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Professor Viv Ellis

Professor of Educational Leadership and Teacher Development

About me

I joined King’s in 2016 and currently hold the Chair in Educational Leadership and Teacher Development. I have worked at Brighton, Southampton and Brunel universities and, from 2002 to 2013, in the Department of Educational Studies at Oxford University, where I co-convened the Centre for Sociocultural and Activity Theory Research (OSAT). Before working in universities, I was a schoolteacher for almost ten years. I have held senior leadership roles in schools and universities and I led the creation of Education as a separate academic Department at Brunel University during its major Transformation Initiative (TxP).

I completed the Advance HE’s ‘Leading Departments’ programme in 2015. 

I also work with colleagues at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York on our joint strategic initiative – the Centre for Innovation in Teacher Education and Development (CITED). You can read more about CITED here.  

Since 2017, I have also been collaborating with colleagues at the Education Commission in Southwark to develop innovative, community-engaged, teaching and leadership development programme across more than 120 schools in south-east London and Kent. 

My personal website is at: 


I’m based in the Centre for Language, Discourse and Communication (LDC) and my principal research interests are:

  • Teacher education and development;
  • Cultural-historical activity theory and practice-developing research; 
  • Rhetoric and rhetorical analysis;
  • Comparative studies of education - specifically related to teaching, teacher education and academic leadership with a particular focus on the USA, the Nordic countries and China. 

My research has been funded by, among others, the Arts and Humanities Research Council; the British Academy; the Higher Education Academy; the London Schools Excellence Fund; the Rackham Foundation; and the Society for Educational Studies. 

The research underpinning my recent book (with Jane McNicholl), Transforming Teacher Education: Reconfiguring the Academic Work ,has had international as well as national impact.  With colleagues I also edit the ‘Reinventing Teacher Education’ research monograph for Bloomsbury. 

For further information please see my Research Staff Profile 


I teach on the MA programmes in the School of Education, Communication and Society (ECS) and also on the doctoral training programme (methodology). I supervise MA, EdD and PhD students in ECS and I’m Chair of the MA International Education assessment sub-board. My doctoral students include ESRC-funded students through the LISS-DTP


Currently, I serve on the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy Academic Staff Committee at King’s and I’m also Chair of the MA International Education sub-board. Previously, I was Director of Research and a member of the Faculty Research Committee. Outside King’s, I serve on the Executive Board of Inspire to Teach, a project of the Education Commission in Southwark, and have joined the Advisory Board of the Teacher Education Advancement Network. I am also a member of the Ofsted External Advisory Group looking at inspection of initial teacher education programmes in England. Previously, I have also advised numerous government agencies and departments. 


I am an Honorary Research Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, a Visiting Professor at Central China Normal University and a Professor II at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. From 2017 – 2020, I’m a member of the Advisory Panel on Teacher Education Reform for the Norwegian Ministry of Education (NOKUT). I have worked on projects across two universities in Hong Kong and I was a member of the Education sub-panel for the Hong Kong RAE in 2014 and invited to serve again in 2020. Recent keynotes at international conferences have been in Australia, Ireland, Norway and China. I am a member of the American Educational Research Association and have served in various capacities for Division K, including the Graduate Student Seminar and the Legacy Award Committee.



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