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.


Rachel has taken part in research projects funded by the Hunter Foundation, the Scottish Government, LEADER, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, various local government authorities, Awards for All, the Higher Education Academy, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

She has contributed to the learning of adults in higher education, community education, and the voluntary and trade union sectors. In higher education she has worked as a law lecturer, in the University of Aberdeen’s former Centre for Lifelong Learning and currently as Senior Lecturer in Education. In the late 1990s she 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. Rachel has also been an adult learning tutor, worked for the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux and for Aberdeen CAB.


Research Interests

Informal professional learning and mentoring.
Children and young people's rights including participation in decision-making in education.

Current Research

Professional learning

Teacher Induction in Scotland and the mentoring of new teachers
Measuring the Quality of Initial Teacher Education (MQuITE) in Scotland

Community learning and development

Health and Social Care for older people in Marr in the 2020s
Young people and participation in decision-making

Education law

Impact of Named Person duties on school principals


Erasmus+ project Mobile Learning in Higher Education (MINE)
Erasmus+ project Part-time and Short Course Higher Education in Serbia (PT&SCHE)
Online learning for those working in Community Learning and Development - Supporting Community Empowerment Mini-MOOC and Managing Change in Community Development MOOC


Teaching Responsibilities

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)
ED553T Advanced Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis and Interpretation (MSc Social and Educational Research)
Recognition of Prior Learning
Supervision of Masters Work-Based Projects

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 Robert White
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Khanchai Wongchana - Thai University Student and Teacher Perceptions of Studying Tourism through English Using a CLIL Approach with Prof Do Coyle (University of Edinburgh)

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

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Admin Responsibilities

Journal Board and Reviewer Information

Co-editor of Education in the North
Reviewer for Studies in Higher Education 
Scottish Educational Review 
Professional Development in Education 
European Journal of Teacher Education 
Physiotherapy Theory and Practice 
NordSTEP the Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy 
Education + Training 
International Journal of Training and Development
British Journal of Educational Technology 2013-2015