Dr Suanne Gibson

Dr Suanne Gibson

Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Education

Plymouth Institute of Education (Faculty of Arts & Humanities)


Programme Director for the BA Education Studies Course.

This role entails:

• Teaching across all years of the programme and also supervising PhD students.

• I am currently carrying out research into ‘Disability and Inclusion’ and ‘Higher Education learning experiences’.

• In my managerial role I organise and facilitate subject team and student rep meetings, extern examiner liaison meetings, carry out the annual programme review, support as mentor for new colleagues, review programme and management of paperwork necessary for QAA, manage new module proposals and subsequent revision of degree programme handbook, induction of new students, interviews with prospective students, assessment of UCAS and direct entrant applications, faculty open days and subject preview days.

• Using contacts external to Plymouth University to visit and speak with students and staff

Since 2010   Member of British Educational Studies Association

2011              Winner of UPSU Outstanding Personal Tutor Award

2012       Awarded HEA National Teaching Fellowship £10,000

2013              Involved in collective to develop an online UK Undergraduate Journal for Education Studies

2013        Awarded HEA International Scholarship £18,000

2013              Referee for International Journal of Inclusive Education

2013              Founder and co-ordinator of PEDRIO themed group- Critically Inclusive Pedagogies

2013              Nominated and Finalist in Plymouth University’s Vice-Chancellor’s Enterprise Awards

2013              Voted onto BESA executive committee


Academic and Professional Qualifications:

1995 BA (2.1Hons) Politics Queen’s University

1996 MPhil Russian and East European Studies Glasgow University

1998 PGCE History and Special Education Oxford University

2001 PhD Education management of Inclusive Education Oxford Brookes

Roles on external bodies

• Active member of the South West Regional Partnership for the development of Inclusive Practices.

• Established contacts in the wider community’s schools and respite centres.

• Via connections made I have been active in inviting external speakers to the faculty to speak with students and colleagues.

Teaching interests

I currently teach across all years on the BA EDST programme. My main area the Disability and Inclusion modules and all core moduels.

In 2002 and again 2003 successful application for grant and support for my teaching from HAECF ‘Active in Communities’ Fund. This funding assists student placements in EDST 108 and also covers costs of various meetings with placement contacts. I have also accessed via this funding an accreditation scheme for my students via university careers service and ‘Active in Communities’, upon successful completion of the module they receive a Volunteer Certificate. All of this strengthens the teaching and learning on this course.

Throughout first year core Education Studies modules I work closely with other colleagues. We use teaching methods such as team teaching during which we conduct peer observation.

I was successful in applying for a £5,000 research grant from HEA--ESCalate for use during academic year 2004/5. Research entitled: A critical study of current practice in undergraduate group work and its role in the development of graduate attributes, resulting in 2 conference papers. For academic year 2005/6 I was awarded a £5,000 University Teaching Fellowship Award-- research entitled: ‘A critical study of current practices in undergraduate group work, its role in the development of graduate attributes and skills (GAS) and the management of conflict’, resulting in 3 conference papers – national and international-- and contributing to my edited book with Continuum publication date September 2008. For 2007/8 I was awarded £5,000 University Teaching Fellowship Award-- research entitled: ‘An emerging voice: students’ experience of writing for publication in Education Studies. This has so far resulted in student publication with York University, and paper to be presented at BESA conference paper June 2008.

Research interests

Research interests in the fields of:

• Inclusive education theories, practices and policy- I have published with Sage/Paul Chapman, Learning Matters, the international academic journal Disability and Society.

I am currently editing a book for publication with Continuum 2008- Gibson, S. and Haynes, J. (Eds.) (2008), Engaging Education: Perspectives on Participation and Inclusion, London, Continuum

• Higher Education the Student experience especially looking at and critically assessing the benefits of ‘group work’ in the context of policy objectives, i.e. Graduate Attributes and Skills (G.A.S)

• Founder and Chair 2002-2005 ‘Inclusive Education’ Special Interest Group at the British Educational Research Association (BERA). http://www.bera.ac.uk/sigs/siglist.php

  • Founder, Co-convenor and member of Plymouth University Inclusion, Diversity and Social Justice research group.

Grants & contracts

September 2003 involved in cross faculty research group addressing issues of child mental health which was successful in obtaining £4670 grant from British Academy December 2003.

Successful in obtaining £5,000 grant from Escalate (http://www.escalate.ac.uk/) awarded 2004/5.

Teaching fellowship 2005/6

Teaching fellowship 2007/8

March 2009-June 2010 Real Ideas Organisation South West with Creative Partnerships: £10,000 research evaluation project.

HEA £5,000 grant awarded 2008/9 to be used 2009/10- National research project addressing students with disability and access in Higher Education.

Blandford, S., and Gibson, S. (2000), ‘A Poisoned Chalice?’, Times Education SEN Supplement, 14th July.

Gibson, S. (2001), Special Educational Needs Teacher’s Guide to the Internet, Bristol: Classroom Resources

Gibson, S. (2002), The first year of the student portal system at Plymouth University, anecdotes from the Faculty of Arts and Education, in, ETHOS, Plymouth University.

Blandford, S and Gibson, S. (2005), Managing Special Educational Needs in Primary and Secondary schools, London, Sage.

Gibson, S. (2006), ‘Beyond a ‘culture of silence’: inclusive education and the liberation of ‘voice’’, Disability and Society, Vol. 21, No. 4

Gibson, S and Brown, T. (2006), In Conversation with Suanne Gibson, in, The Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Education (Escalate) Newsletter, Issue 4, Spring.

 Gibson, S. (2007) ‘Book Review- Sage handbook of Special Education’, in British Education Research Journal, 33, 4, pp.629-630

Gibson, S and Knowler, H. (2007), The Joy of Meeting Pupil Needs through Developing Community, in, Hayes, D. (Ed.), Joyful Teaching and Learning in the Primary School, Exeter, Learning Matters.

Gibson, S. (2009), ‘Inclusion versusneo-liberalism: Empowering the ‘Other’’, in Gibsonand Haynes (Eds.) Perspectives on Participation and Inclusion:Engaging Education, London, Continuum.

Gibson,S. and Luxton, J. (2009), ‘Departure from the Library desk! One undergraduateprogramme’s story of their Subject Librarian’s evolving role’, in, SCONUL Focus, 45, pp41-44

Gibson,S. and Haynes, J. et al, (2009) ‘Cultures of knowledge, learning andassessment: an encounter between two education studies programmes’, in, Educational Futures, Vol.2 No.1,pp57-70.

Gibson,S. and Luxton, J. (2009), The impact ofan information literacy curriculum on undergraduate studentdevelopment and success: a critical analysis, Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, Vol.11, No.3, pp6-12.

Gibson, S and Kendall, L. (2010), Stories from School:Dyslexia and Learners’ Voices on factors impacting on achievement, Supportfor Learning, Vol. 25, No. 4, 187-193

Gibson,S. (2012), NarrativeAccounts of University Education: Socio-Cultural Perspectives of Students withDisabilities, Disability and Society , Vol. 27, No. 3, May 2012, 353–369

Gibson, S. (2013a), ‘Disability matters’ – The role of thepersonal tutor for inclusive teaching and learning, in Bilham, T. (Ed); NTFcollection: For the Love of Learning Basingstoke, Palgrave.

Gibson, S. (2013b), SEN and the question ofInclusive Education, in Curtis, W and Ward, S. (Eds); Education Studies an Issues Based Approach, London, Sage. 

Additional information

2004 British Educational Research Association – Manchester Metropolitan University

Managing Special Educational Needs (SEN) In the Mainstream School. The Role of the SEN Team.

2005 British Educational Research Association – University of Glamorgan

Student experiences of working in groups at undergraduate level. “Its just a load of GAS

2005 International Practitioner Research Conference and CARN --Fontys University, Utrecht.

Working with the contemporary undergraduate, group work and G.A.S

2006 Discourse Power and Resistance conference-- Manchester Metropolitan University. Engaging professionally with the unexpected in learning (Paper presented by Dr Tony Brown ESCALATE with Suanne Gibson as co-contributor)

2006 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning --- Washington, USA. Engaging professionally with the unexpected in learning (Paper presented by Dr Tony Brown ESCALATE with Suanne Gibson as co-contributor)

2007 British Education Studies Association conference Bath Spa University, Understanding and Responding to Conflict: the path of the Education Studies Undergraduate

2008  VC’sTeaching and Learning Conference -- University of Plymouth, Making connections and making an impact-tutoring the contemporary undergraduate of Education Studies

2008  BritishEducation Studies Association conference -- Liverpool Hope University, Cultures of knowledge, learning andassessment: an encounter between 2 education studies programmes

2009  NACADAInternational conference on Student Success -- Liverpool Edge HillUniversity, The impact of an InformationLiteracy Curriculum (ILC) on Undergraduate student development and success: acritical analysis

2009  MarjonCentre for Educational Research — Inaugural Marjon Centre for EducationalResearch seminar: Musings on‘Perspectives on Participation and Inclusion- Engaging Education’

2010  12thAnnual International Conference on Education-- Athens Institute forEducation and Research (ATINER), Exploringtransitions and questions of ‘Access’ to Higher Education for students withidentified Disabilities

2010  The Fifth CILIP CoFHE and UC&R JointConference—ExeterUniversity, Empowering and effectivecollaboration: The voice of the subject librarian

2011 The European Conference on Educational Research--- Freie Universität, Berlin, Reflections on the second year asundergraduates:
‘access’ and matters of the socio-cultural for students with identified

2012 British Education Studies Associationconference – Hull University, ‘Complementary voices’ in sighting changes to‘Educator’ practices for students with disabilities’

2012 British EducationStudies Association conference – Hull University, ‘Plymouth University

Student voices: considerations and expressions of Education Studiesfinal year research projects; from the horse’s mouth!’

2012 British Education Studies Associationconference – Hull University, P.I.E paper

2013 British Education Studies Associationconference—Swansea Met University, What’s up with ‘Inclusive Education’? -A time for questions.

2013 British EducationStudies Association conference—Swansea Met University, ‘Plymouth University. Studentvoices: Education Studies finalyear research projects’