Professor Sarah Hayes

Sarah Hayes

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Sarah Hayes is an Honorary Professor at Aston University and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA). Sarah is Professor of Higher Education Policy in the College of Learning & Teaching (CoLT) at University of Wolverhampton. Previously Sarah was a Senior Lecturer at Aston University and 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 at University of Worcester. Sarah takes a critical pedagogical approach. Her research into Higher Education policy discourse intersects across Sociology, Technology and Education. Sarah’s new book, The Labour of Words in Higher Education is forthcoming (February, 2019) through Brill Sense Publishers:

Sarah is an Associate Editor of the Springer Journal Postdigital Science and Education: Sarah has edited several special issues, and has published articles, books and chapters through European Political Science, Open Review of Educational Research, Brill, Libri, Springer, Routledge and Higher Education Policy Institute. 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 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 retain's active research collaborations in LSS and is a member of the CCISC Research Centre.

Research interests

My research interests include:

  • Sociology of Technology and anthropology of digital cultures
  • Corpus based Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of policy documents 
  • Cultural Political Economy, global higher education reform and anthropology of policy
  • Critical Pedagogy and teaching identity
  • Student-staff partnerships and a critical approach towards student engagement 


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


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

  1. Future Approaches in Using Artistic Research from Human Experience: Multidisciplinary Approaches Across the Arts

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  2. Resisting the iron cage of 'the student experience'

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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  1. 11th International Conference on Networked Learning 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  2. American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2018 Annual Meeting

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  3. Parkway College, Singapore

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external academic institution

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