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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School
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Dr Michael Tomlinson BSc, PGCHE, PhD, FHEA

Associate Professor

Dr Michael Tomlinson's photo

Dr Michael Tomlinson is Associate Professor within Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton.

Michael is an Associate Professor in Education and Director of the Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD). He was previously a lecturer at Keele University in the School of Public Policy and Professional Practice. Following an ESRC-funded doctorate and ESRC post-doctoral fellowship in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, he worked on a large-scale ESRC-funded project at the Cardiff Business School exploring leadership and leadership development in the public services.

His research is located broadly within the sociology of education and work, particularly in relation to the changing context and nature of work and its impact on people's identities and approaches to work and careers. More specific research interests lie in the higher education and labour market interplay and the social construction of ‘graduate employability'. Within this area, his research has explored transitions from higher education to work and how employability is constructed and managed by students and graduates. He is also interested in graduates' early career experiences and their engagement in processes of work-related learning and skill formation. Michael has recently completed various funded projects, including the social, educational and institutional dimensions of access to higher education (funded by the Greek Education Ministry) and the impact of recent policy changes on student attitudes to learning in higher education (funded by the Higher Education Academy).

In addition to his these areas, he has interests in the area of public management and leadership, focusing on issues around policy mediation, context dynamics and leadership development and learning. As convenor of the Higher Education Research Group (HERG), he is keen to develop the profile and scope of higher education research within the university and promote collaborative, cross-disciplinary research programmes in the field of higher education.

Michael welcomes doctoral candidates in the following areas:

Research interests

  • Graduate Employability and Transitions from Higher Education to Work
  • Work-Related Learning, Skills and Early Career Development
  • Leadership in the Public Services (with particular reference to leadership learning, leader capitals, change agency and context dynamics)
  • Sociology of Education and Work
  • Knowledge Economy & Knowledge Work
  • Credentials and Forms of Capital
  • Higher Education Policy

Research group

Lifelong and Work-Related Learning (LaWRL) Research Centre

Affiliate research group

Leadership, Educational Effectiveness & Policy

Research project(s)

Engaged student learning: high impact strategies to enhance student achievement

Director of Doctorate in Education programme
Convenor of Higher Education Research Group (HERG)
Editorial Board Member for Journal of Education & Work
Editorial Board Member for British Journal of Sociology of Education
Member of Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE)

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Book Chapters



Bsc Educational Studies - Leading and Managing in Education
Msc - Organization & Governance
PGCE FE - Extending Professional Practice
EdD - Thesis Studies
PhD & EdD supervisions

Dr Michael Tomlinson
Southampton Education School University of Southampton Building 32 Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 32/2049

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