IAS Fellow at Van Mildert College, October-December 2022


Glenn Savage is a policy sociologist with expertise in education reform, federalism, and global policy mobilities. Dr Savage is an Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia, where he is currently Director of the Education Policy and Leadership Research Lab. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the sociology of education journal Critical Studies in Education (with Steven Courtney and Jessica Gerrard). His Durham IAS Fellowship will critically examine reforms that seek to revolutionise education through the introduction of “21st Century models” of schooling (in collaboration with Dr Rille Raaper and Professor Chris Brown (Education).

Dr Savage began his career as a music journalist, after which he taught for five years as a secondary English teacher in Australia and England. Motivated by a desire to examine the politics of educational inequality, he pursued an academic pathway, completing a PhD in education policy in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne (2012). During his PhD candidature, he held the prestigious William and Kate Herschell Scholarship.

Dr Savage has crafted an extensive research portfolio that has impacted in significant ways upon theoretical and policy debates about education policy and sociology in Australia and globally. He has received a large number of government and non-government research grants, including multiple Australian Research Council grants and commissioned work for Australian federal and state government agencies, and international organisations such as the International Baccalaureate Organisation.

He has published extensively in the fields of education policy and sociology of education. His recent book, ‘The Quest for Revolution in Australian Schooling Policy’ (Routledge 2021), provides a detailed history of schooling reform in the Australian federation and offers a strong critique of standards-based reform and ‘alignment thinking’ in public policy. Dr Savage has edited multiple special issues in field-leading journals, including a recent special issue of Critical Studies in Education, titled ‘The evolving state of policy sociology’ (Volume 62, Issue 3). In 2021, he was awarded the “best paper” award from the journal Territory, Politics, Governance for his article ‘What is policy assemblage?’, which articulates foundations for an assemblage approach to policy analysis.

Guided by a belief that academics have roles and responsibilities to play as public intellectuals, Dr Savage has sought to steer public debates about education reform through maintaining a strong media profile and by forging close links with senior education policymakers and stakeholders. He has an extensive portfolio of opinion pieces, policy explainers and fact-check articles, which have featured in a variety of leading publication outlets, including the ABC, the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Guardian, the Conversation, and many more. He is regularly interviewed on elements of schooling reform for major television, radio, print and online outlets.