I’m a comparative and international higher education specialist with two decades of expertise in research, teaching, policy analysis, consultancy, and practice. I’ve published widely in academic journals/books as well as in general interest publications, webinars, and podcasts.
As a Senior Policy Analyst at the UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education, I lead a range of projects including: the futures of higher education, virtual student mobility, self-regulation of higher education governance and academic freedom.
As a Research Associate at York University (Toronto, Canada), I coordinate a SSHRC-funded project on the international education-migration nexus for which I am the lead researcher for Canada. I’ve also done research for a new project on the geopolitics of international higher education.
I completed my PhD in Comparative & International Higher Education from the University of Toronto, Canada in 2020 (yes, I’m a Zoom doctor…). My thesis is about how and why change happens in higher education, with a focus on post-Soviet higher education systems. My PhD was funded by a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and a Study Abroad Studentship from the UK’s Leverhulme Trust. My thesis won the 2021 Dissertation Award from the Comparative & International Education Society Eurasia SIG; part of my doctoral research was awarded the 2018 Excellent Paper Award for an Emerging Scholar by the Knowledge Politics and Policies Standing Group of the European Consortium of Political Researchers.
I have an undergraduate MA (Hons) in Russian Studies & History from the University of Edinburgh, UK; a Postgraduate Certificate in Conflict & Development from the Open University, UK; and an MBA in Higher Education Management from the Institute of Education, UK (now University College London).
As a researcher, I explore the geopolitics of higher education and the effects of globalization on education policy in comparative and international perspective. I have collaborated on research with the Centre for the Study of Canadian and International Higher Education at the University of Toronto, the Higher School of Economics (Russia)/University of Oxford, and the University of Central Asia.
Since 2011, I’ve been running a blog about education, society and politics in Central Asia. This stems from working in Central Asia for an inspiring and groundbreaking education initiative in the early 2000s plus subsequent freelance and voluntary work as well as a host of other ongoing connections and deep 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.
As a teacher, I support undergraduate and graduate students on courses in international development, international academic relations, and comparative educational theories and methods. I’m an experienced mentor and have a career long commitment to promoting women’s professional development.
As a policy analyst and consultant, I have advised on education projects for the governments of Tajikistan (with the World Bank), Estonia and the UK, the University of Oxford, and the University of Central Asia. I managed conferences and membership at the Central Eurasian Studies Society. I’m an elected Board Director of the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education.
As a practitioner, I enjoyed a progressively senior career working in higher education administration and management in Central Asia and the UK prior to starting doctoral research. I am co-author of Managing your career in higher education administration (2014), part of Palgrave Macmillan’s Universities into the 21st century series.
In addition to English (my native language), I have fluent Russian, good but rusty French, beginner-intermediate Spanish and a smattering of German, Italian and Shughni.
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