Associate Professor Barbara Mary Grant



Barbara's research field is higher education, in particular questions of identity, pedagogy and ethics in higher education, and she is most interested in qualitative and textual enquiries that foreground post-critical theories of education.

Her main area of expertise is the supervision of graduate research students but she has researched and published in a wide range of higher education areas, including researcher identity, academic development, research methodologies, academic writing. The underlying thread connecting her enquiries is an interest in academic subjectivities/identities and ethical questions regarding the relations between academic subjects, and between them and institutions, and the higher education project at large.

Research | Current

  • Researcher identities project (with Dr Vivienne Elizabeth, Sociology/University of Auckland)
  • Pakeha supervisor identities project
  • Supervision ethnography

Recent publications

Teaching | Current

Postgraduate supervision


  • Boya Yuan,
  • Yiyi He,
  • Jule Skelling,
  • Li Bao,
  • Maria Ahmad,
  • Vanessa Cameron Lewis, A new feminist materialist reading of sexuality education in New Zealand secondary schools, PhD
  • Fetaui Iosefo, Shattered fragments of a mirror: A view from the inside out of educational lives of ex-incarcerated men and women, PhD.
  • Claudia Rozas Gomez, PhD

Completed supervisions


  • Paul Heyward (2020, EdD thesis, Blowin' about the tops: How a university teacher experiences and negotiates the ethics of teaching.
  • Santhakumari Thanasingam, A critical thinking schema for literature review writing, PhD
  • Cat Mitchell, First generation university students’ experience of doctoral study in Aotearoa New Zealand, PhD
  • Jamie Burford, Queerying higher education, PhD
  • Felicity Molloy, Academy or academic: Tracing tacit elements of dance performance in our teaching repertoires, PhD
  • Edward Okai, Mentoring relationships between faculty and students at the University of Ghana, PhD
  • Liinlin Xu, Disciplinary written feedback to Chinese international doctoral students: from perspectives of supervisors and supervisees, PhD
  • Toni Ingram, Girlhood, sexuality and the school ball, PhD
  • Hiromi Sakamoto (2015) PhD thesis, A Japanese theatrical producer’s encounter with kapa haka: Māori performing arts, education, and a democratic community in the making in today’s Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Nuhisifa Seve-Williams (2009) PhD thesis, A view from the back, times between spaces: Equality of educational opportunity and Pacific students at a university
  • Sally Knowles (2007) PhD thesis (Murdoch University), Getting up close and textual: An interpretive study of feedback practice and social relations in doctoral supervision


  • Fetaui Iosefo, MProfStuds dissertation (2014), Moon walking with the Pasifika girl in the mirror: An autoethnography on the spaces of higher education
  • Pennie Otto, MProfStuds dissertation (2014), Through my brown eyes: Factors and experiences which influence Niuean senior secondary schoolboys to aspire to study at tertiary level or not
  • Sam Lafaiali, MEd thesis (2012), Ua Se Ana: The promise of equity.
  • Cathleen Fetokai, MEd thesis (2012), The power of space in an educational institution: The perceptions of first-year Pacific students.
  • Diana Nicholson, MEd thesis (2003), Reading power: Student experiences of academic texts.
  • Ann Smart, MEd thesis (2001), The other than mother: The construction of stepmother subjectivities.
  • Maureen Lewis, MEd thesis (2001), Mature age students returning to learning: Boundary crossing, The University of Auckland.
  • Deborah Radford, MEd dissertation (2000), Exploring ethical practice: An attempt to get on with teaching.
  • Jenny Beale, MEd thesis (1998), Vulnerable bodies: The construction of the student nurse and the patient body in the relationship of intimate bodily care.
  • Heather Stonyer, MEd thesis (1995), The centre and the margins: The experiences of women in engineering education.


  • Member of University’s Women in Leadership Working Group
  • Chair/facilitator, CRSTIE doctoral student writing group (meets monthly)
  • Chair of CRSTIE's Postgraduate Committee

Areas of expertise

  • Higher education
  • Critical and post-critical (including feminist) theories of higher education
  • Academic identities
  • Discourses of higher education
  • Academic writing
  • Supervision of graduate students
  • Equity in higher education

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Past Executive Editor, Higher Education Research & Development (HERD)
  • Member of Editorial Boards for Teaching in Higher Education, International Journal for Academic Development, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, and Arts & Humanities in Higher Education
  • Member of organising committee, Academic Identities Conference in Sydney (July 2016)
  • Member, HERDSA and NZARE.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Elizabeth, V. B., & Grant, B. (2013). 'The Spirit of Research has Changed’: Reverberations from Researcher Identities in Managerial Times. Higher Education Research & Development, 32 (1), 122-135. 10.1080/07294360.2012.751362
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Vivienne Elizabeth
  • McKinley, E., Grant, B., Middleton, S., Irwin, K., & Williams, L. R. T. (2011). Working at the Interface: Indigenous students' Experience of Undertaking Doctoral Studies in Aotearoa New Zealand. Equity and Excellence in Education, 44 (1), 115-132. 10.1080/10665684.2010.540972
  • Grant, B. M., & McKinley, Elizabeth (2011). Colouring in the pedagogy of doctoral supervision: Considering supervisor, student and knowledge through the lens of indigeneity. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 48 (4), 365-374.


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 306
New Zealand

Web links