You are here

  1. Home
  2. Dr Azumah Dennis

Dr Azumah Dennis

Dr Carol Azumah Dennis

Profile summary

Web links

Professional biography

I have worked in Higher Education since 2010, first at the University of Hull where I was employed initially as a Lecturer in Education: Programme Director for Post-16 Teacher Education and later as Programme Director for Postgraduate Taught provision. I have worked for the Open University as a Senior Lecturer: Education, Leadership and Management since 2017.  My current post with the OU is  PRAXIS: Director. I was Programme Leader for the Doctor in Education (EdD) from 2020 - 2023. I am a Senior Fellow of the HEA.

Other appointments:

  • Editor: Book Reviews Board Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning
  • Editor: Book Reviews  Management in Education, British Educational Leadership, Management and Adminsitration Society (BELMAS)
  • Member: SAGE’s Pedagogy Advisory Board
  • Academic Member: Open University Senate
  • Academic Member: Open Universty Senate sub- committee - Curriculum Partnerships 
  • Educational Leadership Special Interest Group Co.Leader: British Educational Research Assocoation (BERA)
  • Co.coordinator: EdD Directors' National Network

Prior to working in Higher Education, I had worked for a number of years in Further Education Colleges where I was responsible for teaching, training and managing adult basic skills. I completed my EdD at the UCL, Institute of Education in 2010, with a thesis exploring leading and managing quality in adult literacies provision. 

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research

An important aspect of my current work with the Open University, is exploring Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research. This has included drafting a positonaility statement to assert the ways I which we orient ourselves within a research space.

My statement is as below: 






I position myself as the unmarked scholar.   What I say is more important than who I am. The unmarked scholar speaks from that place which is just there, that place which is no place.  

But, my attempts to assume this position, if such a position exists,  are thwarted. It is already filled by some other body. I try write as the unmarked scholar but I am restless, accusatory, emotional and aware that I occupy the wrong body.  I am immediately recognized as not occupying the space of disembodied neutrality. I am embodied in alignment to this or that struggle.  My being there is a strange defiance. I am a strange defiance.

Occupying that just there space is an accomplishment denied to non-traditional bodies (we are Black, we are female, we are gay, we are transgendered, we are poor, we are disabled). We are so penetrated by the wild, that the just there space is beyond our ontological status.  

I could say, ‘I am a diasporan’  with the same inflection others say ‘I am a Fanti’ or ‘I am a Yoruba’, signaling a past both mythologized and reclaimed; a past that refuses erasure. But this shows my unbelonging.

When I write from a position, I assume a right to be just there. When I write about a position, it implies my scholarly self requires an explanation, a qualification, a marker of some sort. It requires I make my invisibility visible.  

Research interests

I have published in a wide range of peer reviewed international journals including Educational Management Administration & Leadership, International Journal of Lifelong Education and Research in Post Compulsory Education.

My research interests centre around three areas of specialization:

  • Post-16 policy, professionalism and practice
  • Leading and managing quality in vocational education
  • Teacher education, critical pedagogy, ethics and social justice


Research Projects:

2021 - 2022 Principal Investigator: Knowldge Landscapes

2020 - 2021 Principal Investigator: 50 naratives @ 50: Research Report

2016  Principal Investigator, University Council for the Education of Teachers, Adult Learners at Cape Coast University, Ghana

2014 to 2016 Principal Investigator, Further Education Trust for Leadership, Leadership and Ethics in Further Education 



Research Group

  • Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education (LiFHE)



Teaching interests

My research interests are in postgraduate education. I have taught research methods on both an MA (Masters) and EdD (Professional Doctorate) programme. Prior to my current post of Porgramme Leader for the Professional Doctorate in Education, I was chair of two MA modules in Educational Leadership and Management. One module focusses on strategy; the other is concerned with agency, professional learning and change. I am also an EdD Co-ordinator for students on the Leadership and management pathway.

I have supervised PhD students and EdD students in diverse areas including

  • Neo-colonial tensions and identity conflict amongst international students – completed PhD 2015
  • Teenage pregnancy and motherhood as a positive turning point – completed PhD 2015
  • Marketization of Higher Education
  • Reflective practice as capacity building for leaders in Higher education
  • Academic Writing amongst HE students
  • Human Rights Education in Thailand secondary schools

I currently supervise three EdD PostGraduate Researchers

  • The Role of Educational Leadership and Management in Educational Cultures in a Workplace Setting
  • A case study of how higher education providers (HEIs) create alliances with small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).
  • Post Pandemic Educational Leadership: Rebuilding Communities of Learning in the Scottish Further Education


Professional doctorates reconciling academic and professional knowledge: towards a diffractive re-reading (2024)
Dennis, Carol Azumah; Aubrey-Smith, Fiona; Álvarez, Inma; Waterhouse, Philippa and Ferguson, Gillian
Higher Education Research & Development ((Early access))

Practice and the professional doctorate: a diffractive re-reading (2023)
Dennis, Carol Azumah; Chandler, Kathy and Puntil, Donata
Journal of Further and Higher Education, 47(3) (pp. 364-377)

[Book Review] International Perspectives on Leadership in Higher Education (2021-10-01)
Dennis, Carol Azumah
Management in Education, 35(4) (pp. 200-200)

Looking forward to the long ago (2021-01-01)
Dennis, Carol Azumah
Management in Education, 35(1) (pp. 62-63)

Adult postgraduate students’ learning in online spaces—Images of identity and belonging (2021)
Dennis, Carol Azumah and Clifton, Gill
Zeitschrift für Weiterbildungsforschung, 44(2) (pp. 133-150)

Further education college leaders: securing the sector’s future (2020-01)
Dennis, Carol Azumah; Springbett, Octavia and Walker, Lizzie
Futures, 115, Article 102478

[Book Review] Identity and resistance in further education by Bennett, P., & Smith, R., Routledge, London 2018 (2020)
Dennis, Carol Azumah
Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 72(4) (pp. 595-596)

Further Education, Leadership and Ethical action: thinking with Hannah Arendt (2019-03-01)
Dennis, Carol Azumah; Springbett, Octavia and Walker, Lizzie
Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 47(2) (pp. 189-205)

Further education colleges and leadership: Checking the ethical pulse (2016-04-01)
Dennis, Carol Azumah
London Review of Education, 14(1) (116 - 130)

Locating post-16 professionalism: public spaces as dissenting spaces (2015)
Dennis, Carol Azumah
Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 20(1) (pp. 64-77)

Blogging as public pedagogy: Creating alternative educational futures (2015)
Dennis, Carol Azumah
International Journal of Lifelong Education, 34(3) (pp. 284-299)

Positioning further education and community colleges: Text, teachers and students as global discourse (2014)
Dennis, Carol Azumah
Studies in the Education of Adults, 46(1) (pp. 91-107)

Measuring quality, framing what we know: A critical discourse analysis of the Common Inspection Framework (2011-11)
Dennis, Carol
Literacy, 45(3) (pp. 119-125)

Is the Professionalisation of Adult Basic Skills Practice Possible, Desirable or Inevitable? (2010)
Dennis, Carol
Literacy and Numeracy Studies, 18(2) (pp. 26-42)

A manifesto for Further Education: cultivating the ethical imagination (2023-01-25)
Dennis, Carol Azumah
In: Solvason, Carla and Elliot, Geoffrey eds. Ethics in Education: Contemporary perspectives on research, pedagogy and leadership
ISBN : 978-1-871891-42-3 | Publisher : Ethics Press

Exploring perceptions of social presence among researching professionals (2022-12-13)
Waterhouse, Philippa; Dennis, Carol Azumah and Álvarez, Inma
In: Golam, Jamil and Morley, Dawn eds. Agile Learning Environments amid Disruption: Evaluating Academic Innovations in Higher Education during COVID-19 (pp. 155-171)
ISBN : 978-3-030-92978-7 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Cham

Researching from home. Doctoral research in a pandemic (2021-06)
Álvarez, Inma; Dennis, Carol Azumah and Waterhouse, Philippa
In: Ubachs, G. ed. The Envisioning Report for Empowering Universities (pp. 10-12)
Publisher : EADTU | Published : Maastricht, NL

Decolonising Education: A Pedagogic Intervention (2018-08-20)
Dennis, Carol Azumah
In: Bhambra, Gurminder K.; Nişancioğlu, Kerem and Gebrial, Dalia eds. Decolonising the University (pp. 190-207)
ISBN : 9780745338217 | Publisher : Pluto Press

A letter from Niccolò: Machiavellian indulgences and strategic myths (2017-09-04)
Dennis, Carol Azumah
In: Daley, Maire; Orr, Kevin and Petrie, Joel eds. The Principal: Power and professionalism in FE
Publisher : Trentham Books

Post Compulsory Teacher Educators: the 'even more' quality (2016-10-10)
Dennis, Carol Azumah; Ballans, Jane; Bowie, Marie; Humphries, Sally and Stones, Sandra
In: Crawley, Jim ed. Post Compulsory Teacher Educators: Connecting Professionals. Critical guides for teacher educators
ISBN : 9781910391860 | Publisher : Critical Publishing | Published : St Albans