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Dr Justine Mercer

Job Title
Associate Professor
Education Studies
02476 1 51197
Research Interests
  • Leadership and management in Higher Education
  • Leadership and gender in Higher Education
  • Cross-cultural understandings of educational leadership
  • The dynamics of insider research
  • The industrial relations of educational institutions
  • Human resource management (HR) in education

My own doctoral thesis investigated the power dynamics inherent in faculty appraisal, using a grounded theory approach. Since then, I have conducted research into the impact of CPD in schools; English and Russian understandings of educational leadership, and the role of the manager-academic in Higher Education.


I joined the University of Warwick in January 2010, and, for many year, led the MA in Educational Leadership (Teach First). Prior to this, I worked for five years at the University of Leicester in the School of Education, and for 15 years before that, I worked as a British Council project manager, Ministry of Education advisor, and Higher Education lecturer in Thailand, Turkey, China, Hungary, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Not surprisingly, I am particularly interested in cross-cultural understandings of educational leadership, and was fortunate enough to lead two partnerships with Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia under the auspices of the British Degrees in Russia (BRIDGE) programme.

I was an elected Council member of the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS). This is the foremost professional association for Educational Leadership in the UK and I would urge anyone with an interest in Educational Leadership to join. You gain access to a wide range of excellent events and to two of the best journals in the field, namely, Educational Leadership and Management (EMAL) and Management in Education.

My publications to date include articles on Higher Education leadership, cross-cultural collaboration, and the dynamics of insider-research. In 2010, I co-authored a Routledge book on Human Resource Management in Education and this remains the subject about which I am most passionate. Currently, I am writing up joint research into industrial relations in the HE sector and the UK professoriate.

I have supervised 15 doctoral students to completion (eight PhDs and seven EdDs). Nine of them conducted their research overseas (in Barbados, Kenya, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Vietnam). I have also worked with school business managers and middle leaders in the independent sector.

I have been the External Examiner for the EdDs run by the University of Birmingham, the University of Lincoln, and the British University in Dubai. I was also the External Examiner for the MSc Management and Leadership in Education run by the University of Strathclyde.

I believe a teacher's primary role is to ask challenging questions, rather than provide comprehensive answers, and I am particularly interested in helping learners deepen their understanding of what constitutes rigorous research. I also appreciate how hard it can be to juggle part-time study with other professional and personal commitments, having myself completed two MAs and a doctorate whilst holding down a demanding full-time job and raising three children.

Title Funder Award start Award end
Leadership Development for College Principals in the Further Education Sector British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) 01 Jan 2014 31 Dec 2014
Small Scale Research Award 2012: The Devil in the Detail? A comparative analysis of Teachers working conditions in different types of schools British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) 01 Sep 2012 31 Aug 2014
Leadership Foundation (lead: Leeds): Professional academic leadership in turbulent times: the professoriates perspectives Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) 01 Mar 2012 28 Feb 2013