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Higher Education Researcher

Higher Education Researcher

This is a podcast by the Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation at Lancaster University. Higher Education Researcher features short interviews with current and past doctoral students, staff, and guest scholars to talk about their current interests, research, and thinking.
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Currently playing episode

Assessment for social justice with Jan McArthur

Higher Education Researcher

Assessment for social justice with Jan McArthur

Higher Education Researcher

Academic Freedom, Social Responsibility, and the Need to Exercise Them with Sina Westa
Dr. Sina Westa is a research associate at the Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. In this episode, Sina talks about her research on academic freedom, conducted during her PhD at the University of Ljubljana within the Marie Curie ITN framework (Universities in the Knowledge Economy). Sina highlights that academic freedom is a highly political concept that is dependent on time and space. On the one hand, exercising this right is connected to a high degree of social responsibility; and on the other hand, it needs to be exercised continuously to be safeguarded. Especially in times of the current COVID pandemic and the connected impetus of science and research, more attention needs to be given to an open discussion of academic freedom and individual freedoms in more broadly. Talking to Sina is Dr Janja Komljenovic from CHERE@LU.
November 27, 2020
Making the most of supervised PhD research with Lynn McAlpine
Professor Lynn McAlpine is Visiting Professor in the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University. Lynn has a long and distinguished career as a higher education researcher and academic teacher. Her recent research looks into various aspects of early career researchers, issues of identities and the PhD process generally. In this episode, she addresses this question: What are the key messages from the literature for those embarking on their supervised PhD research? In doing this, she draws on what is known from research about successful PhD completion and how doctoral researchers can have a fruitful, even enjoyable PhD journey. The episode is introduced by Professor Paul Trowler; there is a brief discussion between them of Lynn’s comments towards the end of the episode. Lynn’s advice will be of interest and benefit to anyone on the traditional route PhD or entering or in thesis research of a structured PhD programme. Professor Paul Trowler is the Director of the PhD in Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement, and a member of CHERE@LU.
October 13, 2020
Assessment for social justice with Jan McArthur
Jan McArthur is a Senior Lecturer at the Educational Research Department at Lancaster University and an Editor of Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. Informed by critical theory, her work “Assessment for Social Justice: achievement, uncertainty and recognition” advocates a philosophical re-interpretation of the role of higher education assessment in furthering social justice. Jan argues that assessment is a powerful force in shaping how and what students learn. Because of this, assessment is therefore also key to the social justice mission of the university. Talking to Jan is Olga Rotar, a doctoral researcher and a member of CHERE@LU. 
October 7, 2020
Teaching Excellence Policy with Adam Matthews
Adam Matthews is a researcher at the University of Birmingham. In this episode, Adam talks about his paper co-authored with Dr Ben Kotzee: The rhetoric of the UK higher education Teaching Excellence Framework: a corpus-assisted discourse analysis of TEF2 provider statements. A key methodology in this work is discourse analysis using the methods of corpus and computational linguistics. The paper concludes that employment, employability and outcomes are the key themes of successful Teaching Excellence Framework submissions, made by UK universities in 2017. Adam expands on some of the issues and contradictions at play when we conceptualise employment as the primary identifier of teaching excellence.   Talking to Adam is is Olga Rotar, doctoral researcher and a member of CHERE@LU.
September 22, 2020
Online learning with Olga Rotar
Olga Rotar is a doctoral researcher at the Department of Educational Research. In this episode, Olga talks about the results of her PhD project. She explains alternative ways of experiencing online learning by the adult student population and suggests that online educators should promote high-level learning experiences that lead to high-level learning outcomes. Olga argues that there is a need to expand a definition of “success” in online higher education.  Talking to Olga, is Dr Janja Komljenovic, a Lecturer of Higher Education at Lancaster University and the Director of CHERE@LU. 
September 14, 2020
25 years of DPER #PhDinHE - Kick-off panel on the state of higher education research
In 2020, we are celebrating 25 years of the Doctoral Programme in Educational Research - Higher Education (DPER).  Throughout this time, the programme has offered students an opportunity  to become higher education researchers. It was one of the first  doctoral programmes in the field of higher education research. We organised the celebrations through a webinar series. The kick-off panel was held on 2 September. It was focused on higher education as a research field more  broadly, and how it has developed in time. The speakers also reflected on the role  of doctoral programmes and research centres in establishing higher  education as a research field. The speakers were: Dr Jelena Brankovic (Bielefeld University, Germany). She is the coordinator of the Early Career Higher Education Researchers (ECHER) network, and a member of the Board of Governors of CHER (Consortium of Higher Education Researchers). Prof Paul Ashwin (Lancaster University). Paul is Head of the Educational Research Department. Paul is a co-ordinating editor of Higher Education, and co-editor of the Bloomsbury book series 'Understanding Student Experiences of Higher Education'. He is in the management committee of the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE). Prof Malcolm Tight (Lancaster University). Malcolm is past Director of DPER of many years, and researcher of the higher education field. Malcolm is the editor of the book series International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, the editorial advisory board member of the Journal of Education and Work, and past editor of Studies in Higher Education.  The panel was chaired by Dr Janja Komljenovic (Lancaster University). Janja is Director of DPER, and of the CHERE@LU.  This episode is the recording of the panel. 
September 7, 2020
Online learning, social justice, and critical pedagogy with Murat Öztok
Murat Öztok is a Lecturer at the Social Justice and TEL Doctoral Programmes at Lancaster University. In his episode, Murat talks about his book, The Hidden Curriculum of Online Learning: Understanding Social Justice through Critical Pedagogy, which challenges the current understandings of social justice in the field of online higher education. Murat explains his perspective on equity, provides examples of how cultural hegemony creates unfair learning experiences, and argues that while online learning spaces are frequently promoted as inclusive and democratic, these clams are not necessarily true. Talking to Paul is is Olga Rotar, doctoral researcher and a member of CHERE@LU.
September 3, 2020
25 years of the Doctoral Programme in Educational Research - Higher Education
This is a special episode serving as an introduction to the webinar series celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Doctoral Programme in Educational Research - Higher Education (DPER). A series of webinars is organised throughout September 2020 starting with the kick-off panel on 2 September. In this episode, Dr Janja Komljenovic, the Director of the programme, is joined by Dr Jan McArthur and Dr Ann-Marie Houghton, who are both teaching staff, as well as alumni of the programme. They are in a unique position to share their experience, thoughts, and views.  DPER is one of the first doctoral programmes in the field of higher education research and is designed so that doctoral researchers remain employed in their work environment and travel to Lancaster for regular residential sessions. This supports students to undertake rigorous research into the higher education contexts in which they work. The Educational Research Department and Lancaster University are incredibly proud of the programme and the achievements of its alumni. To join our celebratory webinar series focused on the field of higher education research, the experience of students and staff of the programme, its impact on careers and personal lives, and research of its members, please see our webpages: 
August 26, 2020
Accomplishing change in teaching and learning regimes with Paul Trowler
Paul Trowler is Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Research and is Director of the fully online PhD in Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement at Lancaster University. In this episode, Paul talks about his new book “Accomplishing Change in Teaching and Learning Regimes: Higher Education and the Practice Sensibility” which offers a new way of seeing the professional world in higher education through conceptually informed Teaching and Learning regimes framework. Talking to Paul is is Olga Rotar, doctoral researcher and a member of CHERE@LU.
July 1, 2020
International student recruitment and strategies with Melissa James
Melissa James is an alumna of the programme PhD in Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement at Lancaster University, and a Director of the Undergraduate Programs of the Faculty of Business, University of Prince Edward Island. Her research explores how practitioners (or staff) of international student recruitment at higher education institutions perceive their institutional strategic plans. It examines their perceptions of strategic plans on their practice and how it shapes their work. It is an international comparison of three institutions - one in Hong Kong, one in the UK and one in Canada. This international comparison helps to understand similarities and differences in international student recruitment, and the study shows that institutional culture is critically important to understanding how strategic plans influence the practice of international student recruitment.  Melissa can be contacted about her research via Talking to her is Olga Rotar, doctoral researcher and a member of CHERE@LU.
June 24, 2020
Students in external quality assurance with Matthew Kitching
Matthew is a doctoral researcher on the programme PhD in Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement at Lancaster University, and Deputy Chief Executive in the Students' Union at Buckinghamshire New University.  Matthew talks about his recent research, which explores quality assurance agencies' use of students in external review and accreditation panels. Matthew outlines the context, methodology, findings, and implications for the practice of his qualitative study. In particular, he discusses his use of Sabri's theory of Assumptive Worlds and his attempt to produce a new typology of involvement that may be used by policymakers.  Matthew can be contacted about his research via or  Talking to him is Olga Rotar, doctoral researcher and a member of CHERE@LU.
June 5, 2020
Australian Higher Education Data Collection with Elizabeth Cook
Elizabeth Cook is a doctoral researcher on the programme PhD in Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement at Lancaster University, and a Senior Analyst at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia.  Having begun her PhD in October 2019, Elizabeth talks about her early experiences in the PhD programme and provides tips for students in the programme. Elizabeth discusses her recently completed research – a critical discourse study that explored the effectiveness of collaboration between higher education providers and the Australian’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment during a current reform project aimed at redeveloping the Australian Higher Education Data Collection. Elizabeth focuses on her topic; research goals, design and methodology; challenges faced and overcome; and how her research findings can contribute to higher education policy development and reform.  Elizabeth can be contacted about her research via or Talking to her is Olga Rotar, doctoral researcher and a member of CHERE@LU.
May 17, 2020
Student consumers and value for money in higher education with Kate Wicklow
Kate is a doctoral researcher on the programme PhD in Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement at Lancaster University. In this episode, Kate presents her research exploring students' perceptions of value for money in English Universities. Using Callon’s notion of performativity, she is investigating the extent to which students are cognizant of the market dynamics of English HE including the students as consumers narrative and how the national policies of value for money such as the TEF and LEO impact on their perceptions of value. Her study focuses on those who are first in their family to go to university as a distinctive student group with different expectations, motivations, and experiences to more traditional university students.  Kate can be contacted about her research at  Talking to her is a doctoral researcher Olga Rotar from CHERE@LU.
May 10, 2020
Humanistic management in higher education with Madi Ruby
Madi Ruby is a doctoral researcher on the programme PhD in Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement at Lancaster University. In this episode, Madi presents the notion of humanistic management and how it can be applied in higher education. Contemporary management at universities is most typically conceptualised in line with the new public management, or neoliberal managerialism. These are seen as causing increased bureaucratisation of work, ever-rising workload, and staff alienation. Madi presents why this should not be the only view, and how we can focus on human dignity in management practices.   In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, universities are presented with an opportunity to consider humanistic management in how they navigate the challenges created for the higher education (and many other sectors) that the situation causes. Everything is changing, which provides an opportunity for leaders to reflect on how their structures impact on their academic and professional services staff, and opt for a more humanistic model of managing academic work.  Madi can be contacted about humanistic management and her research at Talking to her is Dr Janja Komljenovic from CHERE@LU.
April 28, 2020
Online teaching with Kyungmee Lee
In this inaugural episode, we are hosting Dr Kyungmee Lee. Kyungmee is a scholar of technology-enhanced learning at Lancaster University, and she has recently written two pieces for The Conversation sharing her tips with academics about online teaching. In these unprecedented times of the pandemic, most universities around the world shut their campuses and buildings, and moved their teaching and learning online. However, this is not so easy to do, and designing a proper online course normally takes a year, as well as huge investments in the academic and support teams, as well as in the infrastructure. For a quality teaching and learning experience, it is not possible to simply move the content from a face-to-face environment onto an online space. But many academics were asked to do just that. Kyungmee shares her tips and views on how to cope with such challenges. Kyugnmee is also a co-Director of the Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning. Talking to her is Dr Janja Komljenovic from CHERE@LU.
April 10, 2020
April 9, 2020
April 9, 2020