Dr Suanne Gibson

Dr Suanne Gibson

Associate Professor in Education

Plymouth Institute of Education (Faculty of Arts and 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 applicant days.

• Working with contacts external to Plymouth University- aranging guest lectures/seminars with students and staff

Executive committee member of British Educational Studies http://educationstudies.org.uk/

2011               Winner of UPSU Outstanding Personal Tutor Award

2012              Awarded HEA National Teaching Fellowship

2013              Involved in collective to develop UK Undergraduate Journal for Education Studies- http://educationstudies.org.uk/journal/transformations/

2013              Awarded HEA International Scholarship

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

2014             FRSA


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

Executive member British Education Studies Association

Editorial Board for international journal: Teaching in Higher Education

Referee:International Journal of InclusiveEducation

International Journal of Disability, Development andEducation 

Teaching interests

I currently teach across all years on the BA EDST programme. My specialism is in questions of 'Disability and Inclusion' and  social justice. 

Research interests


Research interests in the fields of:

• Inclusive education theories, practices and policy- I have published with Sage/Paul Chapman, Learning Matters, Continuum, the international academic journals-Disability and Society, International Journal of Inclusive Education, Support for Learning and Journal of Further and Higher Education.

Grants & contracts


HEA- ESCalate

Research Project: Exploring the pedagogy of group work at HE level 1


Teaching Fellowship

Plymouth University

Research Project: 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


Teaching Fellowship

Plymouth University

Research project: An emerging voice: students’ experience of writing for publication in Education Studies



HEA- ESCalate

Research project with John Moore’s University Liverpool:

Exploring transitions and questions of ‘Access’ to Higher Education for students with identified disabilities.

Evaluating the efficacy of RIO projects


Teaching Fellowship

Plymouth University

Participatory Partnerships in Education



Awarded HEA National

Teaching Fellowship




Awarded HEA

International Scholarship



Developing a critically inclusive pedagogy of relationship for the retention and success of ‘non-traditional’ students or ‘students at risk of exclusion’.



Awarded PedRIO

research fellowship

‘Becoming Student’- partnerships and voices. Developing a ‘relationships for academic success and transformation’ model.

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

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

Gibson, S. (2002), The first year of the studentportal system at Plymouth University, anecdotes from the Faculty of Arts andEducation, in, ETHOS, Plymouth University.

Blandford, S and Gibson, S. (2005), ManagingSpecial 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 andSociety, Vol. 21, No. 4

Gibson, S and Brown, T. (2006), In Conversationwith Suanne Gibson, in, The Higher Education Academy SubjectCentre for Education (Escalate) Newsletter, Issue 4, Spring.

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

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

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

Gibson,S. and Luxton, J. (2009),‘Departure from the Library desk! One undergraduateprogramme’s story of theirSubject 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 twoeducation studies programmes’, in, Educational Futures, Vol.2No.1,pp57-70.

Gibson,S. and Luxton, J. (2009), Theimpact ofan information literacy curriculum on undergraduate studentdevelopmentand success: a critical analysis, Widening Participation and LifelongLearning, Vol.11, No.3, pp6-12.

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

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

Gibson, S. (2013a), ‘Disabilitymatters’ – 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 thequestion ofInclusive Education, in Curtis, W and Ward, S. (Eds); EducationStudies an Issues Based Approach, London, Sage.

Jane Seale, Suanne Gibson, Joanna Haynes & Alice Potter(2014): Powerand resistance:Reflections on the rhetoricand reality of using participatory methods topromote student voice andengagement in higher education, Journal of Furtherand Higher Education,DOI:10.1080/0309877X.2014.938264

Gibson, S. (2015) When rightsare not enough:What is? Moving towards new pedagogy for inclusive educationwithin UK universities, International Journal of InclusiveEducation, 19:8, 875-886 

Gibson, S., Baskerville,D.,Berry, A., Black, A., Norris, K., Symeonidou, S. (2016), ‘Diversity’‘Widening Participation’ and ‘Inclusion’in Higher Education: An Internationalstudy, Journal of WideningParticipation and Lifelong Learning, 18, 3,7-33

 Gibson,S. (2016). Studentsascore: A time for change in the higher education discourse of 'Wideningparticipation’and ‘Inclusion’. In InclusiveEducation: perspectives on pedagogy,policy, and practice, ed. S. Bartlett and Z. Brown.London: Routledge

Gibson, S., Baskerville,D.,Berry, A., Black, A., Norris, K., Symeonidou, S. (2017), Includingstudents as co-enquirers: matters of identity,agency, language and labellingin an International participatory researchstudy, International Journal ofEducational Research, 81,108-118 https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1UN4d38nswHVcZ

Special Edition- Pastoral Care inEducation (2017), 35,3 - edited by Suanne Gibson and DeliaBaskerville: ‘The politics of care,compassion and concern in the contemporary academy’http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rped20/current

Gibson,S.,Grace, A., O’Sullivan, C. & Pritchard, C. (2018),Exploring transitions intotheundergraduate University world using a student-centred framework, Teachingin Higher Educationhttps://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2018.1511538


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’

2013PEDRIO Internationalisation and the Student Experience- PlymouthUniversity, ‘To question, understand and grow with that which is ‘other’.Reflections on a UK HEA International Scholarship project 2013/14 to developinclusive pedagogy for relationship with students, tutors and the university.’

2014 BESA- PG Student pre conference: 'Dialogue and space'-considering the ebb, flow and purpose of the focus group.

2014 BESA Conference- Listening to our ‘diverse’ students and preparinglearning futures to enhance the retention and academic success of all.Reflections on a HEA International Scholarship 2013-2014.

2014Higher Education Academy Annual Conference—Workshop and paper: Listening to our ‘diverse’ students and preparinglearning futures to enhance the retention and academic success of all. Reflectionson a HEA international scholarship 2013-2014

2014European Conference Education Research(Porto University) 2014- : 'Diversity' And Relationship On Campus-International Student Voices.

2015 BathUniversity A symposium: 'Qualityin Qualitative Research and Enduring Problematics'. Gibson and Black: Participatory methods – inclusive research:pitfalls and promise.

2015 BESAconference- Exploring and engaging with the failings of ‘Inclusion in HigherEducation’. Is a post-rights inclusive future possible?- Cardiff Met University

2015 BESAconference- ‘Plymouth University. Studentvoices: Education Studies final year research projects’

2015 BERA conference- Symposium- Diversity'in Higher Education and inclusive learning futures