Dr Sean Kohingarara Sturm

PhD, MA (Hons), PGCertAcadPrac


Sean (he/they) is of German, Russian, English and Māori descent. He affiliates with Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa (Ngāti Rakapaaka). Before he began study at the University of Auckland, he was a songwriter and musician.

He majored in Philosophy and English for his BA (1999) and MA (2001), and in English for his PhD (2009). His thesis, supervised by Alex Calder and Wystan Curnow, took New Zealand colonial engineer and novelist George Chamier as exemplary of the ambivalent figure of the "unsettled settler," complicit in but critical of the colonial enterprise. It was titled "Chamier the Epicurean: The Life and Works of George Chamier (1842-1915)."

He taught before, during and after his doctoral studies in the Writing Studies programme in the Department of English (2002-2010) and in the Creative Writing programme at the Manukau Institute of Technology (2009-2010). He joined CLeaR as a Senior Tutor in 2009, and took up a position there as a Lecturer in Academic Development in 2013. Since then, he has served as Deputy Director (2015-2017, 2019) and as Acting Director of CLeaR (2018).

He joined the School of Critical Studies in Education in the Faculty of Education and Social Work in 2020.

Research | Current

Sean researches the university as a place of possibilities (Sturm & Turner, 2017), taking in several fields of higher education research:

  • the philosophy of education,
  • critical university studies,
  • critical pedagogy,
  • writing/digital studies,
  • settler studies,
  • post-qualitative/arts-based methodology, and
  • indigenous methodologies.

Funded research projects

2018-2019: (co-PI) Pathways to the Past: Effective Pedagogies for Māori and Pasifika Students in the Historical Disciplines. Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI). (With 'Ema Wolfgramm-Foliaki [UoA] and Nancy November [UoA].) NZD200,000

2018: (PI) Rethinking dissent in the university. Education FDRF. NZD8,241

2017-2018: (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].) NZD300,000

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

2015-2016: (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

2013-2015: (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].) NZD280,000

2013-2014: (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

Teaching | Current

Sean is Programme Leader of the Higher Education programme (PGCertHighEd, MHighEd) hosted by Critical Studies in Education in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, and the Teaching Catalyst programme for academics new to teaching at the University of Auckland hosted by Organisational Development.

He is Course Director for the following Higher Education courses:

  • HighEd 701: Teaching and Learning
  • HighEd 702: Course Design
  • HighEd 704: Research Project Design (with Barbara Kensington-Miller)
  • HighEd 793: Dissertation

He co-teaches EDUC 209: The Learning Society.

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD/EdD supervisions

Mohammad Taqi Amini (co-supervision with Barbara Kensington-Miller) [part-time]

Tim Baice (co-supervision with Tanya Samu)

Ashwini Datt (co-supervision with John Egan) [part-time]

Conor Lorigan (co-supervision with Simon Barber; part-time)

Victoria O'Sullivan (co-supervision with Alys Longley)

Karolina Peña (co-supervision with Fran Kelly)

Angela Tsai (co-supervision with Dawn Garbett) [part-time]

Dennis/Siu Kit Yeung (co-supervision with Kerry Lee)

Yong Liu [EdD]

Current Masters supervisions

Hanoku Bathula (MHighEd)

May Chuah (MEd) [submitted]

Radhika Kumar (MHighEd; co-supervision with 'Ema Wolfgramm-Foliaki)

Sheryll McIntosh (MHighEd)

Completed PhD supervisions

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

Lorenz Poeschl (co-supervision with Stephen Turner)

Joshua Sarpong (co-supervision with Cathy Gunn)

Enni Suonio (co-supervision with Brad Coombes)

Completed Masters supervisions

Tim Baice (MHighEd; co-supervision with 'Ema Wolfgramm-Foliaki)

John Egan (MHighEd)

Maarten Klene (MEd; co-supervision with Marek Tesar)

Future supervisions

Sean is looking to supervise in the following areas of higher education research:

  • philosophy of education
  • critical university studies
  • critical pedagogy
  • environmental education
  • writing studies and writing pedagogy

He is comfortable with many theoretical approaches, but has a particular focus, as his research interests suggest, on the philosophy of education and critical theory. He has expertise in qualitative and indigenous methodologies, but has a particular interest in critical-creative approaches to research and writing.


University of Auckland Distinguished Visitor Award (2018)

Academic Leaders Programme (2017)

Te Amorangi National Māori Academic Excellence Award (2009)

University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship (2007)

Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Bright Futures Top Achievers' Scholarship (2003)

Areas of expertise

philosophy and history of higher education

higher education teaching and learning, including pedagogy, course design, and assessment and evaluation

higher education policy and governance

academic development

educational research methodology, especially post-qualitative research methodologies

academic writing and writing technologies

Committees/Professional groups/Services

University service


  • Lecturers' Representative (at Large) on Senate (2013-2021)
    • Senate Review Reference Group
  • Sub-Professorial Member on the Education Committee (2017-2022)
  • Academic Representative, Academic Audit Working Group, Teaching Quality (2021)
  • Teaching Design and Development Governance Group (2021-)
  • Research Skills Development Advisory Group (2021-)
  • Member at Large, Tertiary Education Union Branch Committee (2011-2017, 2019); Academic Member, Collective Bargaining Team (2011-2015; 2017; 2019)


  • Sub-Professorial Member on the Teaching and Learning Quality Committee (2013-2018), including Teaching Excellence Awards Subcommittees, Learning Enhancement Grants Subcommittees, Graduate Profile Working Group, Assessment Working Group, Teaching Capability Model Working Group
  • Scholarships Committee and Kupe Scholarship Subcommittee (2020-2021)
  • FMHS Multiple Mini Interview Subcommittee (2020-2021)
  • TEU Pre-Consultation Working Group (2020-2021)
  • Critical Theory Network Advisory Group (2018-2020)
  • Student Engagement Working Group: Assessment Sub-Group (2019)
  • CLeaR Faculty Liaison, Arts Faculty; Ex Officio Member, Faculty of Arts Academic Committee (2014-2017); Ex Officio Member, Faculty of Arts, Student Engagement and Retention Group (2018-2019)
  • CLeaR representative on TLQC, Staff Advisory Committee, HERD Governance Board, Faculty of Education and Social Work Senior Leadership Team (2018)
  • Faculty of Law Working Group on Teaching Delivery (2017)
  • CLeaR representative, Academic Audit (Cycle 5) Steering Group (2013-2014)

Faculty service

  • FESW Postgraduate Committee (2020-)
  • FESW Liberal Arts Programme Committee (2020-), Acting Director (2021)
    • Teaching and Learning Quality Committee
    • University General Education Board of Studies
  • CRSTiE Teaching and Learning Committee (2020-)
  • Deputy Director, CLeaR (2015-2019), Acting Director, CLeaR (2019)
  • Head, Academic Development Group, CLeaR (2013-2015)

Service to the research community

  • Editor, Knowledge Cultures (2020-) and member of Editors' Collective (2020-)
  • Deputy Editor, PESA Agora (2020-)
  • Reviews Editor, Educational Philosophy and Theory (2019-)
  • Editor, Visual Pedagogies, Methodologies and Educational Research book series (Brill) (2020-)
  • Executive member and Treasurer, Association for Visual Pedagogies (2019-)
  • Executive member, Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (2017)
  • ​Editorial Board: Teaching in Higher Education (2017-), Policy Futures in Education (2017-), Video Journal of Education and Pedagogy (2019-)
  • College of Reviewers: Higher Education Research & Development (2013-)
  • Reviewer: Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, Higher Education, TEXT: A Journal of Writing and Writing Courses, among other journals

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.
  • Carter, S., Sturm, S., & Manalo, E. (2020). Coaxing success from failure through academic development. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT10.1080/1360144X.2020.1818244
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Susan Carter
  • Jandrić P, Gibbons, A., Sturm, S. R., Stewart, G., Hood, N., Tesar, M., & Devine, N. (2020). Teaching in the age of Covid-19. Postdigital Science and Education10.1007/s42438-020-00169-6
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nina Hood, Marek Tesar
  • Sturm, S. R., & Turner, S. F. (2020). Life and death and the university. Critical Education, 11 (13), 1-13. 10.14288/ce.v11i13.186543
  • November, N., Sturm, S., & Wolfgramm-Foliaki, E. (2020). Critical thinking and culturally sustaining teaching: Developing the historical literacy of Māori and Pasifika undergraduates in Aotearoa/New Zealand. In J. Domenech, P. Merello, E. de la Poza, Peña-Ortiz R (Eds.) 6th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd’20), 949-957. Valencia, Spain: Editorial Universitat Politècnica de València. 10.4995/HEAd20.2020.11179
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nancy November, Ema Wolfgramm-Foliaki
  • Peters, M. A., Oladele, O. M., Green, B., Samilo, A., Lv, H., Amina, L., ... Xu, R. (2020). Education in and for the Belt and Road Initiative: The Pedagogy of Collective Writing. EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY, 52 (10), 1040-1063. 10.1080/00131857.2020.1718828
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Marek Tesar
  • Peters, M. A., White, E. J., Tesar, M., Gibbons, A., Arndt, S., Rutanen, N., ... Redder, B. (2020). Infantologies. An EPAT collective writing project. Educational Philosophy and Theory, online first10.1080/00131857.2020.1835648
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Marek Tesar, Kiri Gould, Nina Hood
  • Arndt, S., Buchanan, R., Gibbons, A., Hung, R., Madjar, A., Novak, R., ... Tesar, M. (2020). Collective writing: Introspective reflections on current experience. Educational Philosophy and Theory10.1080/00131857.2020.1824782
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nina Hood, Andrew Madjar, Marek Tesar
  • Sturm, S. (2020). Ceder, S. (2018). Towards a Posthuman Theory of Educational Relationality. Abingdon; New York, NY: Routledge [Book review]. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 39 (4), 447-451. 10.1007/s11217-020-09725-w


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 365
New Zealand

Web links