Professor Sarah Hayes

Professor Sarah Hayes

Professor in Higher Education Policy

  • Email address
  • Phone number 01902 01902 323057
  • Location College of Learning & Teaching | University of Wolverhampton Harrison Library | Wulfruna Street | Wolverhampton | WV1 1LY
  • Faculty Faculty of Education Health & Wellbeing
  • Institute Institute of Education
  • Areas of expertise

    Sarah is a Principal Fellow of the HEA and has worked in higher education for over 20 years, teaching across the fields of Sociology, Technology and Education at UG and PG levels and developing new modules and programmes. As Programme Director for Aston’s Masters in Education (2014 - 2018), Sarah encouraged a transformative approach amongst participants, who built a community of practice by drawing on the creative arts, popular culture and social theory to aid them in integrating their identity and practice across teaching and research. Participants negotiated their own learning outcomes and could submit creative artefacts for assessment with an autoethnographic narrative to support this. Whilst at Aston University, Sarah chaired periodic reviews of programmes, led an institutional consultation to develop a new learning and teaching strategy (2016/17) and managed a team of lecturers, teaching fellows and learning technologists. Sarah has also taught in a range of international locations (Italy, Vietnam, India, Singapore and Muscat) on partner programmes and is an external examiner at other institutions. Sarah has led a range of funded teaching and research projects at Aston University and at University of Worcester, including a HEFCE Catalyst funded learning analytics project.


Sarah is Professor in Higher Education Policy, based in the College of Learning and Teaching (CoLT), at University of Wolverhampton, and a Principal Fellow of the HEA. Previously Sarah was a Senior Lecturer at Aston University, where she is now an honorary professor. Sarah led a Masters in Education and also taught Sociology at Aston University for a number of years. Prior to this, Sarah taught in the Business School at University of Worcester. Sarah takes a critical pedagogical approach and was a co-recipient in 2013 for a British Sociological Association (BSA) teaching award and achieved a SEDA Institutional Change Leader Award in 2015 for student partnership. Sarah has taught internationally in Italy, Vietnam, India, Singapore and Muscat.

Sarah’s research into Higher Education policy intersects across Sociology, Technology and Education. She has edited several special issues, published articles, books and chapters through European Political Science, Open Review of Educational Research, Brill, Libri, Springer, Routledge and Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI). Sarah has also published several Wonkhe articles and was commissioned by UK Parliament (2017-2018) to encourage stronger student and teacher engagement with Parliamentary resources. She was commissioned by the UK Quality Assurance Agency (2015) to write on MOOCs and Quality. Sarah has led several Jisc and HEFCE-funded projects.


Sarah regularly publishes articles and books about Higher Education policy and post-digital society. Sarah's background is in Sociology and her research interests span the fields of Sociology, Popular Culture, Education, Technology, Politics and Critical Social Theory. Her latest book, The Labour of Words in Higher Education: is it time to reoccupy policy? is available through Brill

Sarah is a member of the Education Observatory and is joint Unit of Assessment (UoA) Coordinator, with Michael Jopling, for the Education submission of the Research Excellence Framenwork (REF) at University of Wolverhampton.

Sarah is an Associate Editor for the Springer Journal: Postdigital Science and Education

Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA)

British Sociological Association (BSA)

American Educational Research Association (AERA)

British International Studies Association (BISA)

PhD in Sociology, Aston University

MSc in Educational Research, Lancaster University 

PGCert for HE, University of Worcester

HNC in IT Management, University of Worcester

BA (Hons) in Art and Design, Herriot Watt University, Edinburgh


Hayes, S. (2019) The Labour of Words in Higher Education: is it time to reoccupy policy?Brill.

Jandrić P. and Hayes, S. (2018). The postdigital challenge of redefining education from the margins. Learning, Media and Technology.

Jandrić et al. (2019). Between the blabbering noise of individuals or the silent dialogue of many: a collective response to postdigital science and education. Postdigital Science and Education

Hayes, S. and Jandrić P. (2018). Resisting the iron cage of ‘the student experience’. Solsko polje

Ritzer, G., Jandrić, P., & Hayes, S. (2018). The velvet cage of educational con (pro) sumptionOpen Review of Educational Research.

Sinclair, C. & Hayes, S. (2018). Between the post and the com-post: Examining the postdigital 'work' of a prefix. Postdigital Science and Education.

Hayes, S. (2018). Invisible labour: Do we need to reoccupy student engagement policy?. Learning and Teaching, 11(1), 19-34.

Jandrić, P., Knox, J., Besley, T., Ryberg, T., Suoranta, J., & Hayes, S. (2018). Postdigital science and education.Educational Philosophy and Theory

Peters, M. A., Jandrić, P. and Hayes, S. (2018). ‘The curious promise of educationalising technological unemployment: What can places of learning really do about the future of work?’ Journal of Educational Philosophy and Theory

Jandrić, P., Ryberg, T., Knox, J., Lacković, N., Hayes, S., Suoranta, J., Smith, M., Steketee, A., Peters, M., McLaren, P., Ford, D. R., Asher, G., McGregor, C., Stewart, G., Williamson, B. and Gibbons, A. (2018). Postdigital Dialogue. Postdigital Science and Education, 1-27. 

Branch, J., Hayes, S., Hørsted, A., Nygaard, C. (Eds) (2017) Innovative Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Oxford: Libri

Grant, T, Clark, U, Reershemius, G, Pollard, D, Hayes, S, and Plappert, G. (2017) Quantitative Research Methods for Linguistics. London: Taylor & Francis.

Obradovic-Wochnik, J. and Hayes, S. (2016).ʻRoom for Imaginationʼ: Audio-Visual Assessments and Active Learning in Critical International Relations. European Political Science

Hassan, I. and Hayes, S. (2016). ‘Transforming the relationship between staff and students to effect change’.The Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change

Hayes, S. (2015). A Sphere of Resonance for Networked Learning in the ‘non-places’ of our Universities.Networked Realms and Hoped-For Futures Special Issue of E-learning and Digital Media.Sage.

Gill, B, Hayes, S. and Senior, C. (2015). The Effects of Family Support and Gender on Mature Student Engagement in Higher Education. Frontiers in Psychology.

Hayes, S. and Jandrić P. (2014). Who is Really in Charge of Contemporary Education? People and technologies in, against and beyond the neoliberal university.Open Review of Educational Research. 1(1),193 - 210

Prior to moving into Higher Education, Sarah worked in finance between 1989 - 1993. She managed a small team running a branch of a building society based in Worcester.

Sarah also ran her own business: 'Bare Threads' between 1986 - 1988 in Edinburgh.