Dr Rachel Shanks

Dr Rachel Shanks
Dr Rachel Shanks

Dr Rachel Shanks


Senior Lecturer

Accepting PhDs



I have worked in higher education, community education, the trade union movement and the voluntary sector. 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 a local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships
External Memberships

Prizes and Awards

Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (Advance HE)

Teaching Qualification Further Education/ BA Professional Development Team, 2021


Research Overview

Professional learning and mentoring covering both formal and informal learning.
Children and young people's rights combine my legal and community work background and my interest in social justice.

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in Education.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me


Accepting PhDs

Current Research

Professional learning

Co-Investigator of Measuring Quality in Initial Teacher Education (MQuITE)


University students mentoring school students

Children's Rights

Young people and participation in decision-making

School uniform, dress code and appearance policies. 


My current supervision areas are: Education.

Current PhD Students

Completed PhDs

2021 Annette Moir - Exploration of children’s awareness of their coping strategies and enhancement of their resilience skills

2020 David Di Domenico - Educators' views, experiences and approaches to cultural diversity: understanding pre-registration adult nursing education at a Scottish university 

2020 Maryam Alnoaimi - Citizenship Education in the Kingdom of Bahrain: A case study exploring perceptions of school principals, senior teachers, teachers and students

2019 Ramona Statache - Business Social Media Use by Remote Rural Micro Tourism Enterprises in the Scottish Highlands

2019 Madhawi Alharbi - Using Mobile Games in Teaching English as a Foreign Language Vocabulary at a Saudi Female High School

2019 Khanchai Wongchana - Thai University Student and Teacher Perceptions of Studying Tourism through English Using a CLIL Approach

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

Funding and Grants

In 2021 I received pump-prime funding for interdisciplinary research from the University of Aberdeen for work on the Affordability and Sustainability of School Uniform. This pilot study has investigated the impact of school uniform banks on the affordability and sustainability of school uniforms in Scotland.

Principal Investigator of BERA COVID-19 research: New teachers’ responses to COVID-19: building on Initial Teacher Education for their professional learning.

Co-Investigator of Measuring Quality of Initial Teacher Education (MQuITE) in Scotland funded by the Scottish Government 2017- A longitudinal study involving all higher education institutions that provide initial teacher education in Scotland.

Co-Investigator of EU Marie Curie COFUND grant (2018-22) Political Concepts in the World (POLITICO). The POLITICO PhD programme builds on the success of the interdisciplinary training provided by the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and the Rule of Law (CISRUL), which specializes in the global application of political ideas. 


Teaching Responsibilities

Course Co-ordinator for:

SX1011 Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities

ED1521 Learning from Work

ED505P Using NVivo for Qualitative Data Analysis

Non-course Teaching Responsibilities

NVivo training for staff and postgraduate students

Personal tutor


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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals

Other Contributions