Sarah Hayes

Professor, Dr

  • Honorary Professor, CLIPP

    Accepting PhD Students

    Personal profile


    Sarah Hayes is Professor of Education and Research Lead, in the School of Education at Bath Spa University, and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA). Previously Sarah was Professor of Higher Education Policy in the Education Observatory Research Centre, at University of Wolverhampton (2018-2022) and a Unit of Assessment Coordinator for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) for Education.

    Sarah is an Honorary Professor at Aston University, where she worked between 2009-2018. Her roles as a Senior Lecturer at Aston included Programme Director for Aston’s PG Diploma and Masters in Education. Prior to this, Sarah taught Sociology in the School of Languages and Social Sciences (LSS) at Aston and has also taught Computing in the Business School at University of Worcester. Sarah's research into Digital Society and  Education intersects across Sociology, Technology, Education and Linguistics. Sarah is the author of The Labour of Words in Higher Education (2019) and Postdigital Positionality (2021) , Co-Editor of Bioinformational Philosophy and Postdigital Knowledge Ecologies and an Associate Editor of the Springer Journal Postdigital Science and Education. Sarah has recently led 2 EPSRC funded projects: ‘Data and disadvantage: taking a regional approach towards Human Data Interaction (HDI) to inform local and national digital skills policies(2020-2021) and Extending Human Data Interaction (HDI) theory in partnership with the cross-sector community and international interdisciplinary researchers’(2021-2022). Impact from these projects is discussed in this funder showcase and is realised also through the publication of this edited book (2023): 

    Human Data Interaction, Disadvantage and Skills in the Community: Enabling Cross-Sector Environments for Postdigital Inclusion

    Sarah has edited several Special Issues and published many peer reviewed articles, books and chapters. Sarah has also published several Wonkhe articles and was commissioned by UK Parliament (2017-2018) to encourage stronger engagement of university lecturers with Parliamentary resources. She was commissioned too by the UK Quality Assurance Agency (2015) to write on MOOCs and Quality and achieved a SEDA/Jisc Institutional Change Leader Award (2015) for student partnership. Sarah has supervised both PhD and EdD students to completion, examined 7 doctorates and chaired 9 vivas.

    Research Interests

    My research interests include:

    • Sociology of Technology and postdigital cultures
    • Digital inclusion, digital poverty
    • Data driven systems and disadvantage
    • Corpus based Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of policy documents 
    • Cultural Political Economy and Positionality
    • Critical Pedagogy and teaching identity
    • Student-staff partnerships 


    PhD Sociology, Aston University

    MSc Educational Research, Lancaster University

    PG Cert in Higher Education, University of Worcester

    HNC in IT Management, University of Worcester

    BA (Hons) Art and Design, Herriot Watt University, Edinburgh

    Teaching Activity

    Programme Director for ME.d and PG Dip, CLIPP

    Teaching on PG Cert for HE

    Popular Culture

    Technology and Social Theory 

    Research Methods


    Since 2018, Joint Unit of Assessment Coordinator for the University of Wolverhampton Education submission to REF.

    Chair of Learning Technologies Management Group (LTMG) between 2014-2016

    Membership of Professional Bodies

    Principal Fellow of Higher Education Academy

    British Sociological Association

    American Educational Research Association 

    Vice Chair of Heads of E-Learning Forum (HELF) in 2017

    External positions

    External Examiner , Buckinghamshire New University

    2017 → …

    External Examiner, Birmingham City University

    Nov 2015 → …


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