Professor Becky Francis
Professor of Education & Social Justice
Director of the MA Education, Policy
& Society and MA Education
& Professional Studies.
School of Education,
Communication & Society
Date started at King’s
2012 – 2016
Challenges and achievements
When and what was responsible for you becoming interested in your academic discipline?
I became interested in education and social in/equality serendipitously, applying for an advertised funded PhD in the area which caught my eye. The interest in social inequalities built on my feminist interests as an English undergraduate.
What are your research interests, and what drew you to this area?
My research interests include constructions of gender and other aspects of social identity in the classroom, the impact of social identities on educational attainment, education policy, and the role of education in the reproduction of inequality.
Tell us about a couple of your achievements that have been particularly rewarding.
I am enjoying my current role as Advisor to the Education Select Committee for their Inquiry on academies. This builds on my Directorship of the recent independent Academies Commission (Chair: Christine Gilbert), which has been satisfyingly influential. In terms of my more academic work, I relish contributing to the development of theory on gender identities, drawing on data from a series of ESRC-funded classroom-based research projects, which are always fascinating and rewarding to undertake.
Do you have professional role models? Who are they and what do you find inspiring about them and their accomplishments?
I have been lucky to have very good friends and collaborators throughout my academic career. The two most central of these – with whom I have been privileged to write and publish extensively – are Professors Christine Skelton (Birmingham) and Louise Archer (King’s College London). Both are brilliant, funny and wise. They have brightened work via shared passion and inspiration, but also by ‘having a life’, lightening frustrations, sharing glories and tribulations, being ever-supportive - in short, by being great mates.
What do you feel is the most enjoyable/rewarding aspect of your job at King’s?
The opportunities to work and collaborate with so many experts, including across departments.
How do you balance the various demands of a career in academia: research, teaching/learning, administration?
Not brilliantly! At the moment life is somewhat dominated by my role on the Research Excellence Framework Sub-panel for Education.
How do you balance an academic career with life outside the workplace?
I haven’t found this too challenging, because I have a very supportive partner who has shared fully in child-care (indeed, he has most recently taken the leading role). I think work/family balance is very important, and try to avoid working beyond hours/at weekends.
What have you learnt from your experiences that you would like to share with others?
Developing collaborative relationships with colleagues that share your intellectual passions will make work more stimulating, productive and manageable!