Dr Richard Waller

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About me

I originally studied Sociology and Politics at what was then Bristol Polytechnic, and after a year as an NUS sabbatical officer joined the civil service through their graduate recruitment scheme. I left to re-train as an FE college lecturer at Cardiff University, and held a number of p/t teaching roles in FE (mainly Sociology and Access to HE) and HE (including on UWE's Sociology degree) 1994-2003. I also worked p/t in the University of Bristol's Widening Participation Office, helping get more mature students into the university. I completed my MSc Sociology in 2001, and then began a PhD on a full-time bursary, a study of adults returning to education as mature students and the impact it had on their lives. 

I joined UWE's Faculty of Education in a full-time Senior Lecturer role in 2003, completing my PhD as a part-time student in 2006. I was promoted to Director of Lifelong Learning in 2009, and Associate Head of Dept in 2011. In 2012 I was appointed Associate Professor of the Sociology of Education, and then Professor of Education and Social Justice from January 2022. I co-lead the Equity and Education strand of the school Education and Childhood Research Group, and jointly lead our PhD and Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD) programmes. I co-founded and co-convened UWE's Education Research Network (ERNie) which ran 2016-2020, and am now on the Advisory Group of UWE's Higher Education Pedagogies, Policy and Practice (HEPPP) research network. I led UWE's Education Unit of Assessment submission to both REF2014 and REF2021. 

I have sole- or co- authored or edited six books (with three more in production), 29 peer reviewed journal articles and nine book chapters. I am on the editorial board of three journals, and until mid-2022 was both a Trustee and a Public Engagement Director of the British Sociological Association, having previously served for three years as Publications Director. I have also been Education Study Group co-convenor and conference stream co-ordinator for the BSA. 

I sit on UWE's Access and Participation Plan Monitoring Group, and the Academic Advisory Board of the Network for Evaluating and Researching University Participation Interventions (NERUPI), and the board of Future Quest. I've co-chaired the regional cross-university Widening Participation Research Cluster since 2011. Each of these roles enable me to influence university admissions and support processes for students from disadvantaged backgrounds on both a local and national level. 

I have successfully supervised 21 doctoral students to completion, and examined 26 theses as an internal or external examiner. I am currently supervising two PhD and five EdD candidates, and regularly act as one of UWE's Independent Chairs for doctoral vivas. I have mentored less experienced research colleagues across a range of UWE and national schemes.

When not working I like to relax by cooking, attending music and comedy gigs, fly fishing and watching sport, especially football, and in particular Spurs, where I hold a season ticket (although watching Spurs hasn't been very relaxing for several years!).

Area of expertise

Post-compulsory education; Sociology of Education; Student experience/s; Qualitative research methods; Identity; Education and social class; Education and gender; Masculinty and social class; Adult education teacher training; Professional identities in education; Education policy; Graduate employability; Educational transitions.


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