Skip to content

Toggle service links

Dr Jane Cullen

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
  • Education
  • jane.cullen

Professional biography

I  have worked in Higher Education since 2000, first as a Research Associate/Senior Research Associate at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, then at the Von Hugel Institute, St Edmunds College, Cambridge, and at the Open University since June 2006.  I head the Masters in Education and Masters in Childhood and Youth programme at the OU which currently attracts over one thousand students, and I specialise in leadership and management on both the M.Ed and the EdD. I have been associated for the past eight years with the work of the Teacher Education in sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA) programme  working on projects across Africa with colleagues from universities and NGOs in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Republic of Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia. I served as Director of TESSA 2012-2014 and since then I have worked as  a key adviser on a major DfID-funded teacher education project in Ghana, on projects in South America including an FCO-funded project working with the Ministry of Education in Peru and on research projects in Bangladesh, India and Ghana. Before  moving into HE I was an English teacher, head of department, senior teacher and then head teacher in various schools, beginning as a young teacher in the Phillipines then moving to Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Namibia and finally to Egypt.

Research interests

As Director of TESSA  (2012-14), I worked on R&D projects on extending the use of digital OERs, the use of OERs in inclusion in francophone Africa, OER use for teachers new to OERs (all Ferguson Trust funding);  the professional development of teaching assistants and the challenges of access to teacher training in Malawi  (DfID/Scottish Government funding); the development of OERs for  teaching lower secondary science (Waterloo Foundation funding) and widening participation through improving teaching in rural areas in Uganda and Zambia (Commonwealth of Learning funding). More recently on the DfID-funded T-TEL project in Ghana (2014-15),  I led work on a critique of the current model of curriculum and assessment in teacher education in Ghana, and on the professional development of teacher educators in the Colleges of Education in Ghana. In 2016 I led on the qualitative strand of a British Council-funded study into the assessment of the secondary school English curriculum in Bangladesh. My current research includes studies of pedagogic leadership in India, the design of initial teacher education in Peru and teacher education through distance learnng in Ghana. Previously as Senior Research Associate at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and at the Centre for Educational Research and Development (CERD) at the Von Hugel Institute, St Edmunds College, Cambridge (2001-2009) my work included the role of lead researcher in a major DfES evaluation of schools ‘in exceptionally challenging circumstances’ and a UNICEF-funded project researching open and distance learning in basic education for hard-to-reach children in South Asia. My research throughout focuses on issues of access and of quality as they relate to school improvement, teacher education and school leadership.

Teaching interests

My teaching interests are in postgraduate education: in research methods, in leadership and management and in education in developing countries. At the OU I currently lead the overall M.Ed programme, which has pathways in Applied Linguistics, Inclusive Practice, Learning and Teaching, and Leadership and Management, and I lead on the M.A programme in Childhood and Youth. I chair M.Ed modules and  I supervise on the EdD programme, particularly speciaising in leadership and management. On the EdD programme I tend to work with research students whose projects focus on contexts other than the UK - for example I am currently working with a student based in Cyprus and a student who is researching the work of head teachers in Ghana. And I have recently begun to supervise a Ph.D student who is researching the kinds of learning valued by parents in rural communities in Nigeria. For 5 years I also chaired the 'Education for Development' postgraduate module, a course for students interested in education across the developing world. When working at the University of Cambridge I taught research methods on the M.Phil course and I taught and supervised extensively on M.Ed courses, working both with students who were serving teachers and students who were in leadership positions in schools.  

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)CentreFaculty of Education and Language Studies


Teacher educators and OER in East Africa: Interrogating pedagogic change (2017-10-26)
Wolfenden, Freda; Auckloo, Pritee; Buckler, Alison and Cullen, Jane
In: Hodgkinson-Williams, Cheryl and Arinto, Patricia B. eds. Adoption and impact of OER in the Global South (pp. 251-286)
Publisher : ROER4D | Published : Cape Town, South Africa
Working with local teachers to support girls’ and women’s education in Malawi (2014-12-10)
Gallastegi, Lore and Cullen, Jane
In : Gender and Education Association Biennial Interim Conference 2014: Gender and Education in the Asia Pacific: Possibilities and Provocations (9-11 Dec 2014, Melboune, Australia)
We’re improving the quality of teaching”: conceptualising ‘quality’ and ‘change’ using lessons from a current TESSA project (2013-09)
Stutchbury, Kris and Cullen, Jane
In : UKFIET International Conference on Education and Development – Education & Development Post 2015: Reflecting, Reviewing, Re-visioning. (10-12 Sep 2013, Oxford)
English Speaking and Listening Assessment Project - Baseline. Bangladesh (2016-03)
Power, Tom; Cullen, Jane; Woodward, Clare; Mathew, Rama; Payler, Jane and McCormick, Robert
The British Council, Dhaka.
Open and distance learning for basic education in South Asia: its potential for hard to reach children and children in conflict and disaster areas (2009-11)
Morpeth, Ros; Creed, Charlotte; Cullen, Jane; Page, Elspeth and Raynor, Janet
UNICEF, Nepal: Kathmandu.
Open and Distance Learning for Basic Education in South Asia: its potential for hard-to-reach children and children in conflict and disaster areas: Bangladesh and Sri Lanka Country Studies (2009-11)
Morpeth, Ros; Creed, Charlotte; Cullen, Jane; Page, Elspeth and Raynor, Janet
UNICEF, Nepal: Kathmandu.