Dr Rachel Shanks

Dr Rachel Shanks

Senior Lecturer

Dr Rachel Shanks
Dr Rachel Shanks

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 274871
The University of Aberdeen Room 622 MacRobert Building, King's College, Aberdeen AB24 5UA.


I have worked in higher education, community education, and the voluntary and trade union sectors. In higher education I have been a law lecturer, worked in the University of Aberdeen’s former Centre for Lifelong Learning and I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Education.

In the late 1990s I led the Trade Union Congress partnership project Bargaining for Skills in the East and West Midlands regions in England, working with trade unions, employers, colleges and Training and Enterprise Councils. I have also been an adult education tutor and worked for the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (NACAB) and Aberdeen CAB.


Research Interests

Professional learning and mentoring.
Children and young people's rights.

Current Research

Professional learning

Measuring the Quality of Initial Teacher Education (MQuITE) in Scotland

Children's Rights

Young people and participation in decision-making

School uniform


Erasmus+ project Mobile Learning in Higher Education (MINE)
Erasmus+ project Part-time and Short Course Higher Education in Serbia (PT&SCHE)


Teaching Responsibilities

Undergraduate Teaching

ED302F Professional Learning and Inquiry (BA Professional Development)
ED302E Hazard and Risk in Professional Contexts (BA Professional Development)
ED4030 Broadening Professional Boundaries (BA Professional Development)
ED1521 Learning from Work

Postgraduate Teaching

ED50PJ Supervision of Masters Dissertations and Projects

SL5011 Advanced Qualitative Methods in Social Science

Current PhD Students

  • Madhawi Alharbi - Using a mobile game for teaching English as a Foreign Language in Saudia Arabia with Dr Bruce Scharlau (School of Natural and Computing Sciences)
  • Maryam Alnoaimi - The Role of Bahraini Educational leaders in Developing Educational Values of Citizenship and Promoting Educational Change in the Kingdom of Bahrain with Dr David Smith
  • Elise Boyle Espinosa - Education in the Islamic State, as part of the Politico project, with Prof Pamela Abbott
  • David Di Domenico - Analysis of the experiences, approaches and reflective accounts of academics in relation to cultural diversity in the delivery of undergraduate pre-registration nursing education at a Scottish university with Dr Graeme Nixon
  • Tracy Edwards - The Translation and Enactment of the Principle of Inclusive Pedagogy by Experienced Teachers with Dr Kirsten Darling McQuistan and Dr Mhairi Beaton
  • Chris Gray - Community Music with Sarah Cornelius
  • Annette Moir - Exploration of children’s awareness of their coping strategies and enhancement of their resilience skills with Dr David Johnston.
  • Esther Nyaga - School leadership and teacher professionalism: an exploration of head teacher leadership practice in public primary schools in Kenya with Prof Emerita Karen McArdle
  • Ramona Statchde - The relationship between rural communities and Small & Medium Enterprises - an investigation of the extent to which the latter's social media use is based on shared social and cultural capital and is conducive to mutual development with Dr David Watts (Rowett Institute) and Dr Mark Beecroft (School of Geosciences)

Completed PhDs

2017 David Johnston - A Socio-Cultural Perspective on 'Belonging'
2017 Geraldine Prince - Art-Making and the Interpretation of Cultures: Cross-cultural teaching and learning in Edinburgh and Dubai
2019 Khanchai Wongchana - Thai University Student and Teacher Perceptions of Studying Tourism through English Using a CLIL Approach

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Education Pathway Convenor for Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (Scotland's ESRC DTP) 2018-
External Examiner University of Warwick, Initial Teacher Training (Further Education) 2018-
External Examiner for University of Malta, M.A. in Adult Education 2015-
Co-convenor Network 6 Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures European Educational Research Association 2017-
Trustee of the Scottish Educational Research Association responsible for Governance 2016-
Trustee of the Rocking Horse Nursery 2015-
Community Learning and Development Standards Council Approvals Panel 2015- 

Admin Responsibilities

  • Senate Assessor (Arts, Business and Social Science) 2017-2019
  • Senator representing School of Education academic staff 2016-2020
  • Programme Director of BA in Professional Development 2015-

Journal Board and Reviewer Information

Editor of Education in the North

Reviewer for: Africa Education ReviewCambridge Journal of EducationEducation + TrainingEuropean Journal of Teacher EducationInternational Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in EducationInternational Journal of Training and DevelopmentMulticultural PerspectivesNordSTEP the Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, Professional Development in EducationScottish Educational ReviewStudies in Higher Education 



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  • Shanks, R 2019, 'Alfabetização Micropolítica e Formação Profissional de Professores Iniciantes', Currículo sem Fronteiras, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 134-150.
  • Daly, R & Shanks, R 2019, 'Universal to targeted Community Learning and Development: changed work and a changing profession', Concept, vol. 10, no. 2.
  • Shanks, R, Scharlau, B, Saevanee, H & Stelfox, K 2018, Human and Technological Resources Needed to Develop and Sustain A City-Wide Educational Data Observatory. in BH Khan, JR Corbeil & ME Corbeil (eds), Responsible Analytics and Data Mining in Education: Global Perspectives on Quality, Support, and Decision-Making., 10, Routledge, New York.
  • Fransson, G, Gallant, A & Shanks, R 2018, 'Human elements and the pragmatic approach in the Australian, Scottish and Swedish standards for newly qualified teachers', Journal of Educational Change, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 243-267. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10833-018-9321-8
  • Shanks, R & Peter, S 2018, Issues and impact of the Named Person Legislation in Scotland. in K Trimmer, R Dixon & YS Findlay (eds), The Palgrave Handbook of Education Law for Schools., 23, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 487-505. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-77751-1_23
  • Bastos, G, Bauer, P, Cardoso, T, Cornelius, SC, Mertes, K & Shanks, RK 2018, MINE - Mobile learning in Higher Education. in EDULEARN18 Proceedings. IATED Academy, pp. 3625-3629, EDULearn, Palma, Spain, 2/07/18. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.0934
  • Shanks, RK & Scharlau, BA 2018, 'Part-Time Study and E-Learning in Europe: Insights from Erasmus+ PT&SCHE Project' Paper presented at The 9th International Conference on eLearning, Belgrade, Serbia, 27/09/18 - 28/09/18, pp. 1-6.
  • Weber, A, Brahm, T, Pensel, S, Riplinger, T, Steffens, Y, Cornelius, SC, Gerholz, K-H, Orr, D & Shanks, RK 2018, 'Students' voices in Higher Education research' European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction Special Interest Group on Higher Education, Geissen, Germany, 29/08/18 - 31/08/18, pp. 37.
  • Shanks, R 2018, Vital but Neglected: The Informal Learning of New Teachers in Scotland. in G Messmann, M Segers & F Dochy (eds), Informal Learning at Work: Triggers, Antecedents, and Consequences., 6, New Perspectives on Learning and Instruction, Routledge, London.
  • Shanks, RK 2017, 'Air & Light & Time & Space: How Successful Academics Write', Education in the North, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 76-77.
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