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Mrs Steph Doehler

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Professional biography

Steph is an academic at the Open University, having joined as a Staff Tutor in 2020. She has also been an Associate Lecturer since 2016. Prior to joining the Open University full time, Steph has several years’ experience working as both a Further and Higher Education lecturer in Sports Studies. She has undertaken the role of guest reviewer for several peer-reviewed articles for various journals, including: International Journal of Sport CommunicationSport in Society and Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. She is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

She also worked within an awarding organisation, creating personal development/leadership awards and qualifications undertaken by more than 100,000 young people per year. Here, she set up the organisation's virtual learning environment and developed eLearning content for both learners and teachers. 

Steph has been a member of the Expert Physical Education Advisory Group, one of seventeen Expert Subject Advisory Groups established and funded by the Department for Education.

Research interests

Steph has research interests in both sport sociology and sport history. Her current research interests centre on: athlete activism, media framing, and the social construction of athletes. 

Teaching interests

E313 - Exploring psychology aspects of athletic development (Co-chair 2020-2021)

E117 – Introduction to sport and fitness (Associate Lecturer 2018-present)

E314 – Exploring contemporary issues in sport and exercise (Associate Lecturer 2016-present)

E312 – Athletic Development: A Psychological Perspective (Critical reader)

External collaborations

Prior to moving to the Open University full time Steph worked with several external organisations on various projects/pieces of work, including:

  • Led on a £50,000 Sport England funded project entitled ‘Leaders from Leavers’ which used the voice of Looked After Children to understand the barriers, motivations and benefits affecting the engagement of young people in the care system, from participating in sport-based social action.
  • Project managed the development of volunteer training for the 2018 Sainsbury’s Active Kids Holiday Clubs, in collaboration with ukactive.
  • Collaborated with global fitness company Les Mills to support schools and a new generation of children, parents and carers to be physically active, by creating a new wave of Les Mills BORN TO MOVE™ Activators and developing an online training course to upskill the delivery of BORN TO MOVE™ virtual classes.



Taking the star-spangled knee: the media framing of Colin Kaepernick (2021)
Doehler, Steph
Sport in Society ((Early Access))

A hero’s journey: the monomythical narrative of Diego Maradona’s World Cup appearances (2021)
Doehler, Steph
Funes. Journal of Narratives and Social Sciences, 5 (pp. 4-17)

A tragic hero? An exploration of Diego Maradona’s stardom through national and local patriotism (2022)
Doehler, Steph
In : Official heroes and contested guerrillas: The role models of football fans’ patriotism (1 Apr 2022, Université Libre de Bruxelles & Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan)

Land of the free and home of the brave? The media framing of Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 National Anthem protest
Doehler, Steph
In : ECREA 2021 - Media, Sport, and Diversity online seminar (5-6 Nov 2021, Aarhus University)

Role model or quitter? Social media’s response to Simone Biles at Tokyo 2020
Doehler, Steph
In : Center for Sociocultural Sport and Olympic Research - annual conference (18-19 Mar 2022, California State University, Fullerton)