Skip to content

Professor Colin McCaig

Professor of Higher Education Policy


Summary

Dr Colin McCaig is a Professor of Higher Education Policy in the Sheffield Institute of Education, with 20 years' experience in education policy research. Colin's research interests are in the area of inequalities of access to higher education which he approaches through critical analyses of policies concerning the marketisation of higher education. A policy analyst by background, Colin's PhD thesis, Preparing for Government: Education policymaking in the Labour Party 1994-1999 (Department of Politics, University of Sheffield) was successfully defended in 2000. Colin also holds a Masters in Political Economy from the Department of Politics, University of Sheffield.

He has published widely in areas of education policy and has recently published a co-edited book on the impact of marketisation on equality of access to HE Equality and Differentiation in Marketised Higher Education: A New Level Playing Field? for Palgrave (June 2018); and a single-authored book on the Higher Education and Research Act for Emerald Publishing entitled: The marketisation of English Higher Education: a policy analysis of risk-based system (September 2018). 

About

Colin is a Professor of Higher Education Policy and part of the Centre's Leadership Group; he leads on Post-16, FE and HE policy research within the Centre (with responsibility for encouraging academic publishing among centre members), and represents CDARE on various bodies including the Sheffield Institute for Policy Studies (as Co-Director); the Research Leadership Group (D&S) and Professors and Readers Group.

He was entered in the 2014 REF and his work is central to a REF 2021 Impact Case Study on widening participation to HE. He is currently Director of the SIoE's team on the Formative Evaluation of National Collaborative Outreach Programme, a longitudinal study over four years (2017-21) and is currently engaged in projects for the Scottish Funding Council (developing an Evaluation Toolkit), HEFCE (an evaluation of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme) and for the University and College Union (on perceptions of the Teaching Excellence Framework). 
He was Principal Investigator on the highly influential Office for Fair Access (OFAA) project tasked with designing statistical and qualitative tools to measure the Effectiveness of Institutional financial support on student success, reporting in December 2016. The Office for Students (OfS) requires all HE Providers (HEPs) to use these instruments when reporting on the efficacy of their support for students from poorer backgrounds. 

Along with Professor Jacqueline Stevenson, Colin led the Evaluation of the National Networks Collaborative Outreach project (2015-17) for HEFCE. He co-directed research into the Impact of number controls, choice and competition: An analysis of the student profile and the student learning environment in the new higher education landscape (funded by an open call grant from the Higher Education Academy) with Professor Carol Taylor. 

He has a long-standing interest in educational choice making among teenagers, working on a EEF funded evaluation of the ThinkForward Programme in London (a coaching intervention designed to deter young people from becoming NEET) and has carried out various evaluations of Aimhigher intervention activities designed to raise educational aspirations among secondary school pupils. He is Director of Studies for three current PhDs and supervises two EdD students. Colin is and Editor of the academic journal Higher Education Review, and co-convener of the High Education Special Interest Group within the British Educational Research Association (BERA).

Teaching

Social Sciences and Arts

Policy

EdD

Ed.D policy module

PG Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education 'The 'normal' student' module

Research

Formative Evaluation of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) 2017-21

Scottish Funding Council Toolkit for Fair Access (2018-20, 80,000 with CFE Research)

Office for Fair Access Understanding the evaluation of outreach interventions to widen access to higher education to under 16 year olds in England from disadvantaged backgrounds (2017-18 £50,000)

HEFCE Evaluation of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (2017, £40,000)

Office for Fair Access (OFFA) Understanding the impact of institutional financial support on student success (2015-16 OFFA £53,000)

HEFCE evaluation of the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (with IPSE, London Metropolitan University (2015-16 HEFCE £108,000.))

HEA research grant (with Carol Taylor): "Evaluating the impact of number controls, choice of competitions: An analysis of the student profile and the student learning environment in the new higher education landscape". 2013 (HEA, £17,694)

Research into the need for and capacity to deliver STEM related Apprenticeship Provision in England, 2013 (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, £99, 250)

Evaluation of the ThinkForward Pilot, 2013-17 (Education Endowment Foundation, £46,000).

Within Sheffield Hallam University

Research into the BME Attainment Gap at SHU (2017-2018) for the Shaping Futures Board

External


The Evaluation of National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCOs) for HEFCE, working with the Institute for Policy Studies in Education, London Metropolitan University (2015-2017)

The Impact of the Schwartz Report 'Fair admissions to higher education' four years on, 2008 (for DIUS) with the Institute for Education Policy Research, Staffordshire University.

Evaluation of ThinkForward Pilot, 2013-2015 (for Education Endowment Foundation) with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Essex

Research into the need for and capacity to deliver technical apprentices, 2013, (for BIS) with the Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick

Publications

McCaig, C., & Adnett, N. (2009). English universities, additional fee income and access agreements: their impact on widening participation and fair access. British Journal Of Educational Studies, 57 (1), 18-36. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8527.2009.00428.x

McCaig, C. (2011). Trajectories of higher education system differentiation: structural policymaking and the impact of tuition fees in England and Australia. Journal of education and work, 24 (1-2), 7-25. http://doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2010.534772

McCaig, C. (1998). Labour’s policy development in opposition: The changing constraints on action. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 50 (3), 425-435. http://doi.org/10.1080/13636829800200059

McCulloch, G., & McCaig, C. (2002). Reinventing the past: The case of the English tradition of education. British Journal of Educational Studies, 50 (2), 238-253. http://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8527.00200

McCaig, C. (2003). School Exams: Leavers in Panic. Parliamentary Affairs, 56 (3), 471-489+ii+iv. http://doi.org/10.1093/parlij/gsg101

McCaig, C., & Adnett, N. (2008). Variable tuition fees and widening participation: the marketing of English institutions through access agreements. http://www.shu.ac.uk/research/ceir/downloads/BERA2008paperCM.pdf

McCaig, C. (2010). Access agreements, widening participation and market positionality: enabling student choice? In Molesworth, M., Nixon, E., & Scullion, R. (Eds.) The marketisation of higher education and the student as consumer. Routledge: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415584470/

McCaig, C. (2015). The impact of the changing English higher education marketplace on widening participation and fair access : evidence from a discourse analysis of access agreements. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 17 (1), 5-22. http://doi.org/10.5456/WPLL.17.1.5

McCaig, C., Clague, L., Hogarth, T., & Gambin, L. (2014). Technical apprenticeships : research into the need for and capacity to deliver STEM related Apprenticeship Provision in England. London: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/297650/Research_into_the_need_for_and_capacity_to_deliver_STEM_related_Apprenticeship_Provision_in_England_-_Final_-_March_2014.pdf

Taylor, C., & McCaig, C. (2014). Evaluating the impact of number controls, choice and competition : an analysis of the student profile and the student learning environment in the new higher education landscape. York: Higher Education Academy. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/resources/Impact%20of%20number%20controls%20choice%20and%20competition.pdf

McCaig, C. (2015). Marketisation and widening participation in English higher education : a critical discourse analysis of institutional access policy documents. Higher Education Review, 48 (1), 6-24.

McCaig, C., Harrison, N., Mountford-Zimdars, A., Moore, D., Maylor, U., Stevenson, J., ... Carasso, H. (2016). Closing the gap: understanding the impact of institutional financial support on student success. Office for Fair Access. https://www.offa.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Closing-the-gap-understanding-the-impact-of-institutional-financial-support-on-student-success.pdf

McCaig, C. (2017). Book Review: Access and Expansion Post-Massification: Opportunities and Barriers to Further Growth in Higher Education Participation Jongbloed, Ben W.A and Vossensteyn, Hans (eds.), 2015. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 19 (2), 167-172. http://doi.org/10.5456/WPLL.19.2.167

McCaig, C. (2018). System differentiation in England: the imposition of supply and demand. In Bowl, M., Mccaig, C., & Hughes, J. (Eds.) Equality and differentiation in marketised higher education: a new level playing field?. (pp. 73-93). London: Palgrave: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319783123

McCaig, C. (2018). System differentiation in England: the imposition of supply and demand. In Bowl, M., Mccaig, C., & Hughes, J. (Eds.) Equality and differentiation in marketised higher education: a new level playing field?. (pp. 73-93). London: Palgrave: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319783123

McCaig, C., Bowl, M., & Hughes, J. (n.d.). Conceptualising equality, equity and differentiation in marketised higher education: fractures and fault-lines in the neoliberal imaginary. In Bowl, M., Mccaig, C., & Hughes, J. (Eds.) Equality and differentiation in marketised higher education: a new level playing field?. (pp. 195-210). London: Palgrave: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319783123

McCaig, C., Bowl, M., & Hughes, J. (n.d.). Conceptualising equality, equity and differentiation in marketised higher education: fractures and fault-lines in the neoliberal imaginary. In Bowl, M., Mccaig, C., & Hughes, J. (Eds.) Equality and differentiation in marketised higher education: a new level playing field?. (pp. 195-210). London: Palgrave: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319783123

McCaig, C. (2018). The Marketisation of English Higher Education A Policy Analysis of a Risk-Based System. Emerald Group Publishing.

McCaig, C. (2018). The marketisation of English Higher Education: a policy analysis of a risk-based system. United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing. https://books.emeraldinsight.com/page/detail/The-Marketisation-of-English-Higher-Education/?k=9781787438576

Journal articles

Mccaig, C. (2020). Who are we Widening Participation for? Research Intelligence (quarterly magazine), 143, 15-17. https://www.bera.ac.uk/publication/summer-2020

Mccaig, C. (2020). Who are we Widening Participation for? Research Intelligence (quarterly magazine), 143, 15-17. https://www.bera.ac.uk/publication/summer-2020

Madriaga, M., & McCaig, C. (2019). How international students of colour become Black: a story of whiteness in English higher education. Teaching in Higher Education. http://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2019.1696300

McCaig, C., & Lightfoot, N. (2019). Higher education, widening access and market failure: towards a dual pricing mechanism in England. Social Sciences, 8 (10), 268. http://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8100268

McCaig, C. (2018). A graduate tax fifty years on: a solution looking for a different problem? Higher Education Review, 50 (2), 27-32.

McCaig, C. (2014). The retreat from widening participation? : the National Scholarship Programme and new access agreements in English higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 41 (2), 215-230. http://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2014.916672

Adnett, N., McCaig, C., Slack, K., & Bowers-Brown, T. (2010). Achieving "transparency, consistency and fairness" in English higher education admissions: progress since Schwartz? Higher education quarterly, 65 (1), 12-33. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2273.2010.00468.x

Conference papers

McCaig, C. (2019). Five stages of marketisation in English higher education policymaking. SRHE blog https://srheblog.com/2019/03/29/five-stages-of-marketisation-in-english-higher-education-policymaking/, 1. https://srheblog.com/2019/03/29/five-stages-of-marketisation-in-english-higher-education-policymaking/

McCaig, C., Stevenson, J., & Madriaga, M. (2017). Partnership working in widening participation policy: collaboration in a competitive climate. In BERA Annual Conference 2017, Brighton, 4 January 2017 - 6 January 2017.

McCaig, C., & Lightfoot, N. (2017). A dual pricing mechanism: modelling the English higher education market? In European Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2017, Copenhagen, 21 August 2017 - 24 August 2017. http://www.eera-ecer.de/ecer-2017-copenhagen/

McCaig, C. (2016). Exploring the role of financial support in supporting marginal students in English HE: methodological issues. In BERA Annual Conference 2016, University of Leeds, Leeds, 12 September 2016 - 15 September 2016. https://www.bera.ac.uk/beraconference-2016

McCaig, C. (2016). Developing a research proposal. In Widening Participation Conference : 'HE: Transforming lives through life-wide learning', Milton Keynes.

McCaig, C., & Stevenson, J. (2016). (Re)conceptualising ‘disadvantage’ in UK widening participation policy: possibilities for transformation? In Widening Participation Conference : 'HE: Transforming lives through life-wide learning', Milton Keynes, 27 April 2016 - 28 April 2016.

McCaig, C. (2015). Neoliberalism and the drivers of system differentiation: a journey from equality to equity. In SRHE Annual Research Conference, Newport, South Wales, 2015 - 2015. https://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2015/

McCaig, C. (2015). English higher education : the historical and political context for marketisation, differentiation and equity. In BERA Annual Conference 2015, Belfast, 15 September 2015 - 17 September 2015. https://www.bera.ac.uk/beraconference-2015

McCaig, C., & Taylor, C. (2013). Evaluating the impact of student number controls, choice and competition on the changing HE landscape. In Society for Research into Higher Education Annusl Conference, Celtic Manor, Newport, South Wales, 2013 - 2013.

Coldwell, M., Maxwell, B., & McCaig, C. (2010). Cultures of career development: senior leaders' and early career teachers' views of career. In BERA Annual Conference September 2010, Unviersity of Warwick, 1 September 2010 (pp. 1-20).

McCaig, C. (2009). OFFA Access Agreements, bursaries and 'fair access' to higher education - opening up a new front in the WP wars? In BERA annual conference, Manchester, 2 September 2009 - 5 September 2009 (pp. 1-23).

McCaig, C., Stevens, A., & Bowers-Brown, T. (2006). Does Aimhigher work? evidence from the national evaluation. In Higher Education Research Network, Sheffield, 2006 (pp. 1-16).

Larson, A., Garland, P., & McCaig, C. (2009). How can the concepts of habitus and field help us to understand the engagement of educational workers in higher Education? In European conference of education research, Vienna, 28 September 2009 - 30 September 2009. http://www.eera-ecer.eu/ecer-programmes/conference/ecer-2009/contribution/581-1/?no_cache=1&cHash=e4fb3787ee

McCaig, C. (2015). Market driven system differentiation in England : can it foster equity and diversity? In ECER : Education and Transition - Contributions from Educational Research, Budapest, 7 September 2015 - 11 September 2015. http://www.eera-ecer.de/ecer-2015-budapest/

Book chapters

McCaig, C. (2018). Continuity and Discontinuity on the Road to Risk and Exit: Stages of Marketisation in Comparative Policy Analysis. In Mccaig, C. (Ed.) The Marketisation of English Higher Education. (pp. 125-164). Emerald Publishing Limited: http://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78743-856-920181005

McCaig, C. (2018). Continuity and Discontinuity on the Road to Risk and Exit: Stages of Marketisation in Comparative Policy Analysis. In Mccaig, C. (Ed.) The Marketisation of English Higher Education. (pp. 125-164). Emerald Publishing Limited: http://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78743-856-920181005

McCaig, C. (2010). Research and evaluation design. In Mccaig, C., & Dahlberg, L. (Eds.) Practical research and evaluation: a start-to-finish guide for practitioners. (pp. 29-40). 2010: Sage: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/textbooksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book232215#tabview=toc

McCaig, C. (2010). Research and evaluation design. In Mccaig, C., & Dahlberg, L. (Eds.) Practical research and evaluation: a start-to-finish guide for practitioners. (pp. 29-40). 2010: Sage: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/textbooksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book232215#tabview=toc

McCaig, C., & Dahlberg, L. (2010). Writing a research proposal or brief. In Mccaig, C., & Dahlberg, L. (Eds.) Practical research and evaluation: a start-to-finish guide for practitioners. (pp. 59-75). Sage: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/textbooksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book232215#tabview=title

McCaig, C., & Dahlberg, L. (2010). Writing a research proposal or brief. In Mccaig, C., & Dahlberg, L. (Eds.) Practical research and evaluation: a start-to-finish guide for practitioners. (pp. 59-75). Sage: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/textbooksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book232215#tabview=title

McCaig, C., & Dahlberg, L. (2010). Dissemination. In Mccaig, C., & Dahlberg, L. (Eds.) Practical research and evaluation: a start-to-finish guide for practitioners. (pp. 219-237). Sage: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/textbooksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book232215#tabview=title

McCaig, C., & Dahlberg, L. (2010). Dissemination. In Mccaig, C., & Dahlberg, L. (Eds.) Practical research and evaluation: a start-to-finish guide for practitioners. (pp. 219-237). Sage: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/textbooksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book232215#tabview=title

McCaig, C., & Smith, M. (2006). Technology supported learning and teaching: a staff perspective. In O'Donoghue, J. (Ed.) Technology supported learning and teaching: a staff perspective. (pp. 106-124). USA: Information Science Publishing: http://www.igi-global.com/Bookstore/TitleDetails.aspx?TitleId=980&DetailsType=Description

McCaig, C., & Smith, M. (2006). Staff perspectives on ILT: Findings from a national evaluation of the learning and skills sector. In Technology Supported Learning and Teaching: A Staff Perspective. (pp. 106-124). http://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-59140-962-5.ch007

McCaig, C. (n.d.). English higher education: widening participation and the historical context for system differentiation. In Bowl, M., Mccaig, C., & Hughes, J. (Eds.) Equality and differentiation in marketised higher education: a new level playing field?. (pp. 51-72). London: Palgrave: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319783123

McCaig, C. (n.d.). English higher education: widening participation and the historical context for system differentiation. In Bowl, M., Mccaig, C., & Hughes, J. (Eds.) Equality and differentiation in marketised higher education: a new level playing field?. (pp. 51-72). London: Palgrave: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319783123

Books

Bowl, M., McCaig, C., & Hughes, J. (Eds.). (2018). Equality and differentiation in marketised higher education: a new level playing field? Palgrave. https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319783123

Reports

Bowes, L., Tazzyman, S., Sandhu, J., Moreton, R., Birkin, G., McCaig, C., ... Wright, H. (2019). The National Collaborative Outreach Programme. End of phase 1 report for the national formative and impact evaluations. Office for Students. https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/ncop-end-of-phase-one-evaluation-report/

Bowes, L., Tazzyman, S., Sandhu, J., Moreton, R., Birkin, G., McCaig, C., ... Wright, H. (2019). The National Collaborative Outreach Programme. End of phase 1 report for the national formative and impact evaluations. Office for Students. https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/ncop-end-of-phase-one-evaluation-report/

Diamond, A., Bowes, L., Moreton, R., Welford, J., Crawford, C., McCaig, C., ... Frances, N. (2018). Scottish toolkit for fair access: Interim report. CFE Research.

Harrison, N., Vigurs, K., Crockford, J., McCaig, C., Squire, R., & Clark, L. (2018). Understanding the evaluation of access and participation outreach interventions for under 16 year olds. Bristol: Office for Students. https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/a8ad5c94-7a33-4b53-8f09-824d0705f073/ofs2018_apevaluation.pdf

Harrison, N., Vigurs, K., Crockford, J., McCaig, C., Squire, R., & Clark, L. (2018). Evaluation of outreach interventions for under 16 year olds. Tools and guidance for higher education providers. Bristol: Office for Students. https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/e2c5eea5-b262-4ff6-8261-5b0bc84ba46a/ofs2018_apevaluation_a.pdf

Austen, L., Donnelly, A., McCaig, C., & O'Leary, C. (2018). Evaluation of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme. Office for Students website: Office for Students. https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/evaluation-of-the-national-teaching-fellowship-scheme/

Tazzyman, S., Bowes, L., Moreton, R., Madriaga, M., & McCaig, C. (2018). Report: National Collaborative Outreach Programme Year one report of the national formative and impact evaluation, including capacity building with NCOP consortia. CFE Research for HEFCE. http://www.hefce.ac.uk/media/HEFCE,2014/Content/Pubs/Independentresearch/2018/NCOP,Year,1,report,of,the,national,formative,and,impact,evaluation/2018_ncopyear1.pdf

Tazzyman, S., Bowes, L., Moreton, R., Madriaga, M., & McCaig, C. (2018). Year one report of the national formative and impact evaluation, including capacity building withNCOP consortia. Bristol: HEFCE. http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/rereports/year/2018/ncopyear1/

Stevenson, J., McCaig, C., & Madriaga, M. (2017). Evaluation of the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCOs). Sheffied Hallam University for HEFCE.

McCaig, C., & Taylor, C. (2014). Evaluating the impact of number controls, choice and competition : an analysis of the student profile and the student learning environment in the new higher education landscape. Colin McCaig.

Coldwell, M., Maxwell, B., McCaig, C., & Stevens, A. (2011). NQT Quality Improvement Study for the Training andDevelopment Agency for Schools : Synthesised key findings from all five stages of the NQT Quality Improvement Study. Sheffield Hallam University for the Training and Development Agency for Schools.

Theses / Dissertations

Dent, S.R. (2019). Recognising Students in Higher Education Who Care for Children. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by McCaig, C. http://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00272

Presentations

Madriaga, M., & Mccaig, C. (2019). How international students become black: a story of whiteness in English higher education. Presented at: Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Conference, Newport, Wales

McCaig, C. (2017). Evidencing the impact of your institution's financial support. Presented at: Developing your access agreement conference, Woburn House, London, 2017

McCaig, C. (2016). The impact of the TEF, changes to degree awarding powers and university title in a marketised HE landscape. Presented at: BERA Higher Education Special Interest Group Seminar: The (Proposed) Teaching Excellence Framework: Whose world-view is this anyway?, Institute of Education, London, 2016

Other publications

McCaig, C., & Bowers-Brown, T. (2007). Aimhigher: achieving social justice? http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/168534.htm

Other activities

Editor of the Higher Education Review
Co-Convener of the BERA Higher Education Special Interest Group
Co-Director of the Sheffield Institute for Policy Studies
Member of The Edge Foundation Research Review Group
Editorial Board member: Higher Education Studies

Postgraduate supervision

Nick Marshall, Catherine Rowlands, Ruth Squire, Catherine O'Connor, Richard Bell

Media

Colin McCaig's main interests are in inequalities of access to higher education, the impact of higher tuition fees and of student number controls on university access and admissions policies.

Share this page

Cancel event

Are you sure you want to cancel your place on Saturday 12 November?