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Professor Penny Jane Burke

Director, Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education and Global Innovation Chair of Equity

Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Ed.

Subtle processes of exclusion and marginalization

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Equity is not only about lifting concrete barriers but is also about addressing historical exclusions and subtle processes in which the knowledge, experiences and cultures of some communities across the world have been marginalized and ignored, whilst others have been privileged and given prestige and status.

Equity in higher education poses serious challenges because it is bound up with long-standing and deeply entrenched historical inequalities. Our frameworks for equity must be designed with great sensitivity to the profound impact of historically embedded inequalities.

Higher education is historically a space of exclusion - who is seen as having the right to higher education is attached to constructions of potential and capability that value certain histories, knowledge and ways of being and exclude others.

THE POLITICS OF DIFFERENCE AND RECOGNITION

We often think about equity as about providing ‘fair access’ and treating everyone the same. Research foregrounds that we need to be sensitive to difference in the ways we develop both research and practice.

It is imperative to challenge deficit constructions associated with equity. Categorizations are a useful device to identify an appropriate target group for the redistribution of resources, but also contribute to the perpetuation of social divisions and hierarchies through reducing that person or group to one aspect of identity, often in ways that reinforce stigma.

Research has the capacity to shed light on and thus challenge the damaging cycles of misrecognition and misrepresentation that serve to reproduce deep-seated inequalities in and through higher education. Through such research, we can develop inclusive, reflexive and participatory methodological and pedagogical frameworks that recognize, and work with, difference.

RESEARCH INFORMED POLICY AND PRACTICE

Research uncovers that locating equity units at the peripheries of higher education, and failing to ensure that equity strategies and initiatives are institutionally embedded and research-informed, often has the unfortunate effect of reproducing inequalities.

Detaching equity from the main work of the university fails to embed a culture of inclusivity into institutional structures, practices and values.

This legacy of misrecognition shapes views of who can be a university student and restricts our imaginations about what is possible. As a result, precious resources are wasted and opportunities are missed to redistribute opportunities and life chances to those groups and communities who have been historically under-represented in higher education on multiple levels.

Building equitable higher education is imperative to all of our futures - growing inequalities pose a threat to all of us on multiple levels and higher education has a key role to play in ensuring more socially just and thus peaceful and stable societies into the future. The power of higher education is immeasurable and profound.

We need a praxis-based approach to equity that brings interdisciplinary and critical research in dialogue with policy and practice, in reciprocal, interdisciplinary and collaborative frameworks.

Professor Penny Jane Burke in the media:

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Subtle processes of exclusion and marginalization

Professor Penny Jane Burke is the Co-Director of the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education at the University of Newcastle, Australia

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Career Summary

Biography

Professor Penny Jane Burke is Global Innovation Chair of Equity and is Director of the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education at the University of Newcastle, NSW.

Her personal experience of returning to study via an Access to Higher Education (Enabling) program has deeply shaped her tenacious commitment to equity in higher education over the past 20 years. She was awarded a full-time Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) PhD studentship from 1998-2001 to study student equity, and upon completion of her PhD (University of London), her first sole-authored book Accessing Education effectively widening participation was published in 2002 by Trentham Books.

Following this, she has generated over $2,500,000 in research funding and has published extensively in the field of equity and social justice in education. Her authored books also include Reconceptualising Lifelong Learning: Feminist Interventions (Burke and Jackson, 2007), The Right to Higher Education: Beyond widening participation (Burke, 2012) and Changing Pedagogical Spaces in Higher Education (Burke, Crozier and Misiaszek, 2017, Routledge) 

As recipient of the prestigious UK Higher Education Academy’s National Teaching Fellowship award in 2008, Professor Burke has been deeply committed to the development of high quality educational opportunities for students from under-represented backgrounds through research, practice and professional development and she has been keynote and invited speaker at numerous high profile events across the globe. 

As a global leader in the field of equity in higher education, she has been invited to contribute to volumes that bring together leading scholars in the field (e.g. Oxford Handbook of Higher Education Systems and University Management (forthcoming), Palgrave International Handbook of Higher Education Policy and Governance (2015), and Springer’s Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions (2016).

Professor Burke is Editor of the Taylor & Francis international peer-reviewed journal Teaching in Higher Education. She served as a member of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) Governing Council and Publications Committee (2012- 2016), and as a member of the editorial board of Gender and Education (2010 – 2014). She was an ESRC panel member of the ‘Future of Higher Education’ steer for the ESRC Large Grant and Research Centre competition, and is an ongoing member of the ESRC Peer Review College.

Professor Burke has also held the post of Professor of Education at University of Sussex (leading Education for the Research Excellence Framework, 2013), Professor of Education at the University of Roehampton (Director of the Centre of Educational Research, in Equalities, Policy and Pedagogy) and Reader in Education at the Institute of Education, University of London (where she was Chair of the Widening Participation Committee, and Head of School, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies).


Qualifications

  • PhD, University of London
  • Bachelor of Education, College of North East London
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Middlesex University
  • Master of Education, University of London

Keywords

  • access and student experience
  • community wellbeing
  • culture and agency
  • governance
  • policy
  • practice

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
130103 Higher Education 50
130199 Education Systems not elsewhere classified 50

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Director, Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education and Global Innovation Chair of Equity University of Newcastle
Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Ed.
Australia
Director, Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education and Global Innovation Chair of Equity University of Newcastle
Academic Division
Australia

Invitations

Contributor

Year Title / Rationale
2007 Gender, Access and Participation in Higher Education
Invited contribution to “Three Dean Conference”, University of Melbourne.

Keynote Speaker

Year Title / Rationale
2015 Re/Imagining Higher Education Pedagogies: Gender, Emotion and Difference
International Gender and Education Association conference
2015 Trans/forming Pedagogical Spaces in Challenging Times
National Association of Enabling Educators Australia
2014 A Discussion on Access and Widening Participation
Race and Ethnicity and Higher Education, Runnymede Trust
2014 Changing Pedagogical Spaces: Difference, Diversity & Inclusion
Universities Association for Lifelong Learning annual conference
2013 Power, Politics and Pedagogic Possibilities
Revisioning the Widening Participation Agenda in Higher Education: Purpose, Policies, Pedagogies and Practice conference
2013 Examining the Im/possibilities of Widening Participation
Centre for Social & Educational Research Across the Lifecourse conference on Social Justice in Education
2012 Developing Participatory Pedagogies in Higher Education
Swedish Network for Educational Development annual conference
2012 The Right to Higher Education: Access, Participation and Gendered Subjectivities
Paulo Freire Forum Biannual Conference
2012 The Right to Higher Education Widening Participation and Equal Opportunities
Annual conference
2011 Developing Inclusive Pedagogical Practices
National Conference on Diversity and Equity
2011 Equity in HE Admissions
National Conference on Higher Education
2011 Developing Participatory Pedagogies
International Conference on Widening Participation in Higher Education
2010 Deconstructing the discourses of standards and widening participation
National Widening Participation bi-annual conference
2010 Lifelong Learning and the New Agenda for Widening Participation
University Association for Lifelong Learning conference
2009 Accessing Higher Education: Gendered Identities and Participation
International conference on postcompulsory educational pathways and transitions, AVETRA.
2008 Identity, Access and Lifelong Learning
Department of Education seminar series
2007 Lifelong Learning & Widening Participation
Conference on Understanding the Education Sector
2007 Critiques of Widening Participation Policy and Practice
2007 Researching Widening Participation
Keynote speaker and seminar leader to audience of arts lecturers on developing research on widening participation.
2007 Reconceptualising Pedagogical Practices: Issues and Challenges
Annual Learning and Teaching Symposium
2007 Social Inclusion in Higher Education, UK/India Policy Dialogue
Keynote lecture for this 3 day policy dialogue event, bringing together academics and policy-makers to discuss ways of developing strategies for widening participation in HE. I also led the working group of developing a research strategy for collaboration between India and UK on HE pedagogy.
2006 Theorising Higher Education: Critical Perspectives

Conference: Theorising Higher Education Organisations: Critical Approaches

6 day workshop on Researching Higher Education: Qualitative Approaches for the academic staff of  Instituto de Ciencias Sociales Administracion

2001 The experiences of access students
Access to Higher Education forum
2001 Access to What and For Whom’? Women's Experiences as Mature Students
One day conference bringing together colleagues working in the field of access to higher education.
1998 Celebrating Adult Learning National Adult Learner's Week
Made the welcoming address and held workshops as guest of honour
1997 Access… Is It Really Working?

Participant

Year Title / Rationale
2007 Saudi Arabian Higher Education

Speaker

Year Title / Rationale
2016 Teaching Inclusively: changing pedagogical spaces
Teaching and Learning conference 2016
2015 Access and Widening Participation in Higher Education
Society of Research in Higher Education 50th Anniversary Colloquium
2014 Teaching Inclusively: Changing Pedagogical Spaces
Teaching and Learning conference
2014 Exploring Social Context in Educational Research
Postgraduate Conference
2014 Transforming Pedagogical Spaces: Knowledge, Becoming and Belonging
European Conference on Education
2014 The Right to Higher Education: Reconceptualising Widening Participation
2014 Education and Social Mobility: Dreams of Success
Book launch Kate Hoskins and Bernard Barker
2013 The Right to Higher Education: Pedagogies, Difference and Misrecognition
Seminar of the Paulo Freire Centre
2013 Reconceptualising Access to Higher Education: The Politics and Practices of Misrecognition
Seminar of Collaboration for the Advance of Medical Education Research and Assessment
2012 Identity, gender and access to lifelong learning
Oxford Learning Institute Public seminar series
2012 Examining the Im/possibilities of Widening Participation
WP seminar series
2012 Examining the Im/possibilities of Widening Participation
SRHE HE Policy Network: Changing Expectations of Universities and the Role of the State: A Historical and Contemporary Analysis
2010 Subject/ed to Widening Participation: On Be(com)ing a Postgraduate Student
BERA HE SIG seminar
2010 Art for a Few

Institute for Policy Studies in Education, ‘Who fits in the Creative World’ Seminar.

Presented with Jackie McManus.

2010 Art for a Few
Brighton University, Goldsmiths College, Central St Martins and Kings College London.
2009 Developing innovative assessment for professional development and widening participation
National conference in the Centre for Work-based Learning
2009 Social Justice in Higher Education
Higher education seminar series
2009 Widening Participation: Identity, Difference and In/equality
Higher Education Policy and Practice Seminar series
2007 Possible transformatory and inclusive practices to challenge exclusion in HE
Seminar on widening participation
2007 Men Accessing Education: Gendered Aspirations and Choices
TLRP/ESRC seminar on social diversity in higher education
1999 QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education)
Speaker at the national relaunch for Access to Higher Education.  Other speakers were Baroness Blackstone, Minister of State for Education and Employment and John Randall, Chief Executive QAA
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 11
Total funding $2,655,541

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20162 grants / $234,191

Faculty matching funding for UON PRC scheme 2016/17$200,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Project Team

Prof Max Smith; Prof Penny Jane Bourke, Prof Tracy Levett Jones; Dr Elena Prieto-Rodriguez; Dr Drew Miller; Dr Adam Lloyd; Dr Leanne Fray; Dr Jess Harris; Mr Hywel Ellis

Scheme Faculty funding
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

It's About Time: working towards more equitable understandings of the impact of time for students in higher education$34,191

Funding body: National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE)

Funding body National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE)
Project Team Professor Penny Jane Burke, Doctor Anna Bennett, Professor Jacqueline Stevenson
Scheme Research Grants Program
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1600939
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

20152 grants / $85,350

Wiser Women: Educational Aspirations and Participation of Indigenous Women of Reproductive Age in Regional, Rural and Remote Communities$55,660

Funding body: Leslie Family Foundation

Funding body Leslie Family Foundation
Project Team Professor Penny Jane Burke, Associate Professor Kym Rae, Professor Peter Radoll, Associate Professor Maree Gruppetta, Associate Professor Seamus Fagan, Mrs Sher Campbell
Scheme Research Project
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1501246
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

Capability, Belonging and Equity in Higher Education: Developing Inclusive Approaches$29,690

Funding body: National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE)

Funding body National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE)
Project Team Professor Penny Jane Burke, Doctor Anna Bennett, Associate Professor Seamus Fagan, Mrs Cathy Burgess, Aprof JANE Maguire, Associate Professor Erica Southgate, Doctor Shamus Smith
Scheme Research Grants Program
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1500360
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

20131 grants / $38,000

Pedagogic stratification and the shifting landscape in Higher Education$38,000

Funding body: Higher Education Academy

Funding body Higher Education Academy
Project Team

Jacqueline Stephens

Scheme Unknown
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2014
GNo
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE
UON N

20111 grants / $1,200,000

Educational Access for All in Serbia$1,200,000

Funding body: Tempus EU

Funding body Tempus EU
Project Team

Dr Gorana Djoric

Scheme Unknown
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2011
Funding Finish 2014
GNo
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE
UON N

20101 grants / $400,000

Formations of Gender and Higher Education Pedagogies$400,000

Funding body: Higher Education Academy

Funding body Higher Education Academy
Project Team

Penny Burke

Scheme Unknown
Role Lead
Funding Start 2010
Funding Finish 2012
GNo
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE
UON N

20091 grants / $400,000

Facilitating Transitions to Masters Level Learning$400,000

Funding body: Higher Education Academy

Funding body Higher Education Academy
Project Team

Professor David Scott

Scheme Unknown
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2009
Funding Finish 2011
GNo
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE
UON N

20071 grants / $155,000

Art for a Few: Exclusions & Misrecognitions in Art and Design Higher Education Admissions$155,000

Funding body: National Arts Learning Network

Funding body National Arts Learning Network
Project Team

Penny Burke

Scheme Unknown
Role Lead
Funding Start 2007
Funding Finish 2009
GNo
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE
UON N

20061 grants / $48,000

Developing innovative assessment approaches for work-based learning and widening participation$48,000

Funding body: Institute of Education

Funding body Institute of Education
Project Team

Penny Burke

Scheme Centre for Teaching and Learning
Role Lead
Funding Start 2006
Funding Finish 2007
GNo
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE
UON N

20041 grants / $95,000

Masculinities and Educational Participation: Men Returning To Study$95,000

Funding body: Economic and Social Research Council

Funding body Economic and Social Research Council
Project Team

Penny Burke

Scheme Unknown
Role Lead
Funding Start 2004
Funding Finish 2006
GNo
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE
UON N
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed9
Current9

Total current UON EFTSL

PhD1.35

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2017 PhD The Stories Behind the Figures: Successes Occurring for Enabling Students That the Data isn't Showing. Is it Time to Revisit the Definition of 'Success' in Higher Education to be More Inclusive? PhD (Sociology & Anthropology), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2017 PhD Looking Beyond `Resilience' in Bridging the Divide between Leaving Care and Higher Education PhD (Sociology & Anthropology), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2016 PhD Decolonising the `mind¿ through (re)conceptualisations of knowledge: student engagement with Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander knowledges in higher education. PhD (Sociology & Anthropology), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2016 PhD It Takes a Village: Uncovering the Hidden Work in Online Program Development PhD (Sociology & Anthropology), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2015 PhD Aspiration: Cultural Capacity or Cognitive Skill Set? PhD (Education), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2014 PhD Heterodox forms of university ownership/control, governance, financing and organisation structure Education, Unknown Co-Supervisor
2013 PhD An enquiry into english for academic purposes practioners' views about their professional identities within higher education Education, Unknown Principal Supervisor
2013 PhD Space and identity: Undergraduate students living in local community Education, Unknown Principal Supervisor
2009 PhD Quality assurance in Higher Education in Bahrain Education, Unknown Principal Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2016 PhD Discovering self, disarming shame. The Collegiate experience of the daughters of lone mothers in the UK and US Education, University of Sussex Principal Supervisor
2014 PhD Internationalisation of Higher Education in Ghana Education, Unknown Principal Supervisor
2013 PhD Pedagogical experiences and identities in primary mathematics Education, Unknown Principal Supervisor
2013 PhD Enhancing graduate opportunities: have employability enhancements aimed at increasing employability helped graduates obtain a graduate level job? Education, Unknown Principal Supervisor
2011 PhD Power, pedagogy and English studies Education, Unknown Principal Supervisor
2011 PhD Exploring 'what works': a feminist post-structuralist critique of the cognitive-behavioural programmes run by the National Probation Service Education, Unknown Principal Supervisor
2011 PhD Growing to know: Success of minority ethnic boys Education, Unknown Principal Supervisor
2010 PhD International student identities in Higher Education Education, Unknown Principal Supervisor
2007 PhD Assessment practices in Higher Education Education, Unknown Principal Supervisor
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Research Collaborations

The map is a representation of a researchers co-authorship with collaborators across the globe. The map displays the number of publications against a country, where there is at least one co-author based in that country. Data is sourced from the University of Newcastle research publication management system (NURO) and may not fully represent the authors complete body of work.

Country Count of Publications
United Kingdom 19
Australia 7
China 1
United States 1
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News

It's About Time report cover

University deadlines affecting student engagement

April 28, 2017

A new report shows many equity students in higher education are challenged by institutional expectations about time, with time management impacted by the competing imperatives of study, work and personal commitments.

Image of Professor Penny Jane Burke

"Higher Education was life saving for me"

November 25, 2016

For White Ribbon Day 2016, UON's Professor Penny Jane Burke, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education features in the Newcastle Herald speaking about the transformative power of education and how her life story inspired her son to make an award-wining film Still Waters.

Professor Penny Jane Burke

Position

Director, Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education and Global Innovation Chair of Equity
Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Ed.
Academic Division

Contact Details

Email pennyjane.burke@newcastle.edu.au
Phone + 61 2 4921 6538

Office

Room IDC.214
Building IDC Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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