Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Religious/Theological Education Comparative and International Education Education in Developing Countries Post/Anti-colonial Critiques of Education Indigenous Education Distance Education Mental Health and Education

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Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

I am a qualitative researcher in social sciences and have particular expertise in Historical, Comparative, Phenomenological, Grounded Theory and Ethnographic research approaches/paradigms. Being new  as an academic in the UK, my research was entered into the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) and was also included in REF 2021.

In my research, I adopt a number of theoretical perspectives:  (a) Critical Theory and Subaltern Discourses in historical and sociological spaces (Antonio Gramsci), (b), Phenomenological Approaches to the study of religion (Ninian Smart), (b) Post/Anti-Colonial Approaches to contemporary education in Africa (George Sefa Dei), (c) Critical Perspectives on Policy and Practice in Education (Stephen Ball), (d) Selective Tradition (Michael Apple) and (e) Realist Evaluation (Stephen Dugaid & Ray Pawson) and Risk Theory (Ulrich Beck).

I teach, research, publish, supervise postgraduate research (MEd/MSc/MA/MPhil and PhD) projects in any of the following areas:

  • Religious and Moral Education
  • Mental Health and Education
  • Sociology of Education
  • Education in Developing Countries
  • Comparative and International Education
  • Indigenous Studies and Education
  • Teacher Education and Professional Learning
  • Prison Education
  • Missiology/Church History (Seventh-day Adventist)
  • African History

I have examined a doctoral thesis on the topic: Subjective Experience of Living with Chronic Illness. I am the lead supervisor for two PhD students, secnd supervisor for four PhD and  assessor for nine PhD students. To date, I have successfully supervised to completion one PhD student.  

Current PhD Students

       Lead (Main) supervisor

  • Jayakumar Chinnasamy: (UK) ‘Educators’ Perspectives on Internationalisation in Scottish Higher Education through the lens of Beck’s Cosmopolitanism’ 
  • Abdullah Bhuiyan (from Bangladesh): English Education of Indigenous People in Bangladesh.
  • Ichraf Abdi (from Algeria): An Exploration of Female Students Wellbeing in Algerian Higher Education.
  • Nor Ehouda Zenati (from Algeria): Policy-Making in Scottish and Algerian Higher Education.
  • Mehdjouba Ghezali (from Algeria): Teachers and teaching in Algerian prisons: An exploratory study.
  • Samson Oyerinde Oladejo (from Nigeria):  Free but Unattainable: A Risk Society Analysis of Young People in Urban Poor Areas and Issues of (In)access to Universal Basic Education (UBE) in Lagos.
  • Hanane Belaidi (from Algeria): The Linguistic Repertoires of Algerian Secondary School Teachers: A Bourdieusian Perspective.

PhD/DProf Second Supervisor

  • Ikram Boukhetala (from Algeria) tbc
  • Nasrin Sultana (From Bangladesh): Distributed leadership and inclusive education in Bangladesh.
  • Mojolaoluwa Opeyemi Alabi (from Nigeria): Technical and vocational education in Nigeria.
  • Amina Abdessalam (from Algeria): Intercultural competence amongst study abroad students.
  • Tamara Horsburgh (from USA/UK): The Impact of Holding the Christian Theology of Embodiment for Christian Believers Diagnosed with the Onset of Dementia: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (DProf).

 PhD Assessor

  • Ioannis Makris (Greek - EU): Technology education
  • Meriem Abid: Cultural and Pedagogical Implications of the Second Generation Curriculum on Middle School Pupils in Algeria (case study southwest of Algeria) (started June 2018/2019)
  • Fekih Miloud (Algerian): Dyslexia within the ESL context (graduated)
  • Laura Wilson (Australian/Scottish): Internationalisation of Higher Education: From the perspective of the educator  (had viva)
  • Nawel Mansouri (Algerian): The use of a weblog storytelling to develop creative writing among Algerian EFL students 
  • Nawal Ouchene (Algerian): Investigation of Cultural Aspects in Algeria Secondary School Textbook “New Prospects 
  • Kazi Nabila (Bangladeshi) – title tbc (Immigration Status: Tier 4 – Non-EU) – scaled to MPhil.
  • Meriem Abid  (Algerian) – Teachers’ perspectives on values that underpin the teaching of English as Foreign Language in the Algerian EFL middle schools (second generation) curriculum - (Immigration Status: Tier 4 – Non-EU)
  • Shaddai Tembo (British) – Heteronormativity in Early Years Practice - identifying how heteronormativity manifests, and is sustained, through different spaces of childcare practices in ECEC settings in Scotland (local student on UWS studentship)
  • Houda Aggoun (Algerian) - Understanding family separation in the experiences of Algerian students and families whose children take PhD studies in the UK using the concept of emotional labour. (Immigration Status: Tier 4 – Non-EU)

Masters Dissertation Supervision

  • Lynn Nisbet: Exploring significant aspects of the Seasons for Growth programme: perspectives of individuals in positive destinations(completed 2019)
  • Emily Buckland: Teacher Stress in an International Secondary School in Hong Kong: A Case Study (Completed 2020)
  • Michael White: The Potential for Brief Mindfulness-Based Reduction Training in Dealing with Stress for Call Centre Advisers within the UK Banking Industry (on-going)
  • Louise Smith: title tbc
  • Gordon Powrie: School Refusal (on-going)
  • Mirjam Duvivié: Loneliness and young people in Austria in the context COVID-19 (on-going)
  • Lynn S. Byers: A comparative analysis of two Early Intervention Programmes Supporting Young Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder 

Prestige and Contribution

    • High quality published research:  entered into the UK’s prestigious Research Exercise Framework (REF) in 2014 and in 2021. 

    • Quality teaching and student support across academic programmes both undergraduate and postgraduate, including doctoral research.

    • Effective execution of the role of Postgraduate Research Coordinator in the School of Education.

    • Key contribution to a research culture in the School of Education by initiating and coordinating joint monthly research colloquium for Postgraduate Research Student and academic staff.

    • Development and management of a niche postgraduate programme: MSc Mental Health and Education

    • Development and management of one of the core undergraduate modules (Society and Lifestyles) on the very successful BA Education programme.

    • Deputising the Assistant Dean (Research, Enterprise and International) at the university’s Research Enterprise Advisory Committee (REAC)

    • Core member of UWS’ Doctoral College Board

    • University-wide contribution as Judge at the UWS annual Learning, Teaching and Research Conference

    • Academic link for visiting research fellows in the School of Education since 2014

    • Internationally recognised expert in school-based Religious Education

    • Deputy editor, British Journal of Religious Education, flagship journal in the field

    • Lead editor (under-contract) The Handbook of Religious Education in the Global South 

    • Consulting editor, Journal of Psychology & Education (Ghana)

    • Membership of editorial boards: British Journal of Religious Education, International Higher Education Teaching and Learning  and Malawi Journal of Education & Development

    • Peer-reviewer for 11 international academic journals

    • Chairperson, Further and higher Education, Scotland-Malawi Partnership - civil organisation

    • Trustee - Dr David Livingstone Trust - civil organisation
    • PhD and Masters supervision - and to completion

    • Viva examination of PhD students

    • Research collaboration and grant application experience

    • Chairing PhD vivas

    • Chairing international conference sessions

    • Erasmus scholar, University of Malta, Malta (2017) and Absalon University College, Denmark, Denmark (2019)

    • Invited guest speaker: Inaugural Frederick Ofosu lecture in Malta attended by the state president (2017)

    • Invited panellist:  NSC Essentials - Collaborating with Other Scholars, 2019 CIES Conference, San Francisco, USA.

    • Member: ‘Research Strategy for Scottish Education Academic Reference Group’ (Scottish Government)

    • Membership of prestigious scholarly organisations such as the Royal Historical Society (RHS), Comparative and International Education Society (CIES)  and Association of University Lecturers in Religious Education (AULRE)

    • Member (by invitation) of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values (ISREV)

Current research activities

  1. Book project (by contract with Bloomsbury): The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religious Education in the Global South (with a co-author from the USA) (2018-2021)
  2. Article: Prison educators: Who teaches in prison and why? (2019-2021)
  3. Article: Interdisciplinarity and religious education: a helpful or destructive relationship? (2019-2020)
  4. Possible book project (Routledge) with a colleague from Ghana: Misclusion of Religion in Religious Education in Malawi and Ghana (2018-2021)
  5. Book: Marvelous Malamulo Mission: A Historical Study, 1902-2002 (2019-2022)
  6. Book: Christians of the Commandments: A Socio-Historical Study of Seventh-Adventism in Malawi (2019-2025)
  7. Book: BaKgatla ba ga Mmanaana of Botswana: A Political History, c.1600-1940 (2019-2025)

Area of academic expertise - outline

I have expertise in the following areas: (a) Education in Comparative Contexts, (b) Education in Developing Countries, (c) Prision Education (d) Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, (d) Post-modern approaches to school-based Religious Education, (e) African/Church History, (f) Mental Health and Education, (g) Post/Anti Colonial Critiques of Education, (h) Indegenous Education and (i) Theology, Missiological and Pastoral Studies

Desired research direction

Grant application: (a) "Improving Quality of Higher Education in Malawi in the Context of UK NARIC Assessment" - Scottish Goverment Malawi Grant and (b) "Who teaches in Prison,  Why and What Qualifies them: Towards the Professionalisation of Prison Education in Scotland - A GTCS Aspiration

Develop research links with scholars from USA (California), Africa (Malawi, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana) and across the UK (Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland) towards bidding for a major funded project evaluating the effectiveness of prison education in comparative contexts.

Through my research engender a paradigm shift towards the professionalisation of prison education through the creation of a new qualification pathway in teacher education (professional graduate diploma in education in prison studies) recognised by the General Teaching Council for Scotlsnd (GTCS).

Continue to research on religion and education in the UK (Scotland) and Africa (Malawi).

Continue to attract PhD students in the areas of distance education, teacher education, curriculum reform, religious education, indigenous studies, higher education and prison education.

Target collaborative organisations

Scottish Prison Service

Schools in Scotland

Universities in sub-Saharan Africa

Third sector providers of prison education in the UK

California Correctional Department and other international Prison Services (Malawi, Botswana, Kenya and Ghana)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

External positions

External research/postgraduate supervisor for Adventist Universality of Africa

2015 → …


  • BL Religion
  • L Education (General)
  • H Social Sciences (General)


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