Dr Sean Sturm

PhD, MA (Hons), PGCertAcadPrac


Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa (Ngāti Rakapaaka)

Research | Current

Sean's research comprises three threads:

  • teaching and learning: on the university as a place of teaching & learning through the lens of critical theory;
  • writing technologies: on local — or rather, "native" and glocal — literacies as they are performed in a range of media; and
  • settler studies: on the phenomenology of settlement in Aotearoa/New Zealand, through settler texts in particular.

Funded research projects

2017-18 — (AI) Enhancing future employabilty through tertiary education. Ako Aotearoa. (With Susan Geertshuis [UoA, PI], Rob Wass [UoO], Tim Watts [NZAGE], Barbara Kensington-Miller [UoA], Jennifer Curtin [UoA], Helena Cooper-Thomas [AUT], Gavin Brown[ [UoA], Annette Dunham [UoA], Brendon Potter [UoA], Narissa Lewis [UoA])

2016 — (co-PI) Historical literacy Aotearoa: The progression and engagement of Maori and Pasifika students in the historical disciplines. Education FDRF. (With Nancy November [Music], Jennifer Frost [History], Lisa Bailey [Classics & Ancient History], Martyn Davison [Pakuranga College].) NZD10,800

2015-16 — (AI) Making the invisible visible: Illuminating undergraduate learning outcomes beyond content and skills. Ako Aotearoa. (With Barbara Kensington-Miller [UoA, PI], Alison Cleland [UoA], Alys Longley [UoA], Andrea Mead [UoA], Amanda Gilbert [Vic], Bernadette Knewstubb [Vic].) NZD300,000

2013-15 — (co-PI) Mapping Institutional Resources and Processes Supporting the Development of Tertiary Learning and Teaching Grant Applications. Office of Learning and Teaching (Australia) Specific Initiative. (With Gavin Sanderson [UniSA, co-PI], Kerry Allison [Monash], Tania Broadley [Curtin], Matt Eliot [CQU], Barbara Kensington-Miller [UoA], Jan McLean [UNSW], and Jan Tuovinen [Tabor].) AUD127,000

2013-14 — (AI) The Liveable University. Transforming Cities: Innovations for Sustainable Futures WUN Urban Research Seeding Fund. (With Stephen Turner [PI], Niki Harré and Kirsten Locke from the University of Auckland.) NZD15,000


Editorial Board, Teaching in Higher Education

Editorial Board, Policy Futures in Education

College of Reviewers, Higher Education Research & Development

Reviewer, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, TEXT: A Journal of Writing and Writing Courses

Teaching | Current

In 2012, Sean joined the Academic Practice Group at the Centre for Academic Development, now the Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education (CLeaR).

Sean works primarily with academics to develop themselves a creative and critically reflective practitioners. (He is also keen to work with academics on their course design, with a focus on assessment and learning technologies, and on their writing process.)

Previously, Sean taught in the Department of English in the Writing Studies Programme (2001-10) — and moonlights there as supervisor of the Writing Studies cluster in English 781: Research Project.

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD supervisions

Tatum Adiningrum (co-supervision with Barbara Kensington-Miller)

Mohammad Taqi Amini (co-supervision with Barbara Kensington-Miller)

Gustavo Vanegas Fernandez (co-supervision with Susan Carter)

Lorenz Poeschl (co-supervision with Stephen Turner)

Morteza Sharifi (co-supervision with Barbara Kensington-Miller)

Enni Suonio (co-supervision with Brad Coombes)

Angela Tsai (co-supervision with Dawn Garbett)

Future supervisions

I am looking to supervise in the following areas of higher education research:

  • the philosophy of education (especially critical theory in education)
  • critical pedagogy and critical university studies
  • learning and teaching spaces, online and "offline"
  • writing pedagogy
  • digital humanities
  • assessment of learning and teaching
  • the scholarship of teaching and learning

I am comfortable with many theoretical approaches, but have a particular focus, as my research interests suggest, on the philosophy of education and critical theory. I have expertise in qualitative and narrative methodologies, but have a particular interest in critical-creative approaches to research and writing, including autoethnography, hermeneutics and ficto-criticism.


Te Amorangi National Māori Academic Excellence Award (2009)

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Lecturers' Representative (at Large) on Senate (2013-15; 2015-2017, 2018-2021)
  • Sub-Professorial Member on the Education Committee (2017-18)
  • Sub-Professorial Member on the Teaching and Learning Quality Committee (2013-14; 2015-16; 2017-18)
  • CLeaR Faculty Liaison, Arts Faculty; Ex Officio Member, Faculty of Arts Academic Committee (2014-)
  • CLeaR Representative, Academic Audit Steering Group (2013-14)
  • Member at Large, Tertiary Education Union Branch Committee

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)


Contact details

Primary location

Level 3, Room 308
New Zealand

Social links

Web links