About

The Changing University Cultures team is unique in its blend of academic and practitioner experience and expertise. Brief biographies are below – you can also access a list of publications here.

Alison Phipps, Professor of Gender Studies at Sussex University
Alison is a political sociologist who since 2002 has published widely on a number of different topic areas including educational and workplace inequalities (especially in science, engineering and technology), and harassment and sexual violence. She was consultant to the National Union of Students on Hidden Marks, the first national prevalence study of violence against women students. She also co-authored That’s What She Said, the NUS report on ‘lad culture’ which led to its national strategy framework in this area and interventions in over 50 individual institutions. She has recently finished co-leading USVReact, a major pan-European intervention which trained 900 university staff to respond to disclosures of sexual violence. She has worked closely with individual universities and sector organisations on equality issues as well as issues such as bullying, harassment and violence, and is on the advisory board of the 1752 Group, the UK’s first lobby group on staff sexual misconduct.

Liz McDonnell, Senior Research Fellow in Sociology at Sussex University
Liz is a senior social researcher who has worked since the late 1990s in academic and community settings conducting research around crime, health (HIV/AIDS, mental health), sexuality, family/parenting, disability, education, employment disadvantage and psychotherapy-related issues). She is an expert methodologist who has used and developed a range of qualitative research approaches and methods such as case studies, narrative and biographical inquiry, participatory/action research, Grounded Action Inquiry, diaries, interviews, focus groups, observation and documentary analysis. Her research interests are framed by a curiosity about connectedness, the relational, and how the social (including structural inequalities and disciplinary logics) are experienced and narrated by individuals. She is Chair of the SOC/ARTS Cross School Research Ethics Committee at Sussex University and research ethics is an area of interest and expertise.

Jess Taylor, Organisational Development Consultant
Since the early 2000s, Jess has developed, delivered and managed a range of consultancy interventions at an operational and strategic level in the UK women’s sector and elsewhere. These include: multi-agency domestic violence and counselling services; volunteering systems; staff supervision and coaching; leadership programmes; and cross sector partnership projects. She has helped a wide variety of organisations implement transformational change programmes, developing strong governance and change frameworks in support of these processes. With a passion for partnership, diversity and social justice, she utilises a range of systemic tools to ensure quality, value and sustainability of service provision in contexts involving highly complex processes and conversations. Find out more about some of Jess’ key projects here.