Current projects

Opportunity Areas evaluation

At the Department for Education, my main research activity focuses on the Opportunity Areas programme. The materials for Opportunity Areas are available on the DfE’s website, including the original announcement, expansion, and publication of the first six delivery plans. There will not be any project updates about Opportunity Areas on my personal blog: if you are interested to know more, follow the Department’s official communications (or contact me and I will point you in the correct direction).

Scholarship Program Research Network

The Scholarship Program Research Network (SPRN) is an informal virtual community that aims to bring together individuals who study and evaluate scholarship programmes (both international and domestic). The purpose of the SPRN is to connect individuals and organisations across sectoral and geographic divides, share resources, and facilitate opportunities for future exchange and collaboration. The Network will not be exclusive to particular groups, but primarily aims to aid scholarship programme administrators, programme evaluators, academics and graduate students, independent consultants, and others around the world with an interest in scholarship programmes to connect more easily.

SPRN has a LinkedIn Group and a bibliography of literature published on international scholarship programmes, available via Zotero Group or Google Drive.

Past projects

Evaluating the UK’s Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships

While working at the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) I was involved in a variety of projects evaluating the outcomes of funding for international study. The CSC evaluation pages give an overview and a comprehensive list of published reports is available here.

A summary of the CSC approach to developing a longitudinal tracking framework for scholarship recipients is available in this blog post.

Measuring Success? blog series

In October 2015, I founded The Association of Commonwealth Universities Measuring Success? blog series and edited it, with my colleague Sian Julian, until I left the ACU in July 2017. Measuring Success? aims to generate dialogue between evaluators, programme designers, and policymakers by publishing (often quite detailed) pieces on topics related to international scholarship design, administration, and analysis. The audience, like the contributing authors, are worldwide and the blog series has become one of the highest profile publications in the field of international scholarship design and evaluation.

Academic projects

Before joining the Association of Commonwealth Universities in 2013 I worked in UK academia, completing my PhD and then as a postdoc at Coventry University and King’s College London. My academic work started in educational technology research and moved latterly to be focused on systemic quality and student experience. The three major projects in which I was involved were:

QAA HE logo smallA UK Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) funded project based at King’s College London and led by Camille Kandiko-Howson. Our research explored student expectations and perceptions of the quality of their learning experience and the academic standards of their chosen programmes of study. The final report is available at the King’s College London website. and since being published has rather taken on a life of its own, including being referenced in the subsequent Government White Paper on higher education.

CAVA project logo smallAn EU Daphne III project awarded to a consortium based in the UK, Belgium, Sweden, and Germany. The CAVA project – “Changing Attitudes to Dating Violence in Adolescents” – was led by Erica Bowen and was the first project in Europe to pilot an intervention for changing attitudes to dating violence through the use of an immersive and engaging video game. Coventry University summarise the project impact on their website. One of the papers we published as part of CAVA is a widely cited literature review of prevalence, risk factors, and intervention evidence that even made it into a World Health Organisation manual!

CURLIEW logo small

My doctoral research was part of a Leverhulme Trust funded project entitled “The Socio-political impact of virtual worlds on UK Higher Education”. Led by Maggi Savin-Baden, the project explored the student experience, learner identity, and pedagogical design dimensions to teaching and learning within immersive virtual worlds such as Second Life and Open Sim. Virtual Worlds seem a bit passe these days, but at the time (2008 – 2012) every UK university except one had some kind of presence in a virtual world and many were running credit-bearing modules that involved extensive engagement within Second Life or Open Sim. My thesis is is available if you are interested to learn more….

Reports, chapters or articles linked to any project in which I have been involved will be listed in the publications section, with the exception of any official publications.