Dr Sean Sturm

PhD, MA (Hons), PGCertAcadPrac


Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa (Ngāti Rakapaaka)

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 studies,
  • settler studies,
  • post-qualitative/arts-based methodology, and
  • indigenous methodologies.

Funded research projects

2018-19 — (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], Hinekura Lisa Smith [UoA], Nancy November [UoA].) NZD200,000

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].) 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

2015-16 — (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].) NZD280,000

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


Associate Editor, Educational Philosophy and Theory

Editorial Board, Teaching in Higher Education

Editorial Board, Policy Futures in Education

College of Reviewers, Higher Education Research & Development

Regular reviewer for Australasian Journal of Educational Technology and TEXT: A Journal of Writing and Writing Courses

Teaching | Current

Sean works primarily with academics to develop themselves a creative and critically reflective practitioners. He coordinates the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, leading the Teaching, Learning and Assessment course (ACADPRAC 701), as well as contributing to CLeaR's Teaching Catalyst and other programmes. He also consults on curriculum review and researcher development. He is CLeaR's Faculty of Arts liaison.

Previously, Sean taught in the Department of English in the Writing Studies Programme (2002-10); he still occasionally teaches there.

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD supervisions

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

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

Lorenz Poeschl (co-supervision with Stephen Turner)

Joshua Sarpong (co-supervision with Cathy Gunn)

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

Enni Suonio (co-supervision with Brad Coombes)

Angela Tsai (co-supervision with Dawn Garbett)

Current Masters supervisions

Maarten Klene (co-supervision with Marek Tesar)

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

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

University service

  • Lecturers' Representative (at Large) on Senate (2013-15; 2015-17, 2018-21)
  • Sub-Professorial Member on the Education Committee (2017-18)
  • Sub-Professorial Member on the Teaching and Learning Quality Committee [TLQC] (2013-14; 2015-16; 2017-18)
  • CLeaR Faculty Liaison, Arts Faculty; Ex Officio Member, Faculty of Arts Academic Committee (2014-)
  • CLeaR representative on TLQC, Staff Advisory Committee, HERD Governance Board, Faculty of Education and Social Work Senior Leadership Team (2018)
  • CLeaR representative, Academic Audit Steering Group (2013-14)
  • Member at Large, Tertiary Education Union Branch Committee (2011-17); Academic Member, Collective Bargaining Team (2011-15; 2017)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)


Contact details

Primary location

Level 4, Room 405
New Zealand

Web links