Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER)

Events Archive: 2013/14

Date: 21st October 2013
Venue: Room 104, Fulton
Speaker: Professor Gemma Moss, Faculty of Policy and Society, Department of Humanities and Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London

Title: Uncertain Knowledge: Exploring quantitative data from a qualitative perspective

In her seminar, Professor Moss considered whether qualitative research traditions can interact with quantitative traditions in ways that work for the common good.

Critical exploration of PISA data and their role in policy discourse tended to focus either on the reliability of the test instruments employed to assess participants' literacy levels, or on the use of the findings - expressed as country-by-country rank orderings - within policy discourse. By contrast, Professor Moss considered PISA data as an example of specialised knowledge-making that travelled out into policy domains, in the process losing the caveats, qualifications and uncertainties that charaterised statistical thinking.

The seminar focused on the use of the term "reading engagement" as a key variable that explained variation in reading performance in the OECD reports, exploring how far this acted as a case study for the social construction of statistical data. Professor Moss concluded by asking when, and under what terms, did numerical data have a useful function to play, and the role qualitative research traditions had in making this happen.

Seminar Promo:           Seminar Series Promo: 21oct2013 
Seminar Presentation: Professor Gemma Moss: Uncertain Knowledge 


Date: 2nd December 2013
Venue: Dine Central, 1st Floor, Bramber House, University of Sussex
Speakers: Professor Carole Leathwood, Director of IPSE, London Metropolitan University Professor Miriam David, Institute of Education, University of London Professor Valerie Hey & Professor Louise Morley, CHEER, University of Sussex

Title: Robbins Report 50 Years On: Feminist Responses

The University of Sussex, itself founded in 1961, was delighted for the opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Robbins Report, published in 1963. As a product of that important period of democratisation and expansion, CHEER revisited a core value of the Robbins Report - namely that university places should be available to anyone qualified to apply for them. Robbins also foregrounded gender - in the 1960s fewer women undertook higher education than men.

We interrogated whether the expansion of higher education had encouraged democratisation, and raised questions about how the gender agenda had unfolded or unravelled in the intervening years.


Robbins Report Conference Photo Gallery


Date: 27th January 2014
Venue: Room 104, Fulton 
Speaker: Professor Carolyn Jackson, Centre for Social Justice and Wellbeing in Education, Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University

Title: "They don't seem to really care, they just think it's cool to sit there and talk": Laddism in Higher Education

Over the last two to three years there has been a sharp increase in the number of concerns voiced about 'laddism', 'laddish' or 'lad' cultures in higher education (HE) in the UK. Drawing principally on a project that explored laddism on a sports science degree in a university in England, Professor Jackson explored the constructions and understandings of laddism in HE - particularly in teaching-learning contexts.

Portraits of laddish university students were shown to be remarkably similar to those of secondary school lads. At various points, therefore, Professor Jackson referred to research findings from secondary schools to highlight the similarities and differences between the two - and also to facilitate analyses of the HE context.

Undergraduates suggested that laddish behaviours included: talking and generally being loud; being a joker; throwing stuff; arriving late; and being rude and disrespectful to lecturers. Mature students of both genders were particularly critical of these behaviours and resented how they negatively impacted on their own learning.

The impact of laddism on the lads themselves and on others was explored - as well as the ways it is challenged.

Seminar Promo:            Seminar Series Promo: 27jan2014 
Seminar Presentation:   Professor Carolyn Jackson: Laddism in Higher Education 


Date: 27th - 30th January 2014
Venue: Conference Centre, Bramber House, University of Sussex
Keynote Speakers:
Professor Nafsika Alexiadou
Professor Valerie Hey
Professor Carolyn Jackson
Dr Anna Lindqvist Professor
Professor Louise Morley
Dr John Pryor
Professor Kirk Sullivan
Professor Gaby Weiner
Dr Björn Åstrand

Promo Poster:  Diversity, Democratisation and Difference promotional poster


Date: 24th March 2014 
Venue: Room 104, Fulton
Speaker: Dr Kalwant Bhopal, Reader in Education and Director of Postgraduate Research Degrees, University of Southampton

Title: Understanding minority ethnic academic flight from UK higher education

Whilst universities have taken significant proactive approaches to the career development of women, similar initiatives have not been demonstrated  in relation to race and ethnicity. In fact, research suggests that BME academics continue to experience both overt and covery racism in the academy.

In this seminar, Dr Bhopal drew from research suggesting that quality benchmarks, such as the Research Excellence Framework (REF), are described ambiguously by BME academics as inclusive and 'neutralising ethnicity' whilst also being subjective and privileging articles from the west. Dissatisfaction with UK academic structures and processes was also cited, particularly in comparison to the USA.

Dr Bhopal examined how and why inequalities in academia continue to exist, and how they affect the decision-making processes regarding career trajectories - particularly in relation to decisions made by BME academics to leave the UK to work overseas.

Seminar Promo:         Seminar Series Promo - 24mar2014  


Date: 9th June 2014
Venue: Room 104, Fulton 
Speaker: Tara Fenwick, Professor of Professional Education, School of Education, University of Stirling

Title: 'Matters' of professional learning in practice: tracing the sociomaterial

The materiality of everyday interaction is too often ignored, dismissed or isolated in educational research. Yet educational practices are intimately enmeshed with instruments, software, texts and forms, bodies and discourses - all of which embed a history of politics and ethics.

In this seminar, Professor Fenwick will outline a different 'sociomaterial' configuration that has been circulating in the broader social sciences with potential for understanding dynamics of learning, pedagogy, curriculum, policy, etc. Drawing on Karen Barad's sociomaterial analyses, she will focus particularly on methodologies for researching learning in different settings, illustrating the strategies and insights - as well as the dilemmas - in working with sociomaterial approaches to make visible the materialities of learning.

Seminar Promo:  Seminar Series Promo - 9june2014