Dr Dawn England PhD, MBA, SFHEA

Dr Dawn England

School of Education
Associate Professor
Head of Postgraduate Taught Programmes

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dawn England is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Birmingham. Previously, she was Head of the Dubai Education Department at Birmingham University Dubai and served as Dubai programme director on the MA Education (Leadership) programme and as Senior Lecturer for Educational Leadership.  

Dawn’s scholarship has been guided by the notion that where a child is born should not dictate their educational opportunities afforded to them, and her work has pursued how to understand barriers to education globally with a key focus on gender, parental beliefs, and peer experiences. She has been involved in research projects in 17 countries across 4 continents and was awarded the US National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her international work studying the influences of gender development on education internationally. She is committed to advancing transnational education with a focus on educational leadership and social justice.


  • SFHEA, Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy 2020
  • MBA, Hult International Business School, 2016
  • PhD (2016) Arizona State University
  • MSc in Family and Human Development, Arizona State University, 2012


Dawn graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut, USA, publishing her undergraduate thesis on “Gender Role Portrayals and the Disney Princesses” which remains her most cited work to date. She went on to study an MSc and PhD in the same field at Arizona State University, USA, under the supervision of Dr. Carol Martin, studying the influence of gender development on the lives of children in school. Her PhD thesis examined the effects of gender on the primary school graduation rates in a rural community in Guatemala that received significant educational intervention support, aiming to understand the efficacy of such interventions. This led her to pursue an MBA at Hult International Business School in London to further understand how to manage and evaluate large scale international interventions, with a focus on those involving sustainability and corporate social responsibility. From there, she served as the Academic Lead on the Student Attainment Project at the University of West London, an OfS funded intervention to improve BAME attainment across UK higher education. She then moved to Dubai to study the influence of gender on education and to establish high quality educational leadership training programmes in the region.

Dawn maintains professional memberships with international organizations including the Gulf Comparative Education Society, the Comparative and International Education Society, the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, and the Society for Research in Child Development. 


Dawn teaches across a range of programmes with a focus on Educational Leadership, Teacher Training, and School Improvement, as well as International Development and Education Policy.

Previous courses taught include: Educational Leadership and Management, Teaching and Learning Pedagogy and Practice, Comparative Education, Research Methods, Reflective Professional Practice in Education, Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility

Doctoral research

PhD title
Family and Human Development, specialization in Measurement and Statistical Analysis


Current research initiatives are guided by evaluating educational intervention efficacy internationally and understanding the impacts of the school system on children, teachers, and school leaders from a comparative education lens.

Current research projects include: 

  • A longitudinal study examining influences on intervention success for elementary school attainment in rural Guatemala
  • An international comparison of the influence of gender and cultural norms on academic and peer experiences at university, with samples in the US, the Netherlands, Canada, the UAE and the UK
  • Leadership for Social Justice in Transnational Education: Evidence and Voices from Practitioners
  • Curriculum Fidelity in International Settings: Post-Colonial Perspectives
  • An International Action Research Network: Empowering Teachers to Drive School Improvement

Other activities

Dawn maintains an active international education outreach and service profile, with a few examples including serving as:  

  •  Co-chair of the Communications Committee for the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, 2021 ongoing
  • Advisory committee for the UAE Ministry of Education and the National Qualification Association to review the new National Professional Standards for Early Childhood Educators, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, 2020
  • Seminar Chair for the Symposium on Equity and Justice and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at the Society for Research in Child Development conference in 2017.