My PhD thesis (2015-date) is provisionally titled: How does higher education respond to major institutional change? The fall of the Soviet Union and universities in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan.
It is a good example of the main areas I research, as it combines my interests and expertise in:
- the politics and history of higher education;
- comparative and international education;
- the former Soviet space, particularly Central Asia;
- qualitative methods – the primary data in the thesis is drawn from in-depth interviews/life histories with experienced faculty members undertaken in the field;
- theories of change – I am using elements of new institutional theory in the thesis.
As well as my PhD thesis
Some of my additional research interests are listed below with examples of relevant projects:
- International academic relations – I am Research Assistant on a Canadian Research Council (SSHRC) funded project examining international research collaboration; I have written about the competing ideas of scientific nationalism and scientific globalism across 20 countries; I hope to co-convene a panel on the geopolitics of knowledge at a conference in 2019;
- Public policy – I have done policy research at multiple levels: for international organizations (on higher education in Central Asia and Afghanistan including policy recommendations), a national government (on student funding), the Ontario provincial government (on international student recruitment and retention), and for a British university (on student funding);
- Ideas and knowledge creation – in all of my work, I endeavour to give voice to alternative ways of thinking and seeing the world. This ranges from using theories that open up different worldviews to actively choosing cases that are understudied or outside globally dominant spaces;
- Internationalization of higher education – I am co-organizing an international conference on this topic in June 2019; I am particularly interested in international students and have published/presented on this area;
- Higher education and its (global/regional/national/local) communities – I have published on the role history plays in shaping university-community relations and on universities’ responsibilities to their wider communities;
- Conflict and development – I am working on a co-authored article comparing higher education in post-conflict Iraq and Tajikistan.
My research is grounded in qualitative methods and is frequently comparative in nature. I have experience of interviews, case studies, literature reviews, document analysis and focus groups. I have also done quantitative research using surveys and descriptive statistics.