Kierra Bunting

Education Research & Evaluation Manager

Academic Quality and Development

I am an Education Research and Evaluation Manager with a strong background in conducting research and evaluation projects within the higher education sector. My expertise lies in promoting inclusion, reducing disparities, and enhancing the student experience through evidence-based solutions and educational development initiatives. I am responsible for:

  • University’s APP Intervention Strategy and Evaluation Plan
  • Supporting Equality of Opportunity through APPs
  • Leading key institutional and external sector research
  • Developing an Evaluative Mindset across the institution

My journey in higher education began in 2019 as a Research Assistant in an APP-funded Educational Research and Evaluation Group at NTU. In this role, I worked towards reducing inequalities across the student lifecycle for target student groups, aligning with the university's student access, success, and progression targets. I focused on promoting inclusion and equality, addressing issues related to student transition and progression, such as the awarding gap. Through action research projects, I contribute to the development of evidence-based solutions and conducted thorough analysis of student disparities.

During my time at NTU, I actively participated in the Course Lifecycle Project, a cross-institution initiative aimed at improving and redesigning the process of course creation and validation. Drawing upon my pedagogic and student engagement knowledge, I provided valuable insights to shape the development of course design processes and collaborative approaches to program modification.

To further enhance my understanding of higher education, I took on a role in NTU’s Educational Development Team, where I supported academics in delivering excellent teaching and learning experiences. I contributed to the design and approval of various programs of study and facilitated professional development workshops for academic colleagues. This experience strengthened my ability to empower academics and promote evidence-based approaches to inclusive and innovative teaching practices.

Between March 2022 and April 2023, I have been serving as an Academic Developer at Staffordshire University. In this role, I committed to supporting and empowering academic colleagues in adopting evidence-based approaches to provide inclusive and innovative teaching and learning experiences for student success. I dedicated to fostering a collaborative environment across my functional areas, some of which included:

  • Course Design and Validation processes
  • Bi-Annual Learning & Teaching Festival

With a passion for social justice, a keen eye for detail, and a commitment to evidence-based decision making, I am well-equipped to lead research and evaluation initiatives that drive positive change within the HE sector. I am excited to apply my expertise and collaborate with my team, colleagues across the institution, and key stakeholders throughout the HE sector to create transformative educational experiences for today's students.

Feel free to reach out to me at to discuss how you can support the University’s APP research and evaluation needs and contribute to the advancement of educational excellence and social justice in the sector.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of British Psychological Society
  • NERUPI Member (University Membership)
  • AdvanceHE Member (University Membership)
  • TASO Member

Academic qualifications

  • In progress: EdD Professional Doctorate in Education, University of Nottingham
  • Completed: BSc (Hons) Psychology with Sandwich Placement, Nottingham Trent University


  • Access and Participation Plans
  • HE sector regulatory and policy landscape
  • Intervention evaluation using a Theory of Change approach
  • Qualitative research methods, interviewing and focus groups
  • Student engagement, attainment and progression

A selection of key projects I have worked on include:

  • NTU’s Black Leadership Programme pilot evaluation
  • Student Placement Costings research
  • LGBTQIA+ Academic Experience exploration

Research interests

  • Student success intervention research (retention, engagement, progression, graduate outcomes)
  • HE intervention evaluation
  • Access and Participation Plan implementation
  • Social justice in HE
  • Lived experience research (e.g.; marginalised student groups’ HE experience)
  • Social Identity Approach
  • Community and Group Psychology
  • “Social Cure”


I have experience working with academics and other professional services colleagues as my learners.

in the UK for Quality Education

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021