Helen’s academic interest in higher education policy developed from more than 20 years of professional experience of university administration – in public relations and admissions.
She gained her doctorate from Oxford in 2010 (a study of the market created by the introduction of £3000 fees for Home/EU undergraduates at English universities in 2006); since then, she has conducted research into the impacts of student fees and funding on institutions, students, graduates and applicants within the higher education sector in England. She also works as a consultant to higher education institutions and fills senior interim roles in marketing, communications and student recruitment.
Helen was Pathway Convenor for the MSc Education (HE) for two years and continues to supervise Masters students researching her areas of interest within higher education. She is also an Associate of the SKOPE, the department’s research centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance, and a member of the Higher Education Research Group.
In Helen’s recent publication, as editor of UK higher education – policy, practice and debate during HEPI’s first 20 years (HEPI Report 161, 2023) for the Oxford-based higher education think-tank HEPI (the Higher Education Policy Unit), she draws on her academic and professional backgrounds to provide an overview of policy-making and its impacts across the UK higher education, in the context of the four increasingly diverse sectors that are emerging following devolution of responsibility to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Xin Xu (许心) is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), Department of Education, and a Junior Research Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford. Xin teaches on the MSc in Education (Higher Education) programme, and supervises DPhil and MSc dissertations. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).
Xin’s research concentrates on higher education and research. She has strong interests in the following research areas:
- Higher education studies, including sociology of higher education, higher education policy, internationalisation and globalisation of higher education, Chinese higher education and culture, higher education in East Asia.
- Research on research, including research policy, research evaluation, research incentivisation, research culture, research ethics, humanities and social sciences research, academic profession, global knowledge system, international academic mobility, and international research collaboration.
Projects she currently works on include the ESRC-funded CGHE project ‘the role of research in higher education and research assessment’, SRHE-funded project ‘International academics in mainland China’, and BAICE-funded project ‘Ethical research in international and comparative education during Covid-19’.
Xin is co-editor of Changing Higher Education in East Asia (with Simon Marginson; Bloomsbury, 2022) and author of journal articles and book chapters on the themes noted above. She serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Educational Research and Publications, and on the Research Management Committee of the Centre for Global Higher Education. She also convenes the agenda committee of CGHE Oxford.
Xin was previously an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. She holds a BA in English Language and Literature from Tsinghua University (First-Class Honours, one-year exchange at Heidelberg University), MA in Higher Education from Peking University (Distinction), and DPhil in Education from the University of Oxford (Clarendon Scholar, Emerald/HETL Outstanding Doctoral Research Award winner, CIES Globalization & Education SIG Dissertation Award winner).