Learning Gain

Staff profiles

Dr Sherria Hoskins

Project lead: Portsmouth

Before beginning her degree in Psychology in 1991 Sherria qualified as a Basic Adult Education tutor and taught adults who had left school without basic reading, writing and mathematics skills. This was the beginning of her passion for understanding how a student could be in a learning context without learning occurring and seeking to rectify this. 

Sherria completed her PhD at the University of Plymouth in March 1999, exploring HE learners' approaches to studying.  Soon after, she joined the University of Portsmouth where in 2009 she became the Head of Psychology.

In 2012 her contribution to learning and teaching was recognised by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) with the award of a National Teaching Fellowship and in 2014 she became a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Her current research explores learners of all ages, taking a social cognitive psychology approach to understanding how learners’ implicit theories and self-theories (e.g. self-efficacy and implicit theories of intelligence, also known as mindsets) affect learning behaviour and attainment.  In 2012 Sherria created an educational consultancy business within the University of Portsmouth, Growing Learners.  The business has worked with over 250 schools around Europe to develop pupils’ learning resilience and attainment.

Dr Sherria Hoskins

Dr Valerie Anderson

Project team: Portsmouth

Valerie is a Reader in Human Resource Development in Portsmouth Business School.

Valerie’s academic career was preceded by extensive HRM and HRD management and consultancy experience in a range of different public and private sector organisations. Valerie specialises in research and teaching about learning and development in higher education and in organisational settings, she is also an experienced Research Methods tutor. Her textbook, Research Methods in HRM, is nationally recognised as a key text for undergraduate and postgraduate HRM students.

Valerie is a Co-Editor of the leading international research journal, Human Resource Development Quarterly, is Chair of the Research Activities Committee of the Universities Forum for Human Resource Development and is an active member of the Portsmouth Business School, Business Education Research Group (BERG). She is course director of the Portsmouth Doctorate in Business Administration Programme and academic lead for the Integrated Doctorate. She undertakes a range of applied research projects in collaboration with academics and practitioners in the UK and overseas.

Dr Valerie Anderson

Dr Jessica Gagnon

Project team: University of Portsmouth

Dr Jessica Gagnon joined the School of Education and Childhood Studies at the University of Portsmouth in July 2016 as a Research Fellow. She is an educational sociologist and she completed her PhD in February 2016 at the University of Sussex, earning an unconditional pass/no corrections. Jessica’s doctoral research was focused on the university experiences of the daughters of single mothers in the United Kingdom.

She earned an MSc in Social Research Methods from the University of Sussex and an MA in Higher Education Administration from Santa Clara University, both with distinction. She completed her BA in English and Journalism with honours at Framingham State University. Jessica is a first-generation student from an American working-class, single mother family. She has worked in higher education in the US and UK for more than 15 years. Jessica has taught at the undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral levels.

Dr Jessica Gagnon

Dr Emily Mason-Apps

Project team: Portsmouth

Emily is a Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth and is working full time on the Learning Gain project. She graduated from the University of Bristol in 2007 with a first class honours degree in Psychology. She moved to the University of Reading to complete an MSc in Developmental Psychopathology where she also completed her PhD. For her PhD Emily ran a longitudinal study looking at predictors of language in typically-developing infants and infants with Down’s syndrome.

Emily has worked at the University of Portsmouth as a Research Fellow since October 2012. Before starting on the Learning Gains project, Emily worked on two longitudinal education research projects, exploring how learners’ implicit theories of intelligence (also known as mindsets) impact students’ attainment and learning behaviour. Emily was part of the team that established “Growing Learners” at the University of Portsmouth, and has worked with over 250 schools around Europe, delivering training to develop pupils’ learning resilience and attainment.

Emily is interested in developmental psychology and educational psychology, and is passionate about conducting education research that aims to inform policy and practice, and therefore improve education for learners of all ages.

Professor Andy Thorpe

Project Team: Portsmouth

Andy is a Professor of Development Economics in Portsmouth Business School and has published in internationally renowned journals such as World Development, Food Policy, Marine Resource Economics, Climatic Change, Marine Policy, The Journal of Latin American Studies, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Kyklos, Natural Resources Forum, Oxford Review of Education, Agriculture and Human Values, the African Development Review and Defence and Peace Economics.  In terms of educational research he is interested in factors that impact upon student academic performance such as class, gender and ethnicity, language (as measured via IELTS at entry) ability, and sporting endeavour and has also published on the accuracy of A-level predicted grades.

Professor Andy Thorpe

Dr Arnaud Chevalier

Project team: Royal Holloway London

Arnaud completed his PhD in Economics at the University of Birmingham in 2000. He subsequently went for post-doc positions at the Centre for the Economics of Education (London School of Economics) and at the Geary Institute (University College Dublin). After a short spell as a lecturer at the University of Kent he joined the Economics Department at Royal Holloway in 2006, where he is currently a Reader. In 2013, he obtained a mid-career fellowship from the British Academy and has been on leave at the Institute for the Future of Labor (IZA) in Bonn since September 2014.

Following his first job as a research assistant for a UCAS-funded project, Arnaud’s research interest has mainly focused on education decisions, especially of graduates, and on the interactions between family and educational decisions. He has published in prestigious economic journals such as the Journal of Political Economy and the Economic Journal.

Dr Arnaud Chevalier

Dr Michael Tomlinson

Project Team: University of Southampton

Dr Michael Tomlinson is Lecturer within Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton.

Michael is a lecturer in Education and Director of the Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD). He was previously a lecturer at Keele University in the School of Public Policy and Professional Practice. Following an ESRC-funded doctorate and ESRC post-doctoral fellowship in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, he worked on a large-scale ESRC-funded project at the Cardiff Business School exploring leadership and leadership development in the public services.

His research is located broadly within the sociology of education and work, particularly in relation to the changing context and nature of work and its impact on people's identities and approaches to work and careers. More specific research interests lie in the higher education and labour market interplay and the social construction of ‘graduate employability'. Within this area, his research has explored transitions from higher education to work and how employability is constructed and managed by students and graduates. He is also interested in graduates' early career experiences and their engagement in processes of work-related learning and skill formation. Michael has recently completed various funded projects, including the social, educational and institutional dimensions of access to higher education (funded by the Greek Education Ministry) and the impact of recent policy changes on student attitudes to learning in higher education (funded by the Higher Education Academy).

Dr Michael Tomlinson