Sophie Bessant

Title: Academic Developer
Phone: 01782 733518
Location: 60 The Covert, Room 10
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 PhD student. I completed my PhD in summer 2017. My Sustainability Project Officer role included undergraduate teaching (primarily on the BSc Environment and Sustainability programme), research, events organisation, communications and campus projects 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 the design and delivery of teaching and learning development/enhancement activities, workshops and consultancy for staff across the university. I am the Programme Lead for the Higher Education Academy (HEA) CPD Route to Fellowship, the LPDC link staff member for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HumSS) and a tutor on the PGCert Teaching and Learning in HE programme (TLHEP). I am a Fellow of the HEA.

My doctoral research is entitled: Exploring the interface of marketisation and education for sustainable development (ESD) in English higher education. My thesis focuses on the ideological as well as the practical relationship, between marketisation and ESD in English universities, exploring both the contradictions/challenges and the synergies/opportunities presented to the ESD agenda within the prevailing marketised HE context, and how increasing marketisation has influenced the pursuit, practice and development of ESD within England’s HE sector. Data for the thesis was collected through 54 semi-structured interviews with relevant professionals across a range of HEIs and HE organisations and bodies. I completed my PhD in summer 2017.


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.E.F., 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. (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 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, Gylndwr University, 2013. Access slides here.

Get in touch with me via:

  • Email
  • Twitter @SophieBessant1
  • LinkedIn
  • ResearchGate