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Peter Kahn


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Personal profile


Peter Kahn is Professor of Digital Education for the School of Environment, Education and Development. His research is focused on applying critical realist perspectives to the study of higher education, addressing such areas as digital education, collaboration and sustainability in higher education. He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2014, and is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is Editor of the international journal Teaching in HIgher Education.

He was previously Director of the Centre for Higher Education Studies at the University of Liverpool, where he led a large-scale online professional doctorate in higher education studies.

Prior to that, Peter worked at the University of Manchester from 2000-2007 as a Senior Professional Development Advisor in the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Office. In this role he established a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education within the University, and acted as Project Manager for the project that agreed the University's framework of academic regulations during the merger between the University of Manchester and UMIST. He was responsible for introducing Enquiry-Based Learning as a focus for excellence in teaching and learning within the University.


Supervision information

I am interested in taking on doctoral students that apply the paradigm of critical realism to research into higher education (for instance, in the areas indicated above). I am a principally qualitative researcher, although I remain open to quantitative approaches given a background in the discipline of Mathematics. I have supervised approaching 30 doctoral theses to completion, having acted as the director of a professional doctorate in higher education studies for some 11 years. You may find the following short guide to critical realism helpful in considering the relevance of this paradigm to a potential research project.

Please note that it is very competitive to secure a University of Manchester scholarship to fund doctoral research. Given this, it is important to have access to an alternative source of funding if you are seriously considering applying for a doctorate here. Any approaches around doctoral supervision should be closely tailored to the interests indicated in this profile.  

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
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

Areas of expertise

  • LB2300 Higher Education


  • Higher Education
  • Critical realism
  • Digital Technologies
  • Collaboration


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