Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

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Research Group

Professor Linda Evans

Professor of Leadership and Professional Learning

Educated at Stand Grammar School for Girls (in Whitefield, Manchester) I became an academic in 1990 after a 15-year career as a primary school teacher. Before coming to Leeds I worked at the University of Warwick. I enjoy European travel and learning foreign languages, and as a French student many years ago spent a period of study at the University of Dijon in Burgundy (now l'Université de Bourgogne). More recently, I lived in France in 2011 as visiting professor at the Institut français de l'éducation in Lyon. I remain a fluent French speaker and I speak reasonably fluent German. In my leisure time I enjoy the theatre and visiting historical sites. I am a fan of the website, Onehundredthousand words, and I am a lifelong Manchester United supporter.


  • Teacher's certificate (with distinction), University of Manchester
  • Diploma in Mathematical Education
  • B.Ed (hons.) class I, Lancaster University
  • MA in Education, Lancaster University
  • PhD, University of Warwick
  • Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française (DALF) level C1

Research Interests

My substantive research interests lie in the broad field of professional working life, including professionalism, professional learning and development, and professional work cultures. I have carried out empirical studies of teachers' and academics' working lives, including factors influencing their morale, job satisfaction and motivation. Recently I researched what academics, university teachers and researchers think of the quality of academic leadership that they receive from professorial colleagues, and I then followed up that study with one of professorial academic leadership from the perspectives of professors themselves, and a third study that examines the preparation and development of university professors. I am currently working on a study of academic journal editors' professionalism. I enjoy developing theory and theoretical perspectives that are not context-specific, such as conceptual analyses and theoretical models. 

I have a strong interest in educational leadership and management (in particular, the much-neglected perspective of 'the led'). Much of my recent research has been located in the context of higher education, but I am equally interested in issues related to working life in the compulsory education sector. I am particularly interested in researcher development and the development of research cultures and research capacity.

My list of publications may be accessed by the link on the left of this page, or on my Google Scholar profile.

Recent and current funded research projects

Leading professors: examining the perspectives of the led in relation to professorial leadership - funded by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (with co-investigators Professor Steve Rayner from Oxford Brookes University and Dr Matt Homer, University of Leeds) 2011-12.

Professorial academic leadership in turbulent times: the professoriate's perspective - funded by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (with co-investigators Dr Justine Mercer from the University of Warwick and Dr Matt Homer, University of Leeds) March 2012- February 2013

'Leadership preparation and development for UK-based university professors' - funded by the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) September 2012-August 2013

Academic journal editors' professionalism: perceptions of power, proficiency and personal agendas - funded by the Society for Research into Higher Education, (with co-investigator, Dr Matt Homer) May 2013-April 2014

'The purpose of professors: professionalism, pressures and performance' - a stimulus paper commissioned by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, 2012-13.

Editorial responsibilites

I am an associate editor of Educational Management, Adminstration and Leadership.

Recent and forthcoming speaking invitations

  • March 2nd, 2013, 'Key issues in leading and managing people in schools and colleges', invited keynote address at Inovação e Lideranças Escolares, 1ª Conferência Internacional (1st international conference on school leadership and innovation), Universidade Aberta, Portugal, at the Cidade do Engenho e da Arte, Fundão.
  • May 17th 2013, 'Researching professionalism and professional development: concepts, theory and rigour', invited keynote address, University of Greenwich EdD weekend.
  • June 6th 2013, '"Misleading" professors? Cautionary tales of ineffective or damaging professorial academic leadership', invited plenary presentation at Questioning Leadership in Higher Education, seminar at the University of Bristol Graduate School of Education.
  • October 21st 2013, 'What is the role of professors in providing academic leadership?', invited seminar within the Leaders@Leeds open dialogue series, University of Leeds.
  • October 30-31st 2013, 'Effective academic leadership', keynote address presented at the invitation of the Mauritian Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science, Research & Technology, at the 1st Assises de l'Enseignement Supérieur (national consultative forum on the development of Mauritian tertiary education), Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science, Research & Technology, Cyber Tower, Ebène, Mauritius.
  • November 14th 2013, 'Effective research leadership in higher education: what it is, what it looks like, and how it may be achieved', invited seminar at the Learning Institute research seminar series 2013-14, Queen Mary University of London.
  • January 15th 2014, 'Examining the purpose and role of professors', invited workshop facilitated by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, held at the office of the Society for Research into Higher Education  (co-presenter: Justine Mercer).


I currently teach on the MA in International Educational Management and am responsible for one of its modules: Developing Staff for Institutional Improvement.

PhD Supervision

I can offer postgraduate research supervision in the following areas, in which I have researched and published widely:

  • morale, job satisfaction and motivation
  • professional development
  • professionalisation and professionalism
  • educational leadership and management
  • teaching and learning in higher education
  • academic practice and working life in the higher education sector
  • qualitative research methodology
  • researcher development
  • research cultures in HE

Current research students

  • ALALI, Awf
  • HOLDEN, Laura
  • JIANG, Fang
  • LODHI, Ahmad

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