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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  • Source: Scopus

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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. My research was entered into both the 2014 and 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

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 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 and supervise Masters and PhD projects. I have experience in examining Masters dissertations and Doctoral theses both in the UK and overseas. I welcome masters and doctoral students whose research interests touch on the following areas:


  • Teacher Education and Professional Learning
  • Religious and Moral Education
  • Theological Education
  • Mental Health and Education
  • Sociology of Education
  • Education in Developing Countries
  • Comparative and International Education
  • Indigenous Studies and Education
  • Prison Education
  • Missiology/Church History

PhD Thesis Supervision – Completed

  • Jayakumar Chinnasamy: Educators’ Perspectives of Internationalisation in Scottish Higher Education: culture, identity, and constructions of Scottishness (2021).
  • Marjorie McCrory): Transition from school teacher to university academic: Exploring practices, values and identity within and between professional learning communities (2016).

Masters Dissertation Supervision - Completed

  • Lynn Nisbet: Exploring significant aspects of the Seasons for Growth programme: perspectives of individuals in positive destinations (2019)
  • Emily Buckland: Teacher Stress in an International Secondary School in Hong Kong: A Case Study (2020)
  • Michael White: The Potential for Brief Mindfulness-Based Reduction Training in Dealing with Stress for Call Centre Advisers within the UK Banking Industry (2021)
  • Gordon Powrie: An Exploration of School Refusal Among Young People in Scotland (2021)
  • Mirjam Duvivié: Loneliness among young people in Austria in the context of Covid-19 health crisis (2021)


Current PhD Students

Lead (Main) supervisor

  • Daudi Heriel Mrema (from Tanzania): A Critical Examination of Quality Assurance in Tanzania’s Higher Education: Challenges, Processes and Solutions (started Feb 2022).
  • Amira Lagha (from Algeria): Exploring the perceptions, attitudes, and practices of interdisciplinary collaboration in the ESP context: a case study of Algerian universities (started Nov. 2019)
  • Zeyneb Bouzaida (from Algeria): Impact of Islamic school experience on mainstream educational progress in Algeria (started Nov 2019)
  • Ichraf Abdi (from Algeria): Reading Anxiety among Algerian Postgraduate Students in an EFL Context (started February 2021/21).
  • Nor Elhouda Zenati (from Algeria): Policy-Making in Algerian and Scottish Higher Education: (started February 2019/20).
  • Mehdjouba Ghezali (from Algeria): Teachers and teaching in Algerian prisons: An exploratory study (started October 2019/20).
  • Samson Oyerinde Oladejo (from Nigeria): Discourses of Risk and (In)access to Free Basic Education in Nigeria with Special Reference to the Perspectives of Children and Young People in the Deprived Areas of Lagos (started 2017/18)
  • Hanane Belaidi (from Algeria): Linguistic Repertoires of Algerian Secondary School Teachers: A Bourdieusian Perspective (started 2017/18).


PhD Second Supervisor

  • Meriem Abid (from Algeria): Values and curriculum – Middle school Algeria (started June 2018)
  • Ikram Boukhetala (from Algeria): Creativity in primary education in Algeria (started 2020/2021).
  • Nasrin Sultana (From Bangladesh): A Critical Examination of how Bangladeshi Primary School Leaders Navigate Contested Leadership Spaces when Leading School Improvement Initiatives (started November 2020/2021)
  • Mojolaoluwa Opeyemi Alabi (from Nigeria): Unemployed Graduates’ use of Diversified Strategies in Developing Income Generation Portfolios in Nigeria (started 2017/18).
  • Amina Abdessalam (from Algeria): Intercultural competence amongst study abroad students (started 2015/16).
  • Tamara Horsburgh (from USA): The Impact of Holding the Christian Theology of Embodiment for Christian Believers Diagnosed with the Onset of Dementia: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (started 2014/15 – part-time DProf).


PhD Assessor

  • Nan Yang (from China): Teacher-student Interaction in the Context of College Classrooms: An Investigation of Teacher’s Oral Feedback to English Majors (started October 2021)
  • Chelle Oldham (Local UK): The Value of Education: a narrative of family choices and educational spaces
  • Ioannis Makris (Greek - EU): Technology education
  • Meriem Abid (Algerian): 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 - graduated
  • 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 down to MPhil – left programme – discontinued for lack of progress.
  • 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 (Local UK) – 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)

Prestige and Contribution

  • High quality published research:  entered into the UK’s prestigious Research Exercise Framework (REF) in 2014 and in 2021. 
  • Deputy Editor, British Journal of Religious Education, flagship journal in the field
  • Co-author: Religious Education in Malawi and Ghana (Routledge, 2021)
  • Lead editor: The Handbook of Religious Education in the Global South(Bloomsbury, 2022)
  • Co-guest editor for a number of high profile Special Issues.
  • Quality teaching and student support across academic programmes both undergraduate and postgraduate, including doctoral research.
  • Effective execution of the role of Postgraduate Research Coordinator (Director of Doctoral Research) in the Division of Education.
  • Effective execution of the role of research seminar convener in the Division of Education.
  • 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.
  • Member of UWS’ Doctoral College Board
  • Academic link for visiting research fellows in the School of Education since 2014
  • Internationally recognised expert in school-based Religious Education
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Co-chair of the Religion and Education SIG for the CIES, North America.
  • 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)
  • Contributor (by invitation) to academic blog: (a) prison education commissioned by the European Union: and (b) moral capital focusing on Malawi:



Current research activities


  1. Article: Prison educators: Who teaches in prison and why? (2021-2022)
  2. Article: Interdisciplinarity and religious education: a helpful or destructive relationship? (2021-2022)
  3. Book: Marvelous Malamulo Mission: A Historical Study, 1902-2002 (2019-2022)
  4. Book: Christians of the Commandments: A Socio-Historical Study of Seventh-Adventism in Malawi (2019-2025)
  5. 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 Development 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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