial position there.

I’m a critical sociologist of education, with interests in policy and social justice in schooling and higher education. I tend to draw on the social theories of Bourdieu, Appadurai, Sen, among others. I bring a sociological imagination to my research, seeking out connections between the ‘public issues’ and ‘private troubles’ of education policy and practice. My critical approach is distinguishable by its political commitments – with interests in who benefits and who doesn’t by particular social arrangements and what can/should be done about these – and by its dialectic method: a generative regard for apparent tensions between theoretical and methodological oppositions such as theory/practice, structure/agency, objectivity/subjectivity and time/space. My latest publication is called Social Justice Intents in Policy.

My two most recent Australian Research Council (ARC) grants have focused on the aspirations for higher education of secondary school students in Melbourne’s western suburbs and on the social justice dispositions of secondary teachers in advantaged and disadvantaged Melbourne and Brisbane schools.


  • –present
    Head of the School of Education, University of Glasgow