Isolation in Globalizing Academic Fields: A Collaborative Autoethnography of Early Career Researchers

Dr Marcia Christina Ferreira and her research group The Scrutinizers recently wrote an article on the problem of Academic Isolation among Early Career Researchers (ECRs). The group looked at how PhD students, post-docs and assistant professors may feel separated from the academic field to which they aspire to belong.


The Scrutinizers used Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) field as a context to discuss how academic isolation is a broader problem than is sometimes recognised, with important implications for well-being and productivity. Their research findings point to tactics that ECRs can use to better integrate into the CCT field. They also articulate the strategies that core actors in the field have used to facilitate ECRs’ integration and make CCT inclusive.


The article is available for download from the Academy of Management Learning and Education website:

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Here’s a short version of the article published on The Conversation:

Teaching award for Sue Hardman, Senior Lecturer in Financial Accounting & Auditing

Graduation is a time to celebrate the achievements of our students who have finished their degrees, to recognise the success of our alumni, and to acknowledge the contributions of exceptional staff. At this year’s summer graduation ceremony, the Business School decided to mark the outstanding contribution of Mrs Sue Hardman to teaching and student support at Brunel.

Sue H

Mrs. Hardman is a Senior Lecturer in Financial Accounting & Auditing, and she also leads the Division of Accounting and Finance. She is a professional certified accountant with more than 20-years’ experience teaching accounting in Universities. She has developed innovative approaches to teaching, such as using video to support inclusive teaching or, most recently, using a chatbot to answer frequently asked questions. She has also been involved in numerous student support initiatives such as the Peer-assisted Learning (PAL) system.


Mrs Hardman was awarded the “Ken Darby-Dowman Memorial Prize”, which recognises those who have made an exceptional contribution to the development or delivery of student experience, through:

  • exceptional / inspiring teaching
  • exceptional support for students in their studies
  • exceptional contribution to the development of the student experience
  • exceptional provision of service to students
  • provision of exceptional pastoral support for students


When presenting the award, the Dean of the College of Business, Art and Social Sciences, Professor Thomas Betteridge, said:

Senior Lecturer (Academic Education) in Financial Accounting & Auditing, Sue Hardman is an innovative teacher and passionate about creating a supportive and exceptional learning experience for her students.

Her students would agree based on the outstanding feedback from them via the university’s Your Voice surveys.

Sue is always among the first staff to make the most of new initiatives, such as using Panopto recordings in her lectures and digital seminars as additional support to her students.

Over the years, Sue has led a number of projects with Brunel Educational Excellence Centre that have influenced the practice of her colleagues, so extending this exceptional service beyond students on her modules. Sue successfully introduced and developed peer-assisted learning mentoring scheme to Brunel Business School, which resulted in substantial improvements on the school’s student retention and attainment rates.

More recently, Sue initiated the development and led the establishment of the Business Education Research and Guidance Hub (BERGH). In addition to providing a forum for dissemination of best practice in teaching, learning, and assessment, BERGH members are behind a series of practical activities that enhance the students’ learning experience, including better co-ordination of PAL at BBS, overseeing Induction and Transition events, and promoting team-based learning activities.


The school’s appreciation for Mrs. Hardman’s contribution was evident in the very long ovation, from both faculty and students, following the announcement and presentation of the prize.