Dr Wei Zhang

Associate Professor in Education

School/Department: Education, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 229 7506



I have been teaching and researching in higher education sector for 12 years, 10 of which are spent at the University of Leicester, supervising students at Masters and Doctoral level on areas surrounding educational leadership, international education and higher education studies. I am committed to supporting the University’s significant number of international postgraduate students. Having completed my MA and PhD as an international student, I appreciate the difficulties of conceiving academic practice as a non-native speaker of English. I am, therefore, determined to address international students’ learning needs to ensure diversity and differentiation in teaching and concomitantly, help them establish successful learning journeys. I am committed to conducting innovative research and delivering inspiring teaching.


My research to date can be categorised into two strands: one strand centres on educational leadership, school effectiveness and improvement, and educational governance in relation to the disjuncture between education administrators’ espoused policy and school practitioners’ enacted practice; the other strand focuses on higher education studies, including HE digital pedagogy, school university partnership, critical policy analysis, university finances and governance. Methodologically, I adopt case studies or quasi-experimental designs, using mixed methods to conduct educational evaluation and policy analysis. Both strands contribute to understanding and modifying locally contextualised development of educational practice.


I am interested in supervising topics related to my research interests which include:
Higher education studies, including HE pedagogy, research assessment, finance and leadership
Educational policy analysis
Educational governance
Understanding and evaluating school university partnership
Research methods teaching and learning


I have demonstrated considerable success in leading two Masters programmes – MA International Education (campus-based) and MSc Educational Leadership (distance learning). This is reflected in my skills and competencies needed to deliver high quality teaching and to manage administrative tasks, taking advantage of education technologies. As the pandemic endures, I have grasped the opportunity for technology-enhanced pedagogical innovation, contributing to the School of Education’s move towards ‘parity of esteem’ between distance and campus-based education. The case of cross fertilisation of pedagogical approaches in both PGT programmes were identified and shared as good practices across the university.
I also supervise doctoral students within my research interests. To date, eight of my PhD students have successfully completed their studies with two more to submit theses by the end of 2022.


Journal editorship: Educational Research and Evaluation

Editorial Board member: Review of Education; Education 3-13:  International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education 

External Examiner      
1. University of Aberdeen: MSc Leadership in Professional Contexts
2. Scottish College for Education Leadership Programmes: Middle leadership, Into Headship & In Headship)
3. University of Warwick: MSc Educational Leadership and Management (and exit awards) 

Peer Reviewer: Research in Higher Education; Studies in Higher Education; The Journal of Higher Education; British Educational Research Journal; Educational Management, Administration & Leadership; Frontiers of Education in China; School Effectiveness and School Improvement etc.

External reviewer and curriculum developer: Emirates College for Advanced Education
UAE Ministry of Education (MEd programme in Educational Transformation & Innovation; PhD in Education)



2022: International Conference on World Class Universities
2021: Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Research Conference
2020: Centre for Global Higher Education
2019: Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Research Conference
2018: British Educational Leadership, Management & Administration Society Annual Research Conference

Media coverage

Times Higher Education Magazine (THE) referred to my research in July 2018, October 2019, September 2020, October 2022 and included my data in their database. 


BA (Hohai University, China), MA (Warwick), PhD (Manchester), Fellow of HEA
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