The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Adél Pásztor

Lecturer in Sociology

Background

Adél Pásztor is a Lecturer in Sociology at Newcastle University. Following her PhD in Sociology in 2005 (Corvinus University Budapest), she held two prestigious postdoctoral fellowships: she was a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute Florence (Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European Forum 2006-7) and a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Amsterdam (TIES RTN, 2007-9). She also worked as a lecturer at Northumbria University (2010-3) and was a visiting fellow at Oxford University (Dept. of Sociology), the Austrian Academy of Social Sciences (Vienna), and the European University Institute (Dept. of Social and Political Sciences). 

Dr Pásztor has a publication record in two substantive areas, namely the sociology of (higher) education and international migration. Her current research interests focus specifically on doctoral education and international student mobility. Recently she conducted research on international doctoral students studying at elite universities in the UK and a British Academy funded project on access to doctoral study. The findings, showing that doctoral education opportunities in the UK are strongly determined by UG educational choices, leading to strong path-dependencies and reinforcing existing institutional hierarchies, generated considerable interest from policy makers and the media. Currently she is developing new projects around the topics of: Academic careers in the age of neoliberalism and the Career benefits of international mobility.

Adél teaches the core research methods modules within the department. She also offers a postgraduate module on social divisions, and an optional module on educational inequalities in a global age while supervising both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Recently, she has won the NUSU Teaching Excellence Award in the category of: Taught Supervisor of the Year (2017). She is also the Admission Tutor for Sociology (since 2017; previously, Outreach and Engagement Officer, 2013-6) and the convenor of the Power, Inequality and Citizenship cluster

Externally, she is actively engaged in the Marie Curie Alumni Association where she is chairing the Career Development Working Group. She is also the founding member of the EducEight Group, a network that organised a number of international workshops and conferences for PhD students and early career researchers since 2007. Adél is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Editorial Board member of the British Journal of Sociology of Education.

She also peer-reviewed:

  1. journal articles for: International Migration Review, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Sociological Research Online, Studies in Higher Education, Educational Research.
  2. book proposals for Palgrave Macmillan and SAGE Publishing.
  3. grant applications for the ESRC and the Leverhulme Trust.


Research


RESEARCH INTERESTS AND EXPERTISE

I have expertise in two substantive areas, namely the "sociology of (higher) education" and "international migration". ​I have done considerable research on educational inequalities in the past, namely on: ethnic inequalities in educational achievement and attainment; exploring questions of higher education choice, aspirations, and access of non-traditional students; the HE experience of ethnic minority students; access to international student mobility, and the doctorate. I also carried out research on the internationalization of HE and the Bologna process and was involved in a cross-national survey project on the social and educational integration of the children of immigrants across Europe (the so called "second generation"). Methodologically speaking, I gained experience in a range of research methods from in-depth interviewing to the secondary analysis of large-scale data-sets. My past research projects involved fieldwork in Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Most recently I have been involved in research on doctoral education, academic careers and international student mobility. 

Access to doctoral study: a multi-institutional investigation of participation and non-participation at PhD level (with: Paul Wakeling, University of York; funded by the British Academy)  (completed)
During the last two decades there has been a staggering, if somewhat unnoticed growth in postgraduate student numbers in UK higher education. But despite the expansion, the number of students pursuing doctoral research degrees has remained relatively low. Very little is known about the background characteristics of postgraduates and specifically whether or not there are inequalities in access to postgraduate study. This is in stark contrast with the situation at undergraduate level where much research has been undertaken on inequalities in access to initial higher education and the barriers facing those from different groups. Based on interviews with more than fifty graduates from four English universities the project will comprise a detailed investigation of how and why some graduates came to enter PhD study and others did not. The research generated considerable interest from policy makers and the media:

  • Following my talk at the BSA’s annual conference (Glasgow, 2015) I was interviewed by the Times Higher Education Supplement: PhD loan scheme 'may not be the right approach' - 30/04/2015  Subsequently, the THES invited us to reflect on the government’s proposal on postgraduate loans:  PhD loans: The wrong carrot? - 28/05/2015 
  • The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) expressed an interest in our research and the Research Council UK (RCUK) requested to use our findings in their response to the Government’s consultation on support for postgraduate study.

Moving on or moving away: Doctoral students at elite institutions (in progress)
Doctoral education in the age of precarity is facing significant challenges. Today’s PhD graduates face an increasingly competitive job market with no guarantee of securing an academic job, let alone tenure. The uncertain returns at the academic labour market fail to explain the massive growth in doctoral student numbers experienced in recent decades. While much of the expansion is attributed to international students targeting world-class HE institutions in the UK and beyond, to date, relatively little is known about what motivates students to enroll on doctorates, and what they subsequently see as benefits gained and costs accrued. Thus the aim of this research is to remedy the situation by exploring the motives and career aspirations of doctoral students in the age of neoliberalism and casualization of academic labour.


OTHER PROJECTS AND EVENTS

Co-organiser of an international symposium on Imagining Citizenship in an Era of Fragility: Questions of Inequality, Identity and Memory (14-15 March 2017)

I was also involved in a project aimed at “Exploring feedback: a student-participatory research project into what students actually do with their feedback” (with Dr Anselma Gallinat), funded (£3,500) by the School Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee (2014-5).  

Further, I was part of the organising committee of a one-day symposium on Negotiating reform in contemporary Higher Education: The question of ‘student engagement" which took place in September 2015. The event successfully brought together researchers, administrators as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students. 


If you are interested in doing a PhD in the areas described above, or any other area related to my research interests, you are very welcome to contact me. 


CURRENT PHD STUDENTS:

  • Angus McVittie (ESRC 1+3 award) ‘Feeling Your Future?’: Class Habitus and Emotional Capital in Valuing Undergraduate Degrees and Apprenticeships (with Robert Hollands)
  • Amnah SA (funded by the Saudi government ) Saudi PhD students in the UK: Academic integration and it's challenges (with Alina Schartner and Ruth McAreavey)

PAST STUDENTS:

  • Cristian Moreh: Multiple dimensions of East-European immigration to the UK: The Romanian and the Hungarian case 
  • Andreea CiureaRethinking remittance flows of Romanian students and graduates
  • George Stobbart: Can the presence of children in asylum seeker and refugee families enhance community cohesion in a socially disadvantaged urban locality? 


Teaching

CURRENT TEACHING
  • SOC2069: Researching Social Life I (module leader)
  • SOC3096: Educational inequalities in a global age (module leader)
  • SOC8034: Social Divisions and Inequality (module leader - alternate years)
Modules taught
  • SOC2070: Researching Social Life II (UG core - 2013-16)
  • SOC1031: Knowing in Sociology: An Introduction to Theory, Methods and Epistemology (UG core - 2010/11)
  • SO0907 Advanced Research Methods (PGT core - 2010/13)
  • SO0906 Social Research Methods (PGT core - 2010/13)
  • SO0715 Social Research: Theory and Practice (UG core - 2010/13)
  • SO0833 Crossing Borders: Immigrants and the Second Generation (UG option - 2010/13)
  • SO0719 Sociology of Education (UG Option - 2012/13)
  • SO0605 Life stories (UG core - 2010/13)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (PGR - 2007/9 – TIES RTN)
  • Using SPSS in Quantitative Research (PGR - 2007/9 – TIES RTN)
  • Social Research Methods (PGR - 2007/9 – ISHSS University of Amsterdam)
  • Introduction to Sociology (UG - 2002/3 & 2003/4 – Corvinus University Budapest)















Publications