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Dr Caroline Healy

Senior Lecturer

Dr Caroline Healy

About Research

Tel: 020 8240 2352


Dr Caroline Healy holds degrees from the Universities of Wales, Massachusetts and Brunel, London.

She is currently a senior university lecturer for the MA in Catholic School Leadership and Doctor of Education (EdD) Programmes and PhD doctoral supervisor at St Mary’s University, London and also Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

She has held roles in higher education for nearly 30 years and has experience of teaching in the systems of the UK, United States and Ireland and carrying out research in collaboration with a number of European countries. Caroline is the General Secretary of the Catholic Association of Teachers, Schools and Colleges for England & Wales which represents the majority of Catholic schools.

She is an elected member of the Council of the Catholic Union of Great Britain, to advance Catholic education in the wider public arena. She is a Trustee of the St Mary’s university charity SHOCC which promotes student and staff volunteering in schools and orphanages in Africa.

Her current research interests concern formation of Catholic school teachers and leaders which has recently been published by Springer (2021) in an edited volume Irish and British Reflections on Catholic Education (ed. Sean Whittle) as a chapter co-authored with John Lydon entitled ‘Shepherding Talent – a informal formation programme for aspiring school leaders’.

She is also part of an exciting philanthropic-funded research project concerning the research capacity-building of post-doctoral researchers from Africa. Caroline has been involved in the facilitating of seminars on distinctive leadership nationally and internationally.


Research profile

Caroline's research is principally concerned with the Politics of Education, especially the ever-changing relationship between the state, the market and institutions of education.  Of significance too, are the emerging forces of culture and society, which are increasingly impacting on education.  Particular areas of focus have included international education, government policy and reforms of schools education, further education and higher education policy, comparative higher education policy, research policy, mature students, lifelong learning, non-formal higher education and the relationship between education and health.


Caroline's PhD was entitled ‘The Development of Internationalisation Policy in UK Higher Education’ and was a study concerned with examining the process of internationalisation of education and teaching within UK higher education in general, and in particular, with the impact on the working practices, norms, beliefs and values of professionals in higher education.  The overall conclusion was that while internationalisation policy had caused some shifts in working practices and values, they were part of much larger changes in public policy. While curricula delivery styles may have changed due to internationalisation, disciplinary content remained the same, demonstrating the power of academics to resist external influences on their work.

Other previous research has focused on various themes in further education policy, higher education policy, including comparative higher education policy and acess policy and has included:

  • Achieving Equity of Access in Higher Education, funded by the Higher Education Authority, Dublin (2003-2005).
  • An Evaluation of the Targeted Initiative on Access for Mature Students in Irish Universities, commissioned by the Irish Higher Education Authority, Dublin (1999-2001). 
  • Non-Official Higher Education in the EU, which was part of an eight country study funded by the European Commission's DG XXII for Education (1997-1998).
  • Government Reforms in UK Higher Education, part of a tri-country comparative study on reforms with Norway and Sweden sponsored by the Swedish Council for Higher Education (1997-1999).
  • Academic Responses to the UK Technology Foresight Programme funded by the Nuffield Foundation (1997-2000).
  • Lifelong Learning and the Implications for EU Universities, a seven country study funded by the European Commissions DG XXII for Education (1997-2001).
  • Caroline's research has also focused on education in schools, particularly on government reforms, schools in the context of their communities and cross-sectoral working to build partnerships to enhance education, knowledge and skills:
  • Family-School-Community-Education-Partnership (FSCEP) (2004-2009), funded by the Dormant Accounts Disbursement Board and the Shannon Innovation Fund.
  • An Evaluation of Interventions and Supports for Disadvantaged Students in Three County Limerick Second Level Schools, for County Limerick Vocational Educational Committee (2005-2008).
  • After School Support, Education and Training (ASSET) Programme for Working with Minority Students (2005-2006). Funded by the Christian Charity Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP).

Caroline's current research is considering the government research policy impacts on internationally mobile researchers and researchers in education. This has sought to assess the added value that the international mobility of  researchers may bring to education research due to the necessity of developing transnational identies. It is examining new transnational policies and spaces that have been created to promote the free movement of people and knowledge e.g., the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and European Research Area (ERA). These may be in conflict with national polices. It is furthering considering the global economic crisis and the increased competition for career opportunities as well as the new challenges to the physical mobility of researchers presented by the increasing digital exchange of knowledge.

Another current area of interest is examining the influence of government research policy and the potential impact on educational research, especially in the area of health promotion. Particular themes concern the challenges related to multi-disciplinary research and multi-stakeholder collaboration within the public sector among partners in education and health sectors. Further focus is on the challenges and opportunities for transformation that exist in research in practice.

PhD Supervision

Caroline has supervised postgraduate students, including doctoral students, and would like to invite expressions of interest from any prospective postgraduate students interested in focusing on:

  • Government policy reforms and impacts on the school and higher education sytems, including the students studying in them and the professionals working within them.
  • The internationalisation of UK higher education
  • Comparative public policy reforms of higher education
  • Access Routes to higher education e.g. for mature students and students from ethnic minority backgrounds
  • Alleviating educational disadvantage in both rural and urban contexts
  • Lifelong Learning
  • The relationship between education and health policies
  • Continuous professional development in the context of educational leadership and management.

External Activity

Previous consultancy work and evaluations have been completed when working at the Centre for the Evaluation of Public Policy (CEPPP) and the Health Economics Research Group (HERG), Brunel University, often in partnership with the Centre for Higher Education Research and Innovation (CHERI), Open University, UK. Further consultancy work has been completed for the Higher Education Authority, Dublin and County Limerick's Further Education sector, Ireland.

Convening/Organising Activity

  • Convenor, Higher Education Studies Group, Londoon (seminar series).
  • Organiser of Massachusetts Council of International Education (MaCIE), Lowell, Massachuetts, USA.
  • Organiser of Emerging Findings Seminar on Research and Development for Hillingdon Health Authority, Health Economics Research Group, Brunel University in association with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

Professional Memberships

  • Educational Studies Association of Ireland.
  • Society for Research in Higher Education's Digital University Network Special Interest Group (SIG).
  • Committee Service
  • Member of the Arts Faculty BA Degree Marketing Working Group (2013-2014), Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick.
  • Member of the Blended Learning Special Interest Group (2012-2014), Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick.
  • Member of the Arts Faculty Research Infrastructure Sub-Committee (2008-2009), Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick.
  • Member of Moving On Steering Committee relating to access and widening participation in higher education for minorities (Chair - 2003-2009), Mary Immaculate University of Limerick
  • Member of the Family-School Community-Partnership Project Management Committee relating to educational disadvantage in primary schools and member of Project Advisory Committee (2003-2009) which included external school sector, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick.
  • Member of the Policy Studies Group (1996-2002), Social Sciences Faculty, Brunel University, London.
  • Member of the Higher Education Studies Group (1996-2002), London.

Honours and Awards

Research funding awards have been received either as part of a research team or as an individual from various bodies including:

The European Commission DGXXII (Education) in Brussels (Framework Programme V & VI) examining non-formal higher education and lifelong learning in the UK and project partner countries of Europe (1996-2001); the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in Dublin examining mature student initiatives in higher education (1999-2001); the Department of Health, London/The Hillingdon Primary Health Care Trust, London focusing on research and development strategies (2001-2002); the Public Health Department of the Mid-Western Health Board, Limerick, focusing on access to services by minorities (2002-2003);  the American-Ireland Fund (2003-2004) to compare minority groups; the Society of St Vincent de Paul Charity for after-school education and training for student teachers; the Higher Education Authority's Targeted Initiative, Strategic Initiative and Strategic Innovation Funds (2002-2008) to enhance access initiatives for under-represented groups to higher education.

Funding has also been awarded to pursue further studies and research:

  • Post-Doctoral Fellowhip Award, Social Sciences Faculty, Brunel University, London
  • Doctoral Studies Award, Centre for the Evaluation of Public Policy and Practice, Brunel University, London
  • Master's Degree Funding, W.S. Clark International Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA
  • Undergraduate Academic Exchange Funding, University of Wales, Swansea.


  •  Binchy, J. & C. Healy (2008) An Evaluation of Interventions and Supports for Disadvantaged Students in Three Secondary Schools in Rural County Limerick (Limerick: County Limerick Vocational Education Committee).
  • Healy, C. (2007): ‘Moving On: Achieving Equity of Access to Higher Education’. Chapter in:  Why Not Me? Keys to Success from 10 Years of Learning,’ pp. 29 – 31.  Proceedings of Colloquium on Educational Disadvantage held in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, 19th June 2007 (Dublin: Combat Poverty Agency).
  • Healy, C.  (2006) An Evaluation of the Pre-University Programme in Newcastlewest, Co.  Limerick (Limerick: Learner Support Unit, Mary Immaculate College).
  • Binchy, J. & C. Healy (2005) A Qualitative Analysis of Travellers in Third-Level (Limerick: Learner Support Unit, Mary Immaculate College).
  • Healy, C. (2004) Submission to Contribute towards the Development of a National Traveller Education Strategy (Dublin: Department of Education and Science).
  • Kelleher, K., C. Healy and A. McGinley (2004) Traveller Health Services: Regional Strategy Statement and Action Plan 2002-2005 (Limerick: Mid-Western Health Board).
  • Kelleher, K., C. Healy and A. McGinley (2003) ‘Traveller Health: A Research Project to Develop an Action Plan for the Mid-Western Health Board’, National Institute of Health Sciences Research Bulletin, June, Vol. 2, Issue 1, pp. 28-30.
  • Townsend, J. and C. Healy (2002) A Research and Development Strategy for the Hillingdon Primary Care Trust (London: Hillingdon Primary Care Trust and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine).
  • Kogan M., C. Healy, R. Lewis and R. Williams (2001) An Evaluation of the Targeted Initiative on Access for Mature Students in Ireland (London: Centre for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Open University).
  • Kogan, M. and C. Healy (2000) Lifelong Learning: the implications for universities in the UK (Brussels: European Commission, DG XXII).
  • Healy, C. (1999) ‘Lifelong Learning and the University in the UK: a literature review’ (part of an article for the European Journal of Education, 2000 Vol. 35, No. 3 pp. 343-359).
  • Kogan, M. and C. Healy, (1999) ‘Non-Official Higher Education in the UK’ in Non-Official Higher Education in the European Union, pp. 315-386 (Athens: Centre for Social Morphology and Social Policy, Panteion University).

Conference Papers

  • Healy, C. (2013) 'The Policy Impacts on Internationally Mobile Researchers and Researchers in Education, 38th Educational Studies Association of Ireland Conference, Limerick (25-27 March).
  • Healy, C. and A. O’Beirne (2012) ‘Insights into the Hunt Report’s Research Recommendations: considering their influence on government research policy and the potential impact on educational research in the area of the Health Promoting School’ 37th Educational Studies Association of Ireland Conference, Cork (29-31 March).
  • Healy, C. (2011) ‘Using Comparative Methods in Qualitative Research: can we learn from other countries? Inaugural International Research Methods Summer School, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick (24-26 June).
  • Healy, C. (2011) ‘The Hunt Committee’s National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 in Ireland: Considering Government Research Policy and its Implication for Qualitative Research Approaches’.  Inaugural International Research Methods Summer School (IRMSS), Mary Immaculate College, Limerick (24-26 June).

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