NICER

MEET THE TEAM

Professor Bob Bowie

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Director

Professor Bob Bowie began his career in education as a teacher of English as a foreign language first in Istanbul and then in Japan, before training to teach RE and then working in two Catholic schools in Kent, latterly as Head of RE. While teaching he began writing textbooks and wrote a first and the bestselling second edition of Ethical Studies (https://www.amazon.co.uk/ETHICAL-STUDIES-SECOND-Bob-Bowie/dp/0748780793/) which included both explanatory writing and long extracts of key texts.

He also worked on a range RE websites for the BBC, the Guardian and for many years, REOnline. Moving to university work, he led the secondary teacher education courses for secondary RE, and completed a doctorate in Dignity and Human Rights Education (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076616PMF/) where he argued that, contrary to some contemporary views, human rights education is compatible with faith. In the RE World become Chair of AULRE (aulre.org), an association for tutors and lecturers in RE.

He then moved into primary research leading and supporting a number of major national research projects and he now leads NICER (nicer.org.uk), an educational research centre at Canterbury Christ Church University. He teaches ethics and supervises doctorates in various aspects of Christian education and Church schooling.

He likes walking, growing vegetables and also finds meaning through a Christian worldview. He draws on the spiritual exercises the Jesuits taught him at school, returns whenever he can to the Taizé ecumenical and international community in France and is a practicing Christian.

View profile at Canterbury Christ Church University


Emeritus Professor Trevor Cooling

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Emeritus Fellow of Nicer

Emeritus Professor Trevor Cooling is Emeritus Fellow of Nicer.


Dr. Ann Casson

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Senior Research Fellow

Ann Casson is a senior research fellow at the National Institute for Christian Education Research (NICER) at Canterbury Christ Church University. Prior to becoming a full-time researcher, she taught Religious Education in secondary schools in the North East of England. Her present research project is Faith in the Nexus - investigating how schools and churches contribute to the spiritual development of young people.


Dr. Sabina Hulbert

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Senior Consulting Research Lead

Dr. Sabina Hulbert completed her undergraduate degree in 1995 from the University of Padua (Italy) with a specialization in Work and Industrial Psychology. During the following three years of her PhD (1996-1999) she focussed on the study of intergroup relations and group identification under the supervision of Professor Rupert Brown at the University of Kent. She has been lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich from 1999 to 2002 and since 2002 she has been working at Canterbury Christ Church University as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Academic Research Lead, having developed a significant experience in quantitative data analyses and advanced statistical techniques. She has collaborated in a number of funded research project and related publications offering methodological and statistical support across a number of different disciplines including Psychology, Health and Education. She is an accredited PhD and Master level supervisor. Since 2018 she has also joined the NIHR Research Design Service at the University or Kent where she offers quantitative research methods support as a Research Adviser.


Ann Pittaway

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Research and Development Leader

BA, PGCE, MA

Ann has twenty years experience of RE teaching in the secondary school sector. As well as successfully leading RE departments, Ann was also an Assistant Headteacher responsible for teaching and learning. She joined the NICER team in May 2020 as the Research and Development Leader and has particular interests in Leadership in a Christian school context; Spiritual and faith development of young people and Cross-curricular Christ-centred teaching and learning.


Professor Lynn Revell

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Professorial Research Associate

Lynn Revell is a Professor of Religion and Education and Canterbury Christ Church University. She set up the special interest group on Religion and Values for British Education Research Association and is currently co convenor for the International Research Network on Extremism and Education for the World Educational Research Association. She is currently engaged in research looking at extremism and radicalisation in education as well issues to do with faith, race and freedom of expression.


Dr. John Paul Riordan

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Senior Research Associate

I am a senior lecturer in education at Canterbury Christ Church University in the UK. My research interests include video-based pedagogy analysis, conceptual change pedagogy and inclusion.

With NICER I am involved in project 1 of the beginning teacher in the science/religion encounter research project. This entails detailed video-based analysis of science and religious education lessons. How do teachers perceive and engage their students with knowledge about how science and religion can relate to one another, in the context of science lessons and RE lessons?


Dr. Mary Woolley

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Senior Research Associate

MA Cantab. MPhil Cantab. MSc PGCE PhD FHA SFHEA

Mary taught history in Catholic schools in Birmingham and London before moving to the university sector to work in teacher education. She worked for ten years on PGCE, School Direct and Teach First programmes, working in partnership with school mentors to develop history teachers across Kent, Medway and London. Until recently Mary was Programme Director of the Education Studies BA at Canterbury Christ Church University, reconstructing a programme to explore global challenges in education from cradle to grave. Mary’s doctoral research explored changes in history teaching across a 25-year period through an oral history of experienced history teachers. Mary is particularly interested in curriculum, teacher agency and teacher discourse. She is currently co-PI on a large-scale project, funded by Templeton, exploring beginning teachers’ understandings of science/ religion encounters. She has also worked on NICER’s Faith in the Nexus report, exploring the role of parachurch organisations. Mary has several PhD students exploring topics as diverse as veterans, tutoring and Catholic education.