• Cromore Road, Coleraine Campus

    BT52 1SA Coleraine

    United Kingdom

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1996 …2023

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Personal profile


Una O’Connor is a Senior Lecturer and Research Director (Education) and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

She has over 25 years teaching and research experience, focusing on policy and practice in a range of contexts that underline the wider social, cultural, economic and political influences on where and how education takes place.  As a qualified teacher and social researcher, she has extensive knowledge and experience of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research.  She has had a sustained record of multi-disciplinary and multi-agency research income, securing over £1.7M across 38 external research awards, including ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative, Atlantic Philanthropies, Department of Education, Integrated Education Fund.  Her work was returned in RAE2008, REF2014 and REF2021, and was included as an Impact Case Study in the two REF cycles.

She is currently involved in research on sustainable school provision in Northern Ireland, with a focus on stakeholder engagement using the Community Conversation methodology.  Other recent activity has included research on SEN policy and provision in NI, including the ESRC-funded longitudinal data analysis of pupils with SEN using education and social data, and a regional survey of home-schooling during the COVID-19 lockdown.  She has published widely in a range of peer reviewed academic publications, and presented her research at national and international conferences as well as to government committees. 

She is a member of the University Research Ethics Committee.

Research Interests

Una's research interests can be broadly defined within an ecological model of social justice and inclusion that encompasses civic engagement, sustainable schooling, special educational needs; and the classroom assistant workforce.

Teaching Interests

Una's teaching interests include teacher professional development, special education and inclusion, and research methods in education.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Member ethical guidelines review group, British Educational Research Association

PhD Examiner, Dublin City University

PhD Examiner, Durham University

PhD Examiner, University of Exeter


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