Research Team

The research team is made up of colleagues from the Universities of Stirling, Birmingham and Cardiff. The University of Stirling is working with our partner colleges in Scotland and Northern Ireland; the University of Birmingham with our English partner colleges, and the University of Cardiff with our Welsh partners.

Principal Investigator and Scottish colleges research lead

Cate Watson is Professor of Education in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling. Her expertise lies in professional learning, leadership and governance in educational settings and she has conducted research and published widely in this area. She has also received widespread recognition for her work on the development of innovative methodologies in the social sciences and is the author of Comedy and social science: towards a methodology of funny (2015, Routledge).

For further information and publications, please click here.

ORCID: 0000-0003-1807-6460

Co-Investigator and Welsh colleges research lead

David James is Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, and Director of the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership. He is Editor of the British Journal of Sociology of Education. Research interests include: teaching, learning and assessment in schools, colleges and universities; school choice; governance in FE; the relationship between education and inequality; critical engagement with Bourdieu. Responsible for many research projects and evaluations, he co-designed and co-directed the only major ESRC-funded project on teaching and learning in English FE. Books include Bourdieu and Education (1998, with Grenfell), The Creative Professional (1999, with Ashcroft), Improving Learning Cultures in FE (2007, with Biesta) and White Middle Class Identities and Urban Schooling (2011 & 2013, with Reay & Crozier).
For further information and publications, please click here. ORCID: 0000-0001-7921-6485

Co-Investigator and English colleges research lead

Ann-Marie Bathmaker is Professor of Vocational and Higher Education at the University of Birmingham, and Visiting Professor, Centre for Development Studies, University of the Free State, South Africa. She is editor of the Journal of Vocational Education and Training. Her research focuses on questions of equity and inequalities in vocational, post-compulsory and higher education. Recent research includes: HE, social mobility and social class (the Paired Peers project), rural and township youth participation in HE in South Africa (the Miratho project), young people’s experience of University Technical Colleges in England, and constructions of knowledge in general vocational qualifications. She was the specialist advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility School to Work (2015-2016).
For further information and publications, please click here.

Co-Investigator and Northern Irish colleges research lead

Prior to moving to the School of Education at the University of Stirling, Gary Husband was the Professional Development Manager at Edinburgh College where he was responsible for the delivery and development of lecturer initial teacher education courses and continuing professional development strategies and programmes. Gary’s research focuses on the long-term effects of initial lecturer education in further education. Gary specialises in middle leadership development, organisational professional learning strategies and coaching and mentoring in education. Gary is the director of the ARPCE International conference focusing on further education.
For more information and publications, please click here. ORCID: 0000-0002-6673-1223

Co-Investigator and Impact Group lead

Ron Hill is Professor of Education at the University of Stirling and has worked with over 90 further education and sixth form colleges in England in relation to governance and governing practices. Ron has published a number of research studies into the processes of governing colleges including the following topics :- the contribution of senior staff to governing, the self-assessment of performance by governing bodies, the role and experience of the chair of the governing body, the role and experience of the clerk to the governing body. Ron’s current research interests include remuneration of college governors, professional development for clerks/secretaries (including the use of a structured professional journal) and the role of governing within models of ‘distributed leadership’. Ron acts as Convener of the BELMAS research interest group ‘Governing and Governance in Education’ and is a Member of the Editorial Board for the BELMAS Journal: Management in Education – the Journal of Professional Practice.
For more information and publications, please click here.

Research Fellow for Scottish and Northern Irish colleges

Aileen Ireland is a researcher in professional education with a particular interest in how knowledge is translated into practice. Her research background is in health sciences research, with a particular focus on the patient experience of nursing care. Her doctoral research involved a sociomaterial exploration of the use of simulated human technology in the practices of nurse educators in higher education settings. Prior to starting her research career, Aileen worked extensively in the further and higher education sector in northern Canada during its earliest development and has a keen interest in promoting the integration of indigenous knowledge within conventional educational governance in those settings.

Research Fellow for Welsh colleges

Steve Garner is a qualitative researcher who works mainly on social identity, in particular the intersections of ‘race’, class, ethnicity and nation. He has published widely on race in various contexts, including ‘Racisms’ (Sage); ‘A Moral Economy of Whiteness’ (Routledge) and ‘Whiteness: an introduction’ (Routledge), as well as in journals such as ‘Ethnic and Racial Studies’, ‘Sociology’ and ‘Identities’. He is book review editor of the US journal ‘Sociology of Race and Ethnicity’. Steve has also worked outside academia and conducted research for government agencies, local authorities and not-for-profit organisations in the UK and Ireland.

Research Fellow for English colleges

Jodie Pennacchia is a researcher in the policy-sociology of education. She began her career working in learning support roles in mainstream and alternative schools. Her doctoral thesis explored the production of academy status in the context of an ‘under-performing’ secondary school and she has published work in the field of alternative education. Jodie has undertaken applied research projects across the Further Education sector, including research to inform the development of the National Retraining Scheme in England, and the evaluation of Department for Education’s Career Learning Pilots. Uniting her research is a concern with the social justice issues that stem from policy and its enactments, and the educational experiences of disadvantaged groups.
ORCID: 0000-0001-9700-2704

Project Administrator

Emma Gilbert is a University of Stirling graduate with a background in Project Management. Working within the language service industry, she has managed the translation of a vast array of documentation, varying from legal and financial content to marketing and safety training collateral. She is experienced in interpretation event planning and has coordinated events for organisations around the world. She has managed projects within numerous industry sectors for a variety of organisations including the NHS, BBC, Exxon Mobil, Eurovision Song Contest and the Walt Disney Company. Emma is currently on maternity leave and will return July 2020.