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Personal profile

Teaching Interests

Prof. Lebeau teaches qualitative research methods as well as  international higher education policies and  educational management  at  both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  Yann also contributes to post-graduate research training workshops  (policy analysis, qualitative data analysis). He was the course director of the Masters in Education at UEA until 2013 and the Associate Dean for postgradaute research in Social Sciences  between 2013 and 2018.  He currently supervises  both PhD and EdD students working on a range of educational policies in the UK and internationally.

Preferred area of research supervision:

Higher Education Global Governance

Education Policy Transfers

Higher Education and Development


Academic Mobility

Academic Identities

Student Experience


Yann Lebeau is Professor of Higher Education Research, and Head of the School of Education and Lifelong Learning. He joined the School in 2007 after holding teaching and research positions in France (Brest, Bordeaux), in Nigeria (Ibadan) and at the UK's Open University. His research interests are in the sociology of higher education communities and where higher education, policy and social change intersect. He has done extensive empirical research on the University/society nexus and on questions  of  international policy transfers, internationalisation, academic  mobility,  in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and in Europe.  Yann is a member of several education and development research networks. He has been involved  for 20 years in desgining and supporting  research training and research capacity  building   worldwide, notably with the  Open Society Foundations and with the Council for the Development of Social Sciences in Africa  (CODESRIA).

Yann  has been teaching and supervising on both postgraduate and undergraduate programmes of the School. Alongside  his involvement in the School's leadership and management as Chair of the Ethics committee (2009-11) deputy head of school (2010-13), leader of the higher education research group (since 2010),  course director of the Masters in Education (2011-13),  and Director of Research (2018-20), Yann has been a member of the University senate (2010-1013) and was Associate Dean with responsibility for the Faculty of Social Sciences Graduate School from 2013 to 2018.

Key Research Interests

Internationalization of Higher Education

Academic mobility

Comparative perspectives on university governance

Higher Education policies in the Global South

Yann Lebeau is currently finalising proejcts and  papers  on the impact of policy  transfers  on the governance  of public universities in Saudi Arabia (with Jaber Alruwaili, Jouf University), and  on the drivers of expansion of Higher Education in Africa  (with  Ibrahim Oanda, CODESRIA as part of the  UNRISD programme  on Universities and Social Inequalities in the Global South).

Yann  is also  working with  Etienne Gerard (CEPED, Université de Paris) on a historical  analysis  of  international  mobility patterns of Mexican academics. This study is an offshoot of  the large international study of Mexican academic and scientific mobility (ROMAC) led by Rocio Grediaga (UAM), supported by a grant from the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), and completed in 2017.   Yann coordinated the data collection in the UK for ROMAC as well as contributing to the design of the qualitativel analytical framework for the study of destination choices. The  ROMAC book was published (in Spanish) in December 2019 by the Mexican publisher  Siglo XXI.

Other completed  research  collaborative  projects include the ESRC-NRF network programme and book led by Jenni Case and  Paul Ashwin on Higher Education Pathways: South African Undergraduate Education and the Public Good (published December 2018); a study  with Vassiliki Papatsiba (University of Sheffield) shedding new light on the interactions between research policies, institutional strategies and academic practice from a sociological perspective.   Findings from this research have been presented at various European conferences (ECER 2012, SRHE 2012, CHER 2013)  and were published  in 2015 by the European Educational Research Journal.

Previous research projects in the UK looked at the Social and Organizational Mediations of University Learning (ESRC-TLRP project), and at Regional perspectives on the role of higher education institutions in social transformation (ESRC-Funded). These collaborative projects generated a number of publications and presentations, including the books Improving What is learned at university (2010) which was awarded a prize by the Society for Educational Studies in November 2011; and The University in Its Place: Social and Cultural Perspectives on the Regional Role of Universities co-authored with John Brennan, Allan Cochrane and Ruth William (Springer 2018). 

Yann is a member of several education and development research networks, and a member of the editorial boards of Policy Reviews in Higher Education and of the British Journal of Sociology of Education. He was editor of the Journal of Higher Education in Africa (CODESRIA) until December 2011. He initiated and is coordinating a research group in EDU on Higher Education Research (RHES) which meets bimonthly and organises seminars in UEA.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or