Professor Paul AshwinHead of Department, Professor
I am a Professor of Higher Education and my research interests are focused on the relations between teaching-learning and knowledge-curriculum practices in higher education. I am also interested in the relations between these practices and higher education policies as well as the relations between theories and methods in research into higher education. The kinds of questions that I explore in this research include: What counts as high quality teaching and learning in higher education? How is this positioned in policies and practices? How do we research and theorise these competing notions of quality?
My research interests are focused on teaching, learning, and assessment in higher education. I am the lead author on the recently published Reflective Teaching in Higher Education, which supports research-informed university teaching. My book 'Analysing Teaching-Learning Interactions in Higher Education' focuses on ways of conceptualising teaching-learning processes in higher education that support a consideration of both structure and agency.
I am a co-investigator in the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Higher Education Funding Council, England funded Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE). CGHE is a partnership between the UCL Institute of Education in London, Lancaster University and the University of Sheffield and eight international universities. CGHE commenced in November 2015.
As part of CGHE, I serve on the management committee and am responsible for capacity building across the centre. I am also leading a project that will examine Knowledge, Curriculum and Student Agency in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in the UK and South Africa. Additionally, I am leading an ESRC/National Research Foundation funded International Centre Partnership with Jenni Case, University of Cape Town. This partnership will bring together established and emerging researchers from South Africa, the UK and internationally to examine access to, students’ experiences of, and outcomes from South African undergraduate higher education.
The project on Knowledge, Curriculum and Student Agency builds on a previous ESRC funded project looking at pedagogic quality and inequality in undergraduate Sociology degrees, which I worked on with Monica McLean, University of Nottingham and Andrea Abbas, University of Bath. This project focused on comparing the quality of teaching, learning and curricula in undergraduate sociology and allied subjects in four universities that have different reputations for the quality of the undergraduate experience that they offer. The study aimed to question the assumptions underlying these reputations through an in-depth exploration of the relations between what students bring to university, their experiences of university education and what they gain it. We investigated what is taught, why and how; and how undergraduate students' and lecturers' experience and evaluate the curriculum and the teaching and learning environment.
I am a co-ordinating editor of Higher Education, the leading Higher Education research journal, and co-editor of the new Bloomsbury book series 'Understanding Student Experiences of Higher Education'.
Before coming to Lancaster, I spent four years researching students' experiences of learning at the Institute for the Advancement of University Learning, University of Oxford and, before that, seven years implementing and researching peer learning at Newham College of Further Education.
My research interests are focused on the relations between teaching-learning and knowledge-curriculum practices in higher education. I am also interested in the relations between these practices and higher education policies as well as the relations between theories and methods in research into higher education. The kinds of questions that I explore in this research include: What counts as high quality teaching and learning in higher education? How is this positioned in policies and practices? How do we research and theorise these competing notions of quality?
PhD Supervision Interests
I am interested in receiving PhD proposals in most areas related to knowledge, curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment in higher education, particularly those relating to students' and academics' experiences of higher education.
Selected Publications Show all 70 publications
Conceptualising transformative undergraduate experiences: a phenomenographic exploration of students’ personal projects
Ashwin, P.W.H., Abbas, A., McLean, M. 12/2016 In: British Educational Research Journal. 42, 6, p. 962-977. 16 p.
How does completing a dissertation transform undergraduate students’ understandings of disciplinary knowledge?
Ashwin, P.W.H., Abbas, A., McLean, M. 2017 In: Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. 42, 4, p. 517-530. 14 p.
Newer researchers in higher education: policy actors or policy subjects?
Ashwin, P., Deem, R., McAlpine, L. 21/10/2016 In: Studies in Higher Education. 41, 12, p. 2184-2197 . 14 p.
Researcher creations?: the positioning of policy texts in higher education research
Ashwin, P., Smith, K. 06/2015 In: Higher Education. 69, 6, p. 1007-1018. 12 p.
Reflective teaching in higher education
Ashwin, P., Boud, D., Coate, K., Hallett, F., Keane, E., Krause, K., Leibowitz, B., MacLaren, I., McArthur, J., McCune, V., Tooher, M. 26/02/2015 London : Bloomsbury Academic. 416 p. ISBN: 9781441197559.
Missionary zeal: some problems with the rhetoric, vision and approach of the AHELO project
Ashwin, P. 5/10/2015 In: European Journal of Higher Education. 5, 4, 8 p.
Representations of a high-quality system of undergraduate education in English higher education policy documents
Ashwin, P., Abbas, A., McLean, M. 2015 In: Studies in Higher Education. 40, 4, p. 610-623. 14 p.
The meanings of student engagement: implications for policies and practices
Ashwin, P., Mcvitty, D. 2015 In: The European higher education area. Cham : Springer p. 343-359. 17 p.
How do students’ accounts of sociology change over the course of their undergraduate degrees?
Ashwin, P., Abbas, A., McLean, M. 02/2014 In: Higher Education. 67, 2, p. 219-234. 16 p.
How often are theories developed through empirical research into higher education?
Ashwin, P. 12/2012 In: Studies in Higher Education. 37, 8, p. 941-955. 15 p.
Analysing teaching-learning interactions in higher education : accounting for structure and agency.
Ashwin, P. 02/2009 London : Continuum. 174 p. ISBN: 9780826494184.
Understanding Knowledge, Curriculum and Student Agency
01/10/2016 → 30/09/2020
Pedagogic quality and inequality in university first degrees
01/11/2008 → 30/10/2011
Higher Education (Journal)
Higher Education Close-Up 5
Participation in conference
- Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation
- Centre for Social Justice and Wellbeing in Education