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Home > Research > Researchers > Paul Trowler
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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Paul Trowler supervises 20 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Paul Trowler


Paul Trowler

County South

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YL

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1524 592879


Research overview

Change and the implementation of higher education policy particularly at institutional and departmental level. My research and evaluation work focuses especially on the significance of disciplinary and contextually-specific locations for leadership and change management. I have a particular interest in academic staff and organizational learning as they relate to the enhancement of teaching and learning in higher education.

PhD supervision

Higher education policy-making and policy implementation; The analysis of organisational and professional cultures in universitities, particularly as they relate to change-management processes; The reception and impact in differing social contexts of learning, teaching and assessment policies and practices; Discourse and identities in higher education; ethnographic research methodologies.

Research Interests

Paul is an elected Fellow of the Society for Research into Higher Education. He is a member of the Higher Education Academy and an active member of international organizations involved in higher education research and evaluation.

Paul was the main organizer for the first three Higher Education Close Up conferences. These are devoted to fine-grained research into higher education. Higher Education Close Up 4 was held in Cape Town in 2008 and Close Up 5 was held at Lancaster University in July 2010.http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/events/hecu5/index.htm. Paul delivered a keynote to the Higher Education Close Up 6 conference, held in Grahamstown, South Africa in July 2012. He is organizing the next Close Up conference, number 7, for July 2014 at Lancaster: www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/events/hecu7 .



I engage in research, evaluation and development work with universities and higher education funding and policy bodies across the world, most recently in South Africa, Sweden, Chile, Italy, Norway, Australia and Ireland.

I have Management Team responsibility for research across the Department of Educational Research and chair the Department's Research Committee.

Current Research

Current Research and Writing includes:

  • Recently completed four short e-books for doctoral students researching higher education.
  • 2012 Completed a jointly edited book on 'Academic Tribes and Territories in the 21st Century' - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tribes-Territories-21st-Century-Significance-International/dp/0415880629/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1324400585&sr=1-3
  • Forthcoming paper  Studies in Higher Education on Conceptualising Disciplines from Strong and Moderate Essentialist Positions
  • Just completed a three-year evaluation of a strategic development project in an English university
  • Research Director of here@lancaster - the Higher Education Research and Evaluation Centre.
  • Article on Research Practices in Art and Design for Higher Education Research, published in May 2013 in Higher Education Research and Development
  • Article on the use of theory in change processes in HE, in Tertiary Education and Management, June 2013
  • Currently writing on social practice-focused ethnographies of higher education

Paul and a colleague have recently completed the reports student engagement, funded by the HEA and the LFHE. These include a literature review, a summary of the evidential base, case studies, briefings for managers and policy makers and an interactive website on student engagement.

The latter can be found here:


Username: sakai.guest@gmail.com; password: welcome

Paul's Diary

Paul has been helping to launch here@lancaster through a series of national and international keynotes and events in Australia, Hungary, South Africa and the UK. Forthcoming events include:

  • Organizing the 7th Higher Education Close Up Conference, July 2014: www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/events/hecu7
  • Keynote on Student Engagement to Blackpool and the Fylde College University Centre inaugural teaching and learning conference, August 29 2013
  • Keynote on change processes in universities at the University of Derby, July 4 2013

Current Teaching

Policy, Change and Organisational Development module, Doctoral Programme, Educational Research (Convenor)

Technology Enhanced Learning Doctoral Programme methodology module

Supervisor to numerous PhD students

Research Director for the Department

Website for research students

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