Dr Marie Stephenson

Marie Stephenson

Senior Lecturer

Education and Inclusion

Contact Details

email: m.stephenson@worc.ac.uk

Marie joined the Department for Education & Inclusion in 2014 and brings extensive teaching experience from the post-compulsory (FE) sector. Marie has several specialisms, which include teaching the visually impaired, having spent a few years designing and delivering courses at the Royal National College for the Blind. She teaches on undergraduate & post graduate courses in the Department for Education & Inclusion and is pathway lead for the MA in Education (Leadership & Management). Marie also spent time in the USA, delivering on the Executive Leadership Doctoral Program at the George Washington University, Graduate School of Education & Human Development.

Marie holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership & Management and a doctorate in Education. Her doctoral thesis concerned “Ethical decision-making: Learning from Prominent Leaders in Not-for-Profit Organisations”. The research has provided many insights into the ethical leader mindset, particularly how such leaders maintain their moral compass in morally intense situations in value expressive organisations (contexts). The contribution adds to the field by linking individual ethical awareness, with that of the organization and as corollary, society. The concepts of responsibility, trust and ethics are shown to be perpetually interwoven.

 Marie is also academic tutor for a range of students at different levels of their study, she enjoys working with others to help develop their independence, academic skills and to empower them to reach their potential both personally and professionally. This academic support extends to supervision of independent modules at L6, masters dissertations and doctoral supervision in her field of expertise. Marie enjoys the collaborative elements of her role and takes great pleasure in working with colleagues on shared interests, across disciplines and departments. Recent work of this nature includes exploring the literature surrounding notion of inclusive leadership, and how it is underpinned by principles such as equality, fairness, dignity, respect, and democracy, as well as further writing with colleagues which seeks to understand how educational leaders use collaborative engagement within groups of their peers as a form of professional development.

Marie’s interest in ethical leadership also extends to her university roles; she is one of the Academic Integrity Tutors for the School of Education and works hard in ensuring that both students and staff understand the importance of maintaining high standards of academic practice, delivering developmental work, advice, and guidance across the school.


Academic Qualifications

  • PhD in Education February 2018


  • PGCert Research Methods, University of Worcester (Distinction) - 2013


  • MSc Educational Leadership and Management (Distinction), University of Worcester – February 2008


  • BTEC Professional Award: Teaching Adults with a Visual Impairment (2006)


  • PGCE in Education (Education & Training) with Distinction, University of Wales – 1998


  • Further & Adult Education Teachers’ Cert (1997)

Professional Qualifications

  • BTEC Professional Award: Teaching Adults with a Visual Impairment

Teaching & Research

Teaching Interests

  • EDST3128 (Extension Module) – design and delivery, supporting students to independently write on a topic of their choice.
  • MAED4124 (Leadership, Research, Theory & Practice) – one of two modules for the MA in Education Leadership & Management pathway. A highly exciting topic, packed with up-to-date research for those aspiring or interested in the topic of educational leadership.
  • MAED4123 (Leadership in Context) – the second of two modules which explores the notion that context is everything in leadership and offers a new way to see and explore the factors that drive the leadership response.

    Marie also guest teaches on a range of other modules with colleagues (EDST3118 – Values in Education) and on the BA (Hons) in Special Educational Needs, Disability & Inclusion) where possible and on her field of expertise.

Research Interests

Marie is currently engaged in supervision of a PhD concerning the importance, benefits and impacts of professional learning communities (cluster groups of headteachers) for leadership learning and professional development. A recent book chapter concerning this topic is in final edits, for publication in the USA in Spring 2022 (On Leadership: An interdisciplinary approach). Marie continues to research in the field of leadership with special interest in Crisis Leadership, Ethical Leadership & Relational Leadership.

Marie's interests also include topics around values (personal & professional) and ethical and moral relativity and the importance for educators to understand their philosophical stance, positionality, and the impacts of their behaviour on educational stakeholders and wider society. Finally, Marie would describe herself as a qualitative researcher, committed to approaches that are rich and descriptive, which allow for meaningful reflection, reveal insights and thus, give meaning to practice.

Professional Bodies

  • IPDA (International Professional Development Association) Member
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Stephenson, M., Solvason, C., France, T., & Sheehan, P. (2022). Developing Effective Professional Learning Communities for Senior Leaders. In: Fowler, D., & Raehll, M. B. (eds.) On Leadership: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing Inc.

Smith, J. & Stephenson, M. (2021). Towards Inclusion: Rhetoric & Reality. In: Sewell, A. & Smith, J. (eds.) Introduction to Special Educational Needs, Disability & Inclusion: A Student’s Guide. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Stephenson (2018). “Ethical Decision-making: Learning from prominent leaders in not-for-profit organisations”. PhD thesis, University of Worcester, Worcester, UK.


Stephenson, M E. (2015, October 17th). Ethical decision-making: Learning from Prominent leaders is not for profit organisations. University of Worcester Post Graduate research Conference, City Campus, Worcester University, United Kingdom.

Stephenson, M. E. (2014, June 20th). Elite and Specialized Interviewing in Leadership Research. University of Worcester, Post-Graduate Research Conference, City Campus, Worcester, United Kingdom.

Stephenson, M. E. (2013, May 25th). Ethical Leadership: A flawed construct in a stagnant field. University of Worcester Research Student Conference, St John’s Campus, Worcester University, United Kingdom. 

External Roles

School Governor S.H.A.P.E International School, British Section, Mons, Belgium.