Denise Mifsud

Accepting Doctoral Students

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am interested in exploring critical leadership theories, with a particular interest in educational leadership, especially distributed forms; school networks and educational reform; as well as initial teacher education. I engage with Foucauldian theory; Actor-Network theory, as well as qualitative research methods, with a particular focus on narrative, in addition to creative and unconventional modes of data representation. 

I have over two decades of practitioner experience in education settings in both teaching and high-level leadership roles within the Maltese Ministry for Education, besides being an independent education researcher and consultant. I previously held a full-time lecturing post at the University of the West of Scotland as well as being a part-time lecturer at the University of Malta. I am also an Associate Fellow of the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research within the same university. 

I was awarded my PhD by the University of Stirling in 2015. My PhD thesis, 'Raising the curtain on relations of power in a Maltese school network', explored the unfolding of networking in school governance in a Maltese college (cluster of primary and secondary schools) via the performance of policy-mandated collegiality, the flow of power relations, and leadership distribution. I also have a Master of Science in Educational Leadership by the University of Leicester (2008), prior to which I obtained a Bachelors in Education with First Class Honours from the University of Malta (1999).

Teaching interests

As Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Educational Leadership, Management and Governance, I teach on the Doctor of Education (EdD) and MA Education programmes, as well as the Education with Psychology undergraduate programme.

Willing to supervise doctoral students

I am interested in supervising PhD students in topics related to my research interests.

Research interests:

  • critical leadership theories, with a particular interest in educational leadership, especially distributed forms
  • leadership for social justice
  • school networks and educational reform
  • power relations within educational institutions/organizations
  • educational policy analysis, generation, reception and enactment
  • initial teacher education
  • Foucauldian theory
  • Actor-Network theory
  • qualitative research methods, with a particular focus on narrative, as well as creative and unconventional modes of data representation

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Stirling

Award Date: 18 Mar 2015

Educational Leadership, Master of Science, University of Leicester

Award Date: 11 Jul 2008

Bachelor of Education, University of Malta

Award Date: 19 Nov 1999

External positions

National expert for Eurydice, Eurydice National Unit, Malta

2019 → …

Ministerial Representative, University Senate, University of Malta


Associate Fellow, EMCER (Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research), University of Malta


  • critical leadership theories
  • educational leadership
  • distributed leadership
  • policy analysis
  • initial teacher education
  • Foucault
  • Actor-Network theory


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