Skip to content

Katherine Friend

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)
Undergraduate and Professional Education


As a Lecturer, Dr. Katherine Friend is involved with a variety of undergraduate modules ranging from education policy to a specialism examining social justice in education. Dr. Friend also supervises Postgraduate research students.

While at Edinburgh, Katherine’s doctoral thesis investigated the experiences of underrepresented students in higher education and how government policy to widen participation (in the U.K. and U.S.A.) attempted to provide equal access to all higher education institutions. Her doctoral work illuminated how, on one hand, the expansion of higher education has fostered discussions pertaining to the social characteristics of the student body, and, on the other hand, how the massification of higher education has paradoxically created an institutional hierarchy.

Career overview

Katherine joined NTU in January of 2016. Prior to this post, she worked for Durham University, University of Edinburgh, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Durham University, U.K.

Tutor, St. Chad’s College: September 2012 – June 2015

University of Edinburgh, U.K.

Seminar Instructor: January 2013 – May 2014

Undergraduate Thesis Supervisor: October 2013 – July 2014


Education 1A: Lifespan Development, Socialisation, and Learning. Seminar Tutor. Autumn 2013.

Education 1B: Teaching, Learning, and the Societal Context of Education. Seminar Tutor. Spring 2013, 2014.

University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A.

Director of the First- and Second-Year Experience & Tutorial Coordinator.

September 2008 - May 2012

Directed 0-54 Credit Programme & Committee for the Center for Academic Excellence. The programme monitored all first-year and second-year students from the time of application and acceptance, to completion of 54 degree credits. Oversaw all tutorial services and 70 undergraduate tutors who supported 200-300 students each year. This programme widens participation and seeks to reduce significant attainment gaps among underrepresented students.


Counselling Psychology 125: A Wisconsin Experience Seminar. Lecturer. Spring, 2011.

Educational Leadership, Planning & Analysis 350: Peer Leadership and Mentorship with Transitioning Students. Lecturer. Autumn, 2011.

International Studies 320: Global Citizenship and US-Chinese Relations: Reflections on Economic Disparity, Environmental Sustainability, and Peaceful Coexistence. Lecturer. Autumn, 2010.

Curriculum Development:

Summer Collegiate Experience

Created the curriculum and established learning benchmarks for a foundation programme designed to raise aspirations.

First-Year Seminar

Biweekly seminar addressed concerns of newly admitted students, and identified potential academic deficiencies. Topics included Study Abroad, Career Services, Academic and Mental Health.

AAP Learn@UW Second-Year Course

Designed a module to address concerns for second-year students such as major declaration, academic requirements, average marks, and internship and career exploration.

Research areas

After completing her first and second degrees in History at the University of Colorado, Boulder (U.S.A.), and the University of Warwick (U.K.), Katherine completed her Ph.D. at the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh (2016). Her Ph.D. thesis was entitled ‘Widening Participation Initiatives and the Experience of Underrepresented Students at Three Elite Institutions: a comparative study’.

Katherine is a research-active member of staff, and her work examines the cross-cultural differences (and similarities) between widening participation policy and finance in British and American universities. Policies enacted to widen participation have largely failed to eliminate inequality in the university system because of deep and complex issues. Katherine’s research examines how universities are microcosms of larger social structures, and how factors like capital, race, and gender affect underrepresented student identity formation (and the overall experience) in higher education.

Katherine’s research interests include the following (in both British and American higher education contexts): widening participation policy; university finance initiatives;the student experience; social and cultural hierarchies and their effects; internationalization in HE.

External activity

Professional Development & Memberships

Society for Research in Higher Education, London

CREID & CES Widening Participation in Scotland

Access and Widening Participation Colloquium, Scotland

Association of American Colleges and Universities

National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (USA)
American College Personnel Association

Institute on Sophomore Student Success (USA)

Conference on the First Year Experience (USA)

International Center for Supplemental Instruction Training (USA)


Conference Papers & Presentations:

‘The Underrepresented Student Experience at Elite Institutions: Six students’ views from England, Scotland, and America.’ Presented at Society for Research in Higher Education, Newport, South Wales, 2016.

‘Class, Gender, and Widening Participation: How three elite institutions balance admission pressures with rank, and the impact on first-generation, low-income, male students.’ Presented at Interweaving Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2013.

‘Peer Mentoring for Success.’ Presented at American College Personnel Association

Convention, Boston, Massachusetts, 2010.

‘Peer Mentoring for Success.’ Presented at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, Washington, D.C., 2010.

‘Digital Media and the Relation to Student Learning: Student-Created Media: Four

Instructors Talk.’ Center for the First-Year Experience, Madison, Wisconsin, 2011.