Samuel Dent

Head Of Academic Qual Development

Academic Quality and Development

Starting out in student support services, I gained frontline experience of the real challenges facing staff and students in a diverse range of services and teaching modes, which inspired me to start my PhD research. I am currently Head of Academic Development responsible for the universities Academic Development Team.

Prior to joining Staffordshire University I was Nottingham Trent University's Academic Development Manager, I was responsible for three teams; Educational Development, Educational Research & Evaluation, and the Trent Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT). Responsible for leading on the support for the closure of Success Gaps across the institution as part of the University's Access and Participation Plan (APP).

Prior to this role I established NTU's Educational Research & Evaluation Team, leading a team on a range of equality and inclusivity projects. Now a permanent part of NTU my team's projects included looking at; LGBT+ Students Academic Experience; Mature Student Experience; Commuter Student Experience; and links between Work-Related Learning, Placements, to addressing attainment gaps.

Prior to this I worked at the University of Sheffield demonstrating local, national and international impact, securing a cumulative total of £2.5 Million in external funding for addressing barriers to student success. My 2017 research Should I Stay or Should I go?, was launched to a national endorsement, and has been cited in the Office for Students (OfS) regulatory framework. While also leading the I have also leading OFS- funded project Raising Awareness, Raising Aspirations (RARA) which worked with Kings College London and the University of Portsmouth to develop approaches to personal tutoring practice to reduce unexplained gaps in attainment, particularly for students from BME and lower socio-economic backgrounds.

I am a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a network convenor for the Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE), in 2016, I was named the Forum for Access and Continuing Education's (FACE) Emerging Researcher. I have acted as an associate and invited lecturer at various institutions, and welcome opportunities to speak and collaborate.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE)
  • British Sociolgical Assocation (BSA)
  • European Association of Instituional Research (EAIR)
  • Association of University Administrators (AUA) – Acredited Member

Academic qualifications

  • PhD Higher Education 2019 - Sheffield Hallam University Title: Recognising the Expereinces of Students who Care for Children While Studying
  • Master of Art by Research Politics & Goverance 2013 - University of Leeds Title: Decentred Decision Making; New Labour & Sure Start
  • Ba (Hons) Politics 2011 - University of Leeds


Higher Education, Equity, Education, Social Justice, Student Expereince, Inclusivity, Widening Participation, Pedagogy, Equality & Diversity 

Research interests

My specialisms and research interests include quality, equity, social justice, and inclusion in higher education; widenings participation; education policy; lifelong learning; education research methodology; pedagogy and curriculum development; evaluation and impact of educational interventions.



Samuel Dent. Ciaran Burke. Anna Mountford-Zimdars. (Eds.) (2022) Theory of Change: Debates and Applications of a Theory of Change to Access and Participation in Higher Education

Samuel Dent. (2020) Recognising Students who Care for Children While Studying, Emerald Publishing

Samuel Dent, Laura Lane, Tony Strike, Eds: Collaboration, Communities and Competition: International Perspectives from the Academy. 07/2017; Sense.,

Journal Articles

Samuel Dent. (2022) The Paradox of student support policies: The experiences of students who care for children while studying, Access Vol 10. Issue 1

Samuel Dent. (2019). Book Review: Bren Neale, What Is Qualitative Longitudinal Research? Qualitative Research.

Samuel Dent (2015): Institutional Ethnography: Care in Higher Education. Sage Research Cases.

External profiles

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, 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