Conference organised by Middlesex and Oxford Universities

On 31st August and 1st September, the Centre for Education Research and Scholarship (CERS), Middlesex University, and the Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (OxCHEPS), Oxford University, jointly hosted a conference on the subjects of trust, well-being and happiness in higher education.

Taking place at Oxford University’s New College, the event was attended by a broad range of academics and doctoral students, from fields including economics, medical studies, philosophy and law.

Individual presentations included:

  • Professor Jill Jameson, Chair of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE), discussed the links between trust and leadership in higher education and the role that managers can play.
  • Dr Andreas Hoecht discussed trust in relation to professional autonomy and accountability.
  • Dr Kate Maguire brought an anthropological view to understanding trust in higher education.
  • Professor Peter Maaseen conceptualised trust in higher education with regard to the social contract and different perspectives on how to achieve trust.
  • Sir Anthony Seldon, vice chancellor of the University of Buckingham, spoke about well-being in his own institution and his use of mindfulness with both students and staff.
  • Professor Paul Gibbs of CERS, argued that universities should be focusing on helping their students to achieve contentment and profound happiness rather than simply satisfaction.
  • Professor Alison Scott-Baumann noted that we only seem to understand happiness in opposition to its negative, creating polarities and binary logics.
  • Ioana Duta used her background in linguistics to describe happiness scales and the issues with defining happiness (particularly in the English language).
  • Dr Luisa Corrado discussed the economics of well-being and the relationship between economic prosperity and happiness.
  • Professor Sara Stewart-Brown outlined the role of higher education in terms of well-being.
  • Dr Carolina Escobar-Tello talked about sustainable societies and the links between design and well-being.
  • Professor Bruce Macfarlane talked about academic freedom from the perspective of students.
  • And Professor Patricia Broadfoot discussed assessment in higher education and the key role that trust plays.

The conference marked the start of an informal partnership between CERS and OxCHEPS which will continue to explore the themes of trust and happiness in higher education through publications and future events.

The event was funded by benefactor Dr Charles Lam and was jointly organised by Middlesex University and Oxford University.


‘Found’ exhibition supported by Dr. Victoria de Rijke

Found is an exhibition that showcases the work produced as a result of the Tavi Art residency, based at the Tavistock Centre, the internationally renowned therapy centre.

 Towards the end of 2015 artist in residence, Rachael Causer, worked with service users, staff and visitors to the Tavistock Centre on a series of workshops that responded to the theme ‘Found’. The project explores the meaning of things to be ‘found’ in the process of seeking help from the Tavistock, piecing together stories and experiences, feelings and emotions.

The exhibition powerfully conveys messages from service users about what they ‘found’ while coming to the Tavistock. Some messages are positive and hopeful, while others comment on lives that are not easy.

This exhibition includes both the work made in these sessions alongside embroideries created by Rachael Causer that reflect on her residency and a series of large photographic interpretations of textile based work, produced in collaboration with Andy Wiener.

Dr. Victoria de Rijke, Associate Professor in CERS, has worked since 2013 as Education & Arts Consultant to the ‘FOUND’ Artist in residency at London’s Tavistock Centre, which will be completed later 2016.

For more information see the Tavistock and Portman website.

Professor Paul Gibbs honoured by the Academy for Transdisciplinary Learning and Advanced Studies

Paul Gibbs, Professor in CERS, has recently returned from China where the Academy for Transdisciplinary Learning and Advanced Studies presented him with the Basarab Nicolescu Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering Award.

Amongst Paul’s achievements which have contributed to the prestigious award:

  • He has published 20 books on a range of topics with 2 more on the way
  • He has published more than 80 academic articles
  • He is Series Editor of SpringerBriefs on Key Thinkers in Education and Debating Higher Education
  • He is Series Editor of Praxis in Education with Bloomsbury Press
  • His work on transdisciplinary educational research includes leading a cross-cultural research group studying happiness and trust in higher education, funded by Charles Lam

Professor Osgood appointed Editor of ‘Gender & Education’

Professor Jayne Osgood has been appointed to become Editor (along with 3 other feminist academics) of the internationally renowned, and high impact journal: Gender & Education.

Gender and Education grew out of feminist politics and is committed to developing critical discussions of gender and education in its broadest sense. The Editors are actively committed to making the journal an interactive platform that includes global perspectives on education, gender and culture. The journal is particularly interested in the place of gender in relation to other key social differences and seeks to further feminist knowledge, theory, consciousness, action and debate.

Stephen J Ball presents on education businesses

On 1st June Professor Stephen J. Ball (UCL IOE) presented at a CERS research seminar, at Middlesex University, convened and chaired by Professor Jayne Osgood.

Focusing on the role of edu-businesses in educational delivery – running schools – and education policy, he argued that a new global education consensus is emerging, in the construction and conduct of which edu-businesses are major players.

The seminar drew on some examples from research (Funded by Leverhulme and the British Academy) – Pearson, Bridge International Academies and GEMS.

Stephen is Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education,  University of London, he is also a fellow of the British Academy, member of the Academy of Social Sciences, and has a number of distinguished affiliations to universities across the world. He is also Managing Editor of Journal of Education Policy.

Over the past two decades Stephen has produced a significant corpus of work within the fields of ‘policy sociology’ and the ‘sociology of education’. Stephen has published work extensively since his first book in 1981 Beachside Comprehensive – he has made innumerable contributions to books and has over 100 articles published in peer reviewed journals. A selection of his more recent books includes:

  • (2013) Foucault, Power and Education.
  • (2013) The Education Debate (2nd Edition). Policy Press.
  • How Schools do Policy (2011)
  • Global Education Inc (2012)

He recently completed two related research projects, both addressing the ways in which education policy moves through global policy networks, one focused on Africa (funded by the Leverhulme Foundation) and the other on India (funded by the British academy). These build upon previous work on the increasing participation of philanthropy and business in processes of educational policymaking and were the focus of his talk.

A recent paper by Stephen and Carolina Junemann on Pearson and PALF can be downloaded here: ‘The Mutating Giant’.

Dr Mona Sakr wins MDXSU Teaching Award

Dr Mona Sakr, Lecturer in Education and Early Childhood Studies, based in CERS won the ‘Best Feedback’ award in this year’s MDXSU Teaching Awards.

The third annual MDXSU Teaching Awards took place on Thursday 14th April, with students and staff from across the university gathering to celebrate excellent teaching and student-staff partnership.

Nominations for Mona stated:

“Mona always gives positive feedback, explaining not only where you went wrong but also what you did right. Even when you go back to her with the same issue, she is more than happy to give you ample support and ensure that you understand what you are doing. With Mona’s feedback, I have passed all her modules really well since second year.”

“In every seminar and lecture Mona is amazing, always pushing us and making lessons more interesting and interactive. We learn so much from her sessions.”

Mona is currently on maternity leave and so Jan Williams (Dean of the School of Health and Education) collected the award on her behalf.

Full details from the MDXSU website

CERS staff nominated for MDXSU Teaching Awards

Two members of CERS have been nominated by Middlesex students for MDXSU Teaching Awards.

  • Dr Mona Sakr, Lecturer in Education and Early Childhood, has been nominated in the ‘Best Feedback’ category
  • Dr Reza Gholami, formerly Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Education (now at Keele University), has been nominated in the ‘Most Innovative Teaching’ category

The MDXSU Teaching Awards started in 2014 in order to reward and recognise teachers and staff at Middlesex who go above and beyond for their students.

Further details about the awards and the full list of shortlisted staff can be read on the MDXSU website.