School of Education
November 1, 2008
Dr. Penny Burke Promotes Future Collaborations Between the University of London Institute of Education and UC Irvine Department of Education
Dr. Penny Jane Burke is Reader in Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Her responsibilities include Chair of the Widening Participation (WP) Committee; Course Tutor for the MA in Higher and Professional Education and the MA in Lifelong Learning; and Module Leader of “Widening Participation: Policy and Practice”. From 2006 – 2008, she was Head of School of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies.
Dr. Burke has recently been awarded the Higher Education Academy’s 2008 National Teaching Fellowship. She serves on the editorial boards of the international journals Gender and Education and Teaching in Higher Education and is the WP Network Leader for the Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE).
Her sole-authored book, Accessing Education: Effectively Widening Participation (2002), which draws on her ESRC-funded ethnographic study of mature students’ experiences of accessing lifelong learning opportunities, has attracted significant press coverage and reviews in key educational journals. Her co-authored book Reconceptualising Lifelong Learning: Feminist Interventions (Burke and Jackson, 2007), published by Routledge, takes an innovative approach by weaving in fictional narratives to critique hegemonic discourses of lifelong learning and has been nominated for the 2008 Cyril O. Houle World Award for Literature in Adult Education.
Other recent publications draw on her ESRC-funded study exploring men’s access to higher education and how masculinities impact on higher educational aspiration, participation. and experience.
Dr. Burke has been invited to speak internationally, including in Mexico, India, and Australia and has been consulted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on their plans for a new higher education system. As the Institute’s ambassador for the US, Penny is exploring potential collaborations between the Institute of Education and the Department of Education at UC Irvine.
While completing her BA Honours degree at Middlesex University in Sociology and English as a mature “non-traditional” student, Dr. Burke became increasingly passionate about widening access to higher education and her dissertation focused on this subject. She progressed on to take the MA Women’s Studies and Education at the Institute of Education in 1997. In 1998, she was awarded the Cosmopolitan Woman of Achievement Award in Education, presented to her by Diana Warwick, Chief Executive of Vice Chancellors and Principles, and was invited to speak at several key national conferences about widening educational participation. She was awarded a full-time Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentship in 1998, and completed her PhD in August 2001 at the Institute of Education, University of London.
Dr. Burke’s research examines social inequalities and differences in the context of issues of access to and participation in higher education. Her interests include gendered and racialized identity formations, access to higher education, critical and feminist pedagogies and developing inclusive academic practices. She currently is directing a research project funded by the UK’s National Arts Learning Network (NALN), which examines admissions practices to undergraduate art and design courses in the context of higher education policy. Her ESRC-funded research on masculinities focuses on the complex processes involved when men, from different class and ethnic backgrounds, return to education through non-traditional access routes. This qualitative study seeks to uncover the interconnections between the men’s decisions to return to study, their educational experiences, their gendered identities and the policies and practices that might support or impede their educational participation.
Dr. Burke will leave Irvine at the end of December to join Roehampton University in London as Professor of Education in January 2009.