I have over 30 years of experience in the UK Higher Education sector, working in three universities. I have held the posts of Course Director, Programme Director, Head of School/Department, Centre Lead and, currently, Associate Dean.
I have an undergraduate joint honours degree in English / Greek Civilisation from the University of Leeds and although my career has taken me deep into the realms of Computing and Information Systems, the arts and humanities remain a passionate interest and I have a particular enthusiasm for ancient and medieval history.
Following two very enjoyable years as a librarian I accepted a temporary lectureship at Leeds Beckett University to teach Library and Information Science and focussed academically on the specialist field of Information Retrieval. Eventually this led to a permanent post at Birmingham City University (BCU) and I went on to study for an MSc in Information Management at Lancaster University on a course which was run by Sir Peter Checkland, founder of the Soft Systems Methodology. This marked a change of academic focus for me and I returned to BCU to teach and research in the field of Computing and Information Systems, eventually taking a PhD in systems analysis at Aston University.
My academic and research expertise is Socio-Technical Systems Analysis and my teaching experience covers undergraduate, postgraduate and MPhil/PhD levels. I also have many years of experience of building and leading academic communities at both the strategic and operational levels. I moved into my current role at Staffordshire University in 2017.
I provide strategic leadership for the School with regard to quality assurance, course development, learning, teaching and all aspects of the student experience. I work closely with the Dean and the School Management Team to deliver the corporate objectives of the University. I consider students to be at the centre of everything we do and my main focus is to ensure a a fantastic and enriching experience for our students which prepares them for their future lives.
I am an Associate Professor (Systems and Higher Education) of Staffordshire University; a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA); a HEA mentor and assessor; and an AURORA (Women Into Leadership) mentor.
Professional memberships and activities
- Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
- Co-opted Governor for Storywood School and Children’s Centre, Birmingham (OfSted Outstanding)
- PhD ‘An Analysis of the Role of Soft Systems Methodology in the Change Process and the Contribution of the Facilitator within this Process’, Aston University
- MBA (Management in Higher Education), Institute of Education, University of London
- MSc Information Management, Lancaster University
- Certificate in Computing for Teachers, Birmingham City University
- Postgraduate Diploma in Librarianship (PG DipLib), Leeds Beckett University
- BA (Hons) English/Greek Civilisation, University of Leeds
- Soft Systems Methodology
- Socio-Technical Systems Analysis
- Organisational Change
- Soft Systems Methodology
- Socio-Technical systems and applications
- Business Systems Analysis
I am also a member of the School’s ‘Service Computing, AI and Cybersecurity’ research group.
Enterprise and commercial interests
I have extensive experience of working with both UK and International partners.
I lead the School’s Apprenticeship management team.
I have leadership responsibility for the development and operation of work-based learning opportunities (including placements, work internships, and professional accreditations, for our students) and KTPs.
As part of my doctoral research I carried out a number of paid consultancies which involved the application of socio-technical systems approaches to organisational change projects within the UK Health and Public Sectors.
PhD supervision and examining (past and present):
Mohammad Mayouf (2016) ‘Improving the delivery of building performance using building information modelling (BIM)’ (internal examiner)
Mona Demaidi (2018) ‘Ontology-based Personalised Feedback Generator’ supervised by Professor Mohamed Gaber, Dr Sandi Kirkham, Dr Alex Wade and Dr Ashraf Armoush, Head of Computer Engineering Department at An- Najah National University.
Currently I am on the supervisory team for PhD ‘Knowledge Management and discovery within the concept of big data and text/speech analytics’ Eslam Badran [due to commence 2020]
Cox, S & Kirkham, S ‘UNDERSTANDING THE CONTRIBUTION AND CHALLENGES OF USING SOFT SYSTEMS METHODOLOGY TO FACILITATE CULTURAL CHANGE: A CASE SUDY IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR’ Chapter published in ORGANISING FOR THE DIGITAL WORLD published by Springer International Publishing AG, 2019
Cox,S, Kirkham,S, Love,E, Mayouf,M (2017) ‘Using a Socio-Technical approach to explore perceptions of the graffiti culture’ presented [by S Kirkham] at Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Socio-Technical Perspectives in IS Development [STPIS 17] co-located with the 29th International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering [CAiSE 2017] in Essen, Germany, June 2017
Feldman,G and Kirkham, S (2017) ‘Using Rich Pictures to represent stakeholder’s role during Enterprise Systems Upgrade Decisions’ presented [by S Kirkham] at Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Socio-Technical Perspectives in IS Development [STPIS 17] co-located with the 29th International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering [CAiSE 2017] in Essen, Germany, June 2017
Kirkham,S and Cox,S (2017) ‘Understanding the contribution and challenges of using Soft Systems Methodology to facilitate cultural change: A case study in the UK Public Sector’ presented at ItAIS 2017 (14th Conference of the Italian Chapter of AIS [Association for Information Systems] University of Milano, Bicocca, October 6th-7th 2017.
Kirkham, S (2016) ‘Politics in Organisational Change: Insights derived from two applications of soft systems methodology’ paper presented at UKAIS 2016 Annual Conference, April 2016, Oxford
Visram, K and Kirkham, S ‘An Exploratory Study into University Lecturers’ perceptions regarding the introduction of the Flip Curriculum: Fool’s Gold or Golden Egg?’ Paper submitted to the HEA Annual Conference 2017 – Generation TEF: Teaching in the Spotlight.
Kirkham, S (2016) ‘The design and delivery of practice-based undergraduate programmes in partnership with industry and HEI’s’ paper presented at EAIR 38th Annual Forum, August – September 2016, Birmingham, UK
I also participated in the research project ‘Building a Graduate Employability Community in Computing ’ organised by the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing from 2015-2017. As part of this work I authored a BCU practice showcase ‘Employability Week at BCU’ published in ‘Building a Graduate Employability Community in Computing: the GECCO Workshops’ published by CPHC/HEA April 2017.