Professor Robin Shields

Head of School

School of Education
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


As Head of the School of Education at the University of Queensland, I have overall responsibility for leadership, strategy, and development of a leading center of educational research and teaching in Australia and beyond. The School plays an important role in educating pre-service teachers in Queensland, developing educational researchers through doctoral study, and engaging with educational professionals through our highly international master's program. We have a strong commitment to social justice and inclusion of Indigenous knowledge and peoples, which are key priorities in my work as head of School.

As an educational researcher, my research has focused on globalisation and education, in particular looking at innovative ways that data can be used to understand educational change at the global level. I am particularly interested in social network analysis and statistical modelling, and have investigated issues and questions such as:

* Changing patterns of migration of international students around the world * The impact of international higher education on climate change through air travel * Whether private schooling adds to students' learning in South Asia * Networks between donors and recipients in international aid

I have held grants from the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, the European Commission, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, and other funders. I have has also served as co-editor of the journal Comparative Education Review, the executive committee of the British Association for International Education, and undertaken consultancies for national and international NGOs and UNESCO. I undertook my doctoral studies at UCLA, and have held roles at the University of Bath and Bristol in the UK.

I am a committed teacher, and have taught diverse students at all levels of study. I am particularly interested in technological innovation in my teaching practice and experimenting with gamification and simulation-based learning. In recognition of this approach to my work, I received the University of Bristol’s Inspiring and Innovative Teaching Award in 2021 and served as the School Education Director. At the University of Bath, I directed the doctoral program in higher education management.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of California-Los Angeles


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision



Book Chapter

  • Shields, Robin (2025). International student mobility and the global climate crisis. Higher education dynamics: perspectives, obstacles, alternatives. (pp. 137-146) edited by Lars Engwall. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Cham. doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-47335-7_8

  • Shields, Robin and Lee, Jack T. (2023). Academic mobility: global trends and future prospects. International encyclopedia of education. (pp. 230-238) edited by Robert J. Tierney, Fazal Rizvi and Kadriye Ercikan. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-12-818630-5.01072-1

  • Shields, Robin and Kameshwara, Kalyan Kumar (2021). Marxism in comparative and international education: foundational political economy perspectives on education. The Bloomsbury handbook of theory in comparative and international education. (pp. 53-68) edited by Tavis D. Jules, Robin Shields and Matthew A. M. Thomas. London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Publishing.

  • Shields, Robin and Kameshwara, Kalyan Kumar (2020). Social justice perspectives on education, skills, and economic inequalities. Handbook on promoting social justice in education. (pp. 233-246) edited by Rosemary Papa. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-14625-2_122

  • Mackney, Sean and Shields, Robin (2019). Learning analytics for student success at university: trends and dilemmas. International perspectives on education and society. (pp. 251-268) edited by Tavis D. Jules and Florin D. Salajan. Bingley, United Kingdom: J A I Press. doi: 10.1108/s1479-367920190000038015

  • Birkholz, Julie M. and Shields, Robin (2017). The network paradigm in higher education. Theory and Method in Higher Education Research. (pp. 215-226) edited by Jeroen Huisman and Malcolm Tight. Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing. doi: 10.1108/s2056-375220170000003012

  • Paulson, Julia and Shields, Robin (2015). Conflict-fragility-education: issues in conceptualization and measurement. The contested role of education in conflict and fragility. (pp. 45-62) edited by Zehavit Gross and Lynn Davies. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers. doi: 10.1007/978-94-6300-010-9_2

  • Shields, Robin (2015). Measurement and isomorphism in international education. The Sage handbook of research in international education. (pp. 477-487) edited by Mary Hayden, Jack Levy and Jeff Thompson. Thousand Oaks, CA, United States: Sage.

  • Shields, Robin (2015). Operationalizing network analysis for higher education research. The Palgrave international handbook of higher education policy and governance. (pp. 209-222) edited by Jeroen Huisman, Harry de Boer, David D. Dill and Manuel Souto-Otero. London, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1007/978-1-137-45617-5_12

  • Shields, Robin and Edwards, Rebecca M. (2010). Student mobility and emerging hubs in global higher education. Higher education, policy, and the global competition phenomenon. (pp. 235-248) edited by Laura M. Portnoi, Val D. Rust and Sylvia S. Bagley. New York, United States: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1057/9780230106130_17

Journal Article

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor