CSHE Research Seminars June-July 2021

In this series of seminars, members of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Kent showcase new long-form research outputs addressing a range of issues in research and practice in higher education (HE).  We celebrate a new edited book on the practice of leadership in HE (Jarrett & Newton eds, 2020), an edited special issue introducing signature assessment and signature feedback (Pitt & Quinlan, 2021), a monograph on embodied research methods (Leigh & Brown, 2021) and an edited collection on decolonising the university (Thomas & Jivraj, eds 2020). Each seminar will provide a taster, pulling out key concepts or main take-away points from the work that will be of interest to higher education researchers and/or practitioners.

1) Leadership in HE: Lessons from Other Sectors. Sign up via Eventbrite

17th June 2021 13.00-14:00 BST

Kendall Jarrett and Stephen Newton present:

Jarrett, K. & Newton, S. (eds) (2020). The practice of leadership in higher education: Real-world perspectives on becoming, being, and leaving. Abingdon: Routledge.


This seminar aims to heighten attendees’ awareness of what higher education can learn from the leadership practices of colleagues in other sectors. Select passages from the book will be read and informally discussed with consideration given to the experience of leadership in HE at three stages of the leadership cycle: becoming a leader, being a leader, and then leaving leadership. In addition, the seminar will provide attendees an opportunity to consider their own leadership circumstances through reflection on the following:

  • What leadership myths and realities contribute to a reluctance for some academics to pursue any kind of leadership development opportunity?
  • Through what means do you and/or other leaders in your institution ‘shorten the distance’ between themselves and colleagues they lead?
  • What specific results must you deliver to be recognised as successful in your leadership/management role?

2) Signature Assessment and Feedback Practices in the Disciplines. Sign up via Eventbrite

24th June 2021 9.30-10:30 BST

Edd Pitt and Kathleen M. Quinlan (Eds) present a special issue (2021, issue 2) of Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy, and Practice

The notion of signature pedagogies (Shulman, 2005) has directed attention to discipline- and profession-specific teaching practices in higher education.  In this special issue, we used the term ‘signature’ to invite researchers and educators to consider discipline-specific assessment and feedback practices, yielding five empirical papers situated in primary through higher education and addressing four different families of disciplines.  In this seminar, we draw lessons from across the papers in this special issue to propose and illustrate key elements of signature assessment and signature feedback practices.  Participants will consider:

  • What aspects of my discipline are unique?
  • How well do my assessments or feedback reflect those disciplinary practices?
  • Would a change toward signature assessments or feedback enable students to engage more fully in those disciplinary practices?

3) Applying Embodied Inquiry Research Methods to HE Research. Sign up via Eventbrite

1st July 2021 13.00-14:00 BST

Jennifer Leigh and Nicole Brown present:

Leigh, J. & Brown, N. (2021). Embodied inquiry: Research methods. London: Bloomsbury. https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/embodied-inquiry-9781350118799/

We all have bodies, feelings, emotions and experiences that affect the questions we are interested in, the ways in which we choose to approach finding out the answers to those questions, and the patterns we see in the data we gather as a result. Embodied inquiry is the process of using embodied approaches to study, explore or investigate a topic. But what does it actually mean to be ’embodied’? What kinds of research into higher education can become or be designed as an embodied inquiry, and how?

In this seminar, Jennifer Leigh and Nicole Brown will discuss why and how we use our bodies to research, what an embodied approach brings to a research project, and the kinds of considerations that need to be taken into account to research in this way.

4) Decolonising the University: Engaging students and activists in HE inquiry for change. Sign up via Eventbrite

8th July 2021 13.00-14:00 BST

Dave S.P. Thomas presents:

Thomas, D.S.P. & Jivraj, S. (eds), (2020). Towards decolonising the university: A Kaleidoscope for empowered action. Oxford: Counterpress. https://counterpress.org.uk/publications/towards-decolonising-the-university/

Traditional social science research is just one component of change-making in the academy.  Advances in racial equality have only come through difficult and sustained intellectual, emotional, cultural and political work by those who have been historically marginalised in the academy.  This seminar will showcase a project at the University of Kent that was part political movement, part institutional change intervention, part autoethnographic research and fully grounded in critical race theory.  Dave S.P. Thomas, a doctoral student in HE himself, will provide insights on how to co-produce knowledge with BAME students, researchers, activists, and practitioners to advance both knowledge and systemic change.  He will reflect on students’ rich accounts of their explorations of intersectional experiences with fellow students and consider implications of this work for HE researchers and practitioners.