Sophie Bessant

Title: Academic Developer
Phone: 01782 733518
Email: s.e.f.bessant@keele.ac.uk
Location: 60 The Covert, Room 10
Role:
Contacting me: By email

I studied at The University of Nottingham from 2004 to 2008, graduating with a BSc Hons Degree in Geography and an MSc in Environmental Management. I joined Keele in 2011 as a Sustainability Project Officer and part-time doctoral student, completing my PhD in summer 2017. My Sustainability Project Officer role included educational/academic development, academic research activities, undergraduate teaching, events organisation and communications in the area of sustainability and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

I started my current role in May 2016 as an Academic Developer within the Learning and Professional Development Centre of the university. This role involves supporting academic staff across the university through a range of teaching and learning CPD activities, workshops and consultancy. My principle responsibilities include:

  • Programme Lead for the Higher Education Academy CPD Route to Fellowship;
  • Programme Lead for the Introduction to Teaching and Demonstrating (ITAD) course for doctoral researchers and sessional teaching staff;
  • Tutor on the PGCert Teaching and Learning in HE programme (TLHE); and,
  • Link staff member for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

My doctoral research is entitled: Exploring the interface of marketisation and education for sustainable development in English higher education.

Broadly speaking my research explores different roles and purposes of Higher Education in England and the extent to which different roles and purposes of the university are in tension (or not) with one another. More specifically, my thesis focused on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in English HE and the extent to which it is possible for the university sector to progress a more socially and environmentally sustainable and equitable future for people and planet, within the context of an increasingly marketised and competitive HE sector.

My empirical research investigated how increasing marketisation has influenced the pursuit, practice and development of ESD within England’s HE sector since the mid-2000s through exploring a range of contradictions/challenges, as well as synergies/opportunities (both practical and ideological) presented to the ESD agenda within the prevailing marketised context. Data for the thesis was collected through 54 semi-structured interviews with relevant professionals across a range of HEIs and HE organisations and bodies (including HEFCE, the HEA, the QAA and the NUS). I completed my PhD in summer 2017.

I am currently writing three papers from my thesis for publication in 2018/19.

Publications

Potter, J. and Bessant, S. (2018) Collating evidence and writing reflectively about your practice. In: Forthcoming SEDA Special: https://www.seda.ac.uk/specials

Bessant, S., Robinson, Z. P. and Ormerod, R. M. (2017). Neoliberalism, new public management and the sustainable development agenda of higher education: history, contradictions and synergies. In: Henderson, J., Hursh, D. and Greenwoood, D. (Eds.). Neoliberalism and Environmental Education. Routledge: UK.

Bessant, S. (2015). The marketisation of English Higher Education and the sustainability agenda: contradictions, synergies and the future of Education for Sustainable Development. In: Education for Sustainable Development: Towards the Sustainable University. Plymouth University Pedagogic Research Institute and Observatory (PedRIO) Occasional Paper Number 9. Access paper here.

Bessant, S., Robinson, Z. P. and Ormerod, R. M. (2015). Neoliberalism, new public management and the sustainable development agenda of higher education: history, contradictions and synergies. Journal of Environmental Education Research. 21: 3 (pg. 417 - 432). 

Bessant, S. et al. (2013). Problem-Based Learning: A Case Study of Sustainability Education. Higher Education Academy. Access toolkit here.

Bessant, S. et al. (2013). Using problem-based learning for enhancing the sustainability literacy of university students. E.G. Magazine - Global to Local Foundation. Access article here.

Conference Presentations

Bessant, S. (2017) Reconciling social and environmental roles and purposes of higher education within the marketisation context. Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) Annual Conference. Celtic Manor, Newport, UK, December 2017.

Bessant, S. (2017) Can we reconcile sustainability roles and purposes of Higher Education within the marketisation context? Keele University's Sustainability Research Network (KUSRN) Seminar Series AND Keele Management School Accounting Seminar Series, Keele University, UK, November 2017.

Bessant, S. (2015). The Marketisation of English Higher Education and the Sustainability Agenda: contradictions, synergies and the future of Education for Sustainability. Education for Sustainability in Higher Education - Achievements and Prospects Conference. Plymouth University, UK, January 2015. Bessant_Plymouth_Jan2015

Bessant, S. (2014). Inspiring Future Generations to Care About Future Generations: Educating for sustainability and sustainable futures in English universities. Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) Newer Researchers Conference. Celtic Manor, Newport, UK, December 2014. Bessant_SRHE_Dec2014

Bessant, S. (2014). The Marketisation of English Higher Education and the Sustainability Agenda: contradictions, synergies and the future of Education for Sustainable Development. Keele University's Sustainability Research Network (KUSRN) Seminar Series. Keele University, UK, June 2014. Bessant_KUSRN_June2014

Bessant, S. (2014). The Role of PhD Students in Driving Institutional ESD and Sustainability Research. Higher Education Academy's Workshop and Seminar Series 2013/2014. University of Bristol, UK, May 2014. Bessant_Bristol_May2014

Bessant, S. and Tomkinson, C. B. (2013). Hybrid-PBL for Sustainability Education. Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) Annual Conference. Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia, Canada, June 2013. Bessant_Tomkinson_STLHE_June2013

Bessant, S. and Tomkinson, C. B. (2013). Hybrid Problem-Based Learning: Getting to grips. Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship Scheme Project Workshops. Keele University, London South Bank University, The University of Gloucestershire AND Gylndwr University, 2013. Access slides here.

Get in touch with me via:

  • Email
  • Twitter @SophieBessant1
  • LinkedIn
  • ResearchGate
  • Academia.edu