Liz is an independent researcher and consultant within higher education and Professor of Higher Education at Edge Hill University. She has twenty years’ experience of undertaking and managing research linked to widening participation, student retention and success and institutional approaches to improving the student experience and student outcomes.
Liz is committed to using research evidence to improve student equity, experiences and outcomes. Liz is currently working with the Equality Challenge Unit and 35 higher education institutions to improve access to higher education for students with protected equality characteristics, and she is leading the What works? Project. She has also worked on the Student retention and success change programme aiming to improve retention and success in 13 universities in the UK.
She was a member of the research team examining higher education drop-out and completion in Europe, looking at comparative conceptualisations of and policy interventions to improve study success in 36 European countries. Liz Thomas Associates has worked with the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the National Union of Students to examine staff and student views on independent learning, and is currently researching student engagement for the National Union of Students (NUS).
Last year Liz was a member of the Social Mobility Academic Reference Group convened by Universities UK to provide advice on the development of the recent higher education White Paper. She is author and editor of ten books on widening participation and enhancing the student experience, including Institutional transformation to engage a diverse student body (2011, Emerald Publications, with Malcolm Tight) and Improving student retention in higher education: The role of teaching and learning (2007, Routledge Falmer, with Glenda Crosling and Margaret Heagney).
Her excellent international reputation means she is frequently invited to contribute to national and institutional development, research, conferences and PhD student examinations in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, US and South Africa, as well as in the UK.
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