Rowena Arshad


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Personal profile


I started my professional life in the private sector in business and banking. I engaged in a major career change and took up a youth and community work course in Reading. I then worked with the Scottish Education and Action for Development as an Education and Campaigns Organiser looking at issues linking Scotland and the developing world. I then moved to become Director of the Multicultural Education Centre in Edinburgh and from there into teacher education. My EdD was an interpretive study of teacher activism in equity and anti-discrimination in Scotland. My thesis explored the factors that contribute to developing Scottish teachers' interest in issues of equity and anti-discrimination by examining relevant literature on professionalism and activism and through empirical investigation, using a life history approach. I teach on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the School of Education but also contribute to other disciplines such as social work. I am currently Head of Institute for the Institute for Education, Community & Society (ECS) and also Associate Dean for Student Academic Misconduct for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. I also convene the University of Edinburgh's Race Equality Action Group.


  • 1985: Certificate in Youth and Community Work (Bulmershe College of Higher Education, Reading)

  • 1995: MEd (Community Education) (Moray House College, Heriot-Watt University)

  • 2008: Doctorate in Education, University of Edinburgh

Current Research Interests

I am interested in equity and anti-discrimination issues and how these issues are taken forward in education (school, community education and tertiary) and within educational policy. I am particularly interested in how individual educators take equity and anti-discrimination/inclusion work forward in their practice and within their establishments. Specific areas of interest include:

  • multicultural and anti-racist education (school and tertiary education)
  • teacher activism in areas of equity and anti-discrimination
  • change agency within organizations, particularly in relation to equity and social justice
  • mainstreaming equality issues into policy frameworks
  • teacher education and particularly its role in developing critical thinkers
  • social capital, diversity and equity

Research Supervision:

I am happy to supervise research under the headings above. I currently support doctoral students in the following areas:

  • race equality and early years
  • how organizations are achieving change in the area of equity and anti-discrimination

Doctoral students I currently support:

  • Ania Byerly: Scottish primary school teacher perspectives on multicultural and anti-racist educations
  • Christine Makuve: Working title: Immigration, Race and Identity: the responses to education of Zimbabwean heritage children in the UK
  • Patricia Cacho:The effectiveness of inclusion strategies for minority ethnic pupils in secondary schools in Scotland
  • Hoda Mobasseri: Muslim women's ways of negotiation in the family and their challenges ahead

Collaborative Activity

Current and recent projects:

  • Attracting International Students:Equitable Services & Support, Campus Cohesion and Community Engagement - funded by the Equality Challenge Unit. Working in partnership with Dr Philomena de Lima (University of Highlands and Islands), Johanna Holtan (Edinburgh University Student Association) and Kristina Konstantoni (Research Assistant) Report published May 2012
  • ESRC Seminar series on the theme of ‘Diverse Teachers for Diverse Learners’ with Dr Geri Smyth (Strathclyde University – PI), Professor Ian Menter (Glasgow University), Ian Matheson (GTC Scotland), Professor Angela Creese (University of Birmingham) and Dr Ghazala Bhatti (University of Southampton)
  • Promoting cohesion: challenging expectations:educating the teachers of tomorrow for race equality and diversity in the 21st century schools
    with Laura Mitchell (School of Education) and colleagues in Manchester Metropolitan University and Dr Peter Hick (Project Leader) and Dr Lorna Roberts Full report published 2011
    Funder: ESCalate, HE Academy
  • Teacher Education Students' Understanding of Social Justice Issues with Laura Mitchell, School of Education, University of Edinburgh
    Funder: Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES)
  • Poverty and Ethnicity: Scotland Community Consultation with Dr Philomena de Lima (University of Highland and Islands) Full report available
    Funder: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Education, Edinburgh Napier University

Award Date: 1 Jan 2010

Doctor of Education, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 2008


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • social justice, racial equality, racism
  • L Education (General)
  • social justice, inclusion, race equality, multicultural and anti-racist education


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