I can’t draw a speech bubble from the photo, but this is me, Emma Sabzalieva. Hello!
Since 2011, I’ve been blogging about education, society and politics in Central Asia. I’m particularly interested in higher education and social change, which stems from working in Central Asia for an educational charity in the early 2000s, plus subsequent freelance and voluntary work as well as a host of other ongoing connections and commitments to the region.
My blog has been named one of The Guardian’s “best social media accounts for academics” (2016) and my blog posts have attracted attention from a wider audience, including El País, Huffington Post and Yahoo Canada. I’ve also written about Central Asia in academic journals and online magazines. Find out more on the Publications page of this website.
In addition to this regional specialization, my research interests broadly cover the politics and history of higher education. I am currently pursuing a PhD on how and why change happens in higher education, with a focus on post-Soviet higher education systems. I am a Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Canadian and International Higher Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto in Canada.
I am the proud recipient of two prestigious scholarships for my PhD. In 2015-17, I held a Study Abroad Studentship, funded by the UK’s Leverhulme Trust. This transformational award, supported by a tuition fee waiver from my department, was key to enabling me to quit my full-time administration job and hop over to the academic side of the fence!
In 2017-20 I am the recipient of a fully funded Canadian government Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. This scholarship rewards academic excellence, research potential, and leadership. In the year I received my award, just 167 scholarships were offered nationwide, making the success rate less than 10%. I am the first recipient of the scholarship in my department since 2012. My department also wrote an article about my Vanier Scholarship (thank you, OISE!).
Prior to starting doctoral research, I worked in higher education administration and management for 13 years in universities in Central Asia and the UK. I am co-author of Managing your career in higher education administration (with Michelle Gander and Heather Moyes, 2014), part of Palgrave Macmillan’s Universities into the 21st century series.
I’m keen to build up links with others working in and on Central Asian and post-Soviet higher education with a view to future collaborations and knowledge exchange, so please get in touch.
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