Dr Joan O’ Mahony – Bloomsbury Institute

Dr Joan O’ Mahony

Director of Academic Development


I am responsible for supporting the development of academic staff, including through participation in external opportunities in ways that raise the external profile of Bloomsbury Institute.

Previously I was Senior Advisor (Teaching and Learning) at Advance HE where I worked with higher education institutions across the UK providing strategic advice to improve the student experience and student outcomes; I was also Director for a number of Advance HE’s cross-HEI developmental programmes.  Before that I spent over six years at Higher Education Academy where I led the HEA’s work on student retention.

Between 2003-2008, I worked at London School of Economics where I held a Leverhulme Fellowship at the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation before taking up an Alcoa Fellowship at what was then LSE’s Centre for Environmental Policy and Governance.

I have held several lecturing and teaching posts: Lecturer at the Anglo-American College in Prague, Lecturer at Buckinghamshire College of Higher Education; Teacher, occasional lecturing, and Examiner at LSE, and Tutor at Huddersfield including PhD supervision. My time at LSE included a particularly enjoyable two years as a Course Director for LSE’s Widening-Participation Summer Schools. I also had a 3-year stint as Examiner for University of London External Degrees.


I enjoy conversations, research and collaborative work with colleagues across the HE sector. I am currently Chair of Governors of a Secondary School in London.

Qualifications, Affiliations and Memberships

  • BSc and PhD (both LSE)
  • Member – British Educational Research Association (BERA)
  • Member – Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA)
  • Member – Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE)

Selected Research and Publications

  • E Pollard, J Vanderlayden, K Alexander, H Borkin, J O’ Mahony (authors listed by institution) (2021) Student mental health and wellbeing: Insights from higher education providers and sector experts. pp 1-104, Department for Education, UK Government. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/he-student-mental-health-and-wellbeing-sector-insights.
  • J Stevenson, J O’Mahony, O Khan, F Ghaffar, B Stiell (2019), Understanding and overcoming the challenges of targeting students from underrepresented and disadvantaged ethnic backgrounds, PP 1-63, Office for Students. https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/understanding-and-overcoming-the-challenges-of-ethnicity-targeting/
  • L Thomas, M Hill, J O’ Mahony, M Yorke (2017) Supporting student success: strategies for institutional change – What works? Student retention and success. Final report. PP 1-85. London: Paul Hamlyn Foundation. https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/supporting-student-success-strategies-institutional-change
  • Jeanne Keay, Helen May, Joan O’ Mahony (2014) Improving learning and teaching in transnational education: can communities of practice help? Journal of Education for Teaching. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02607476.2014.903025
  • Joan O’ Mahony (2014) Enhancing student learning and teacher development in transnational education, PP 1-48, Higher Education Academy. https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/enhancing-student-learning-and-teacher-development-transnational-education
  • Sole or dual authored publications in the following academic journals: West European Politics; Democratisation; Religion and Politics; Journal of Corporate Citizenship; Widening Participation & Life-long Learning; Journal of Civil Society; and working papers and short pieces

Selected conferences and panels

  • Panel Chair, The Big Conversation: Getting Student Engagement Right (2021) Advance HE Student Engagement Conference 2021
  • Invited panellist at Access to Higher Education for members of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities (10 Sept 2019) House of Lords
  • Keynote at Addressing and eradicating racial disparities in higher education (10 June 2019), Society for Research into Higher Education
  • Keynote at Increasing Student Engagement Across Higher Education. (26 March 2019) Inside Government.
  • Invited speaker for British Council’s Inward Mission for the Ministry of Education Ghana, Centralised Admissions and Widening Participation, 27 Nov 2018. British Council