Phone: +44 (0)1782 294270
Job Title and Responsibilities
I am a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Education Policy Research (IEPR). My main responsibilities are developing funding proposals and conducting research within the IEPR. I also have considerable experience of project management.
I attended Keele University as a mature student and graduated in 1998. After completing my degree I joined the newly formed Institute for Access Studies (IAS) at Staffordshire University. My work since then has focused on research around issues around widening participation and the learning experience of young people and adults, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. I am a full-time researcher working as a member of a multi-disciplinary team based in the IEPR. I also frequently work as part of a collaborative team, for example, with researchers from the HEA, University of York and Sheffield Hallam University.
Certificate of Continuous Professional Development: Research Supervision, Staffordshire University, 2010
PhD Education: Staffordshire University, 2009
Thesis: Exploring influences on post-16 choices and destinations of young people in Stoke-on-Trent: A life history approach (PDF, file size: 1.29MB)
Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods, 2007
BSc (hons), 1st Class, Biology and Psychology, University of Keele, 1998
My main area of expertise is within the field of qualitative research.
My main research interest is based around educational decision-making and the factors that influence this. This includes individuals’ social and cultural influences such as family and school experience. I have recently completed a doctoral thesis which has explored educational decision-making in young people from a deprived, urban area. This has focused on the relationship between self-efficacy, communities of practice and approach to learning and the impact of this upon decision making. My work for the IAS/IEPR has included projects which have fallen within the general theme of widening participation but have encompassed a range of issues within this. Main research studies have included:
Grundtvig Multilateral Project – A participative approach to curriculum development for adults in addiction recovery across the European Union
HE Widening Participation Activities: Literature review of effective practice
Erasmus Multilateral project - An Approach to Qualifications through Negotiated Work Based Learning for the EU
Supporting informed decision-making: Response to IAG policy changes in schools and colleges in Staffordshire
Developing effective Information, Advice and Guidance to support informed HE decision making for young people
Developing effective Information, Advice and Guidance to support informed HE decision making by mature students Student Services – Universities UK
Partnerships to widen participation in HE - HEFCE
The Learning Brokerage Project – funded by the Learning and Skills Development Agency
Student withdrawal from HE – funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Evaluation of Aimhigher in Lincolnshire and Rutland
Evaluation of Aimhigher in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
Review of the barriers to widening participation – HEFCE
Review of the implementation of the Schwartz Report – SPA
Bursaries and HE decision-making – Sutton Trust
Evaluation of 2-year (Fast Track) degrees – HEFCE
Public information on HE - HEFCE
Gorard, S., Smith, A., May, H., Thomas, L, Adnett, N. and Slack, K. (2007) Overcoming the barriers to Higher Education, Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books.
Papers in refereed academic journals
Slack, K., Mangan, J., Hughes, A. and Davies, P. (2014) '"Hot" and "cold" information and higher education decision-making', British Journal of Sociology of Education 35, 2: 185-223.
Slack, K. and Vigurs, K. (2013) 'Variation in local career trajectories of young people sharing a similar low socio-economic background in one geographical community', Journal of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling 31: 15-22.
Davies, P., Mangan, J., Hughes, A. and Slack, K. (2013) 'Labour market motivation and undergraduates’ choice of degree subject', British Educational Research Journal 39, 2: 361-382.
McCaig, C., Adnett, N., Bowers-Brown, T. and Slack, K. (2011) 'Achieving "Transparency, Consistency and Fairness" in English Higher Education Admissions: Progress since Schwartz?', Higher Education Quarterly 65, 1: 12-33.
Davies, P., Slack. K. and Howard, C. (First published 12 May 2011, iFirst) 'Variation in the length of an undergraduate degree: participation and outcomes', Studies in Higher Education 37, 5.
Mangan, J., Hughes, A. and Slack, K. (2010) 'Student finance, information and decision-making', Higher Education 60, 5: 459-472.
Mangan, J., Hughes, A., Davies, P. and Slack, K. (2010). ‘Fair access, achievement and geography: Explaining the association between social class and students' choice of university’, Studies in Higher Education 35, 3: 335-350.
Adnett, N. and Slack, K. (2008) ‘Are There Economic Incentives for Non-Traditional Students to Enter HE? The Labour Market as a Barrier to Widening Participation’ Higher Education Quarterly 61, 1: 23-36.
Quinn, J., Thomas, L., Slack, K. and Noble, J.D. (2006) ‘Lifting the hood: Lifelong learning and young, white, working class masculinities’, British Educational Research Journal 32, 5: 735-750.
Quinn, J., Thomas, L., Slack, K., Vigurs, K. and Flynn, N. (2005) ‘Learners on their own terms? Learning brokerage, mainstream transformation and social exclusion’, Journal of Access Policy and Practice 3, 1: 21-43.
Slack, K., Hughes, A. and Rout, A. (2013) Supporting informed decision-making: developing effective Information, Advice and Guidance for students in the West Midlands. Report for the Lifelong Learning Network.
Basit, T. N., Slack, K. and Hughes, A. (2012) WBLQUAL: An approach to qualifications through negotiated work-based learning for the EU. Report from WP5: Views from a higher education institution, ERASMUS Multilateral – LLP Executive Agency. Project no. 510022-LLP-1-2010-1-UK-ERASMUS-ECUE.
Davies, P., Hughes, A., Slack, K., Mangan J. and Oakleigh Consulting Limited (2010) Understanding the information needs of users of public information about higher education, Report to HEFCE.
Davies, P., Howard, C. and Slack, K. (2009) Evaluation of the Fast Track (2 year) degree programme, Report to HEFCE.
McCaig, C., Adnett, N., Bowers-Brown, T. and Slack, K. (2008) Fair Admissions to Higher Education: A review of the implementation of the Schwartz Report principles three years on, Cheltenham: Supporting Professionalism in Admissions (SPA).
Davies, P., Slack, K., Hughes, A., Mangan, J. and Vigurs, K. (2008) Knowing where to study? Fees, bursaries and Fair Access, Report for the Sutton Trust.
Gorard, S., Smith, A., May, H., Thomas, L, Adnett, N. and Slack, K. (2006) Review of Widening Participation Literature, Bristol: HEFCE.
Quinn, J., Thomas, L., Slack, K., Casey, L., Thexton, W. and Noble, J. (2005) From life disaster to lifelong learning: Reframing working class ‘drop-out, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Thomas, L., Slack. K., Vigurs, K., Thexton, W., Flynn, N., Casey, L. and Quinn, J. (2005) Learning brokerage: Building bridges between learners and providers. Phases 2 and 3, London: Learning and Skills Development Agency.
Hughes, A., Slack, K. and Rout, A. (2013) 'Developing effective Information, Advice and Guidance focused on progressing to higher education', Paper presented at the FACE Annual Conference, University of Plymouth.
Vigurs, K., Slack, K. and Mangan, J. (2012) 'Improving young people’s higher education decision-making: is individualised Information, Advice and Guidance the answer?', Paper presented at the BERA Annual Conference, University of Manchester.
Rout, A., Slack, K. and Hughes, A. (2012) 'Supporting informed decision-making: developing effective Information, Advice and Guidance'. Paper presented at the BERA Annual Conference, University of Manchester.
Slack, K., Mangan, J., Hughes, A. and Davies, P. (2010) 'We’re going to be students. We want to know exactly what students think of the uni’: "Hot" and "cold" information about higher education decision-making', Paper presented at the SRHE Annual Conference, Celtic Manor Hotel, Newport, South Wales, UK.
Davies, P., Mangan, J., Hughes, A. and Slack, K. (2010) 'Labour market motivation and undergraduates’ choice of degree subject', Paper presented at the SRHE Annual Conference, Celtic Manor Hotel, Newport, South Wales, UK.
Hughes, A., Slack, K., Mangan, J. (2008) 'Going Local: Effects of finance, schooling and social background', Paper presented at the British Education Research Association conference, Institute for Education.
Slack, K. and Davies, P. (2009) 'Differences between post-16 trajectories of young people from lower socio-economic groups', Paper presented at symposium, Staffordshire University.
Howard, C., Slack, K. (2009) 'Dispositions to learning amongst young and mature students: The interaction between psychological and social mechanisms on the HE decision-making process', Paper presented at the Society for Research in Higher Education Conference.
I am currently involved in supervising students on postgraduate Education awards (EdD and Masters level awards).