Dr Sally Baker

School of Social Sciences


9385 0686
G16 Morven Brown
Kensington Campus
Fields: Sociology of Education, Cultural Policy Studies, Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics), Higher Education, Education Policy, Migrant Cultural Studies
Tags: Expanding Knowledge in Languages, Communication and Culture, Higher education, Education policy, Languages and literacy, Communication Across Languages and Culture

Sally Baker is a Lecturer of Social Research and Policy in the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. She is affiliated with the Forced Migration Research Network (FMRN@UNSW).

Sally's research explores issues of equity in higher education, with her research interests including higher education equity and language policy, the educational experiences of students from refugee and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, academic literacies, transitions, and methodological issues and longitudinal qualitative research. She is currently working on a National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education-funded project which is examining university and community responses to higher education and people seeking asylum with colleagues from Curtin University and the University of Newcastle. Sally is also the Co-Chair of the Refugee Education Special Interest Group, which is hosted by the Refugee Council of Australia and the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network.

Current teaching

  • SRAP 2001 Qualitative Social Research
  • SRAP 5101 Research Methods
  • SRAP 5001 Policy Analysis


    Book Chapters

    • Baker S, 2018, 'Transition in Students’ Reading and Writing: The Case of A-Levels to University in the UK', in Spelman Miller K; Stevenson M (ed.), Transitions in Writing, edn. Studies in Writing, Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, pp. 11 - 46, https://brill.com/view/title/33880
    • Baker S;Cremin T, 2016, 'Teachers' identities as writers: Teacher, support staff and pupil accounts of the role of emotion in the writing classroom', in Writer Identity and the Teaching and Learning of Writing, pp. 98 - 114, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781315669373

    Journal articles

    • Burke R;Thapliyal N;Baker S, 2018, 'The weaponisation of language: English proficiency, citizenship and the politics of belonging in Australia', Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, vol. 7, pp. 84 - 102, https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/jctp/vol7/iss1/7/
    • Irwin E;Baker S;Carter B, 2018, 'What ‘counts’ as numeracy preparation in enabling education programs? Results of a national audit', Journal of Academic Language and Learning, vol. 12, pp. A141 - A155, http://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/520/292
    • Baker S;Irwin E;Freeman H;Nance S;Coleman J, 2018, 'Building cultural and linguistic bridges: Reflections on a program designed to support adult students from refugee backgrounds’ transitions into university', Journal of Academic Language and Learning, vol. 12, pp. A64 - A80, http://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/521/287
    • Baker S, 2018, 'Shifts in the treatment of knowledge in academic reading and writing: adding complexity to students’ transitions between A-levels and university in the UK', Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1474022217722433
    • Baker S;Ramsay G;Irwin E;Miles L, 2017, '‘Hot’, ‘Cold’ and ‘Warm’ supports: towards theorising where refugee students go for assistance at university', Teaching in Higher Education, pp. 1 - 16, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2017.1332028
    • Baker S;Stirling E, 2016, 'Liminal spaces, resources and networks: Facebook as a shaping force for students’ transitions into higher education', Learning and Teaching, vol. 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/latiss.2016.090203
    • Baker S, 2016, 'Students’ writing ‘in transition’ from A-levels to university: how assessment drives students’ understandings, practices and discourses', Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 42, pp. 18 - 36, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2015.1082174
    • Baker S;Irwin E, 2016, 'Core or periphery? The positioning of language and literacies in enabling programs in Australia', Australian Educational Researcher, vol. 43, pp. 487 - 503, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13384-016-0211-x
    • Cremin T;Baker S, 2014, 'Exploring the discursively constructed identities of a teacher-writer teaching writing', English Teaching, vol. 13, pp. 30 - 55
    • Baker S, 2013, 'Transitions and shifting understandings of writing: building rich pictures of how moving from school to university is experienced through exploration of students’ discourses of writing', Journal of Academic Language and Learning, vol. 7, pp. A-35 - A-49, http://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/viewArticle/265
    • Baker S, 2013, 'Conceptualising the use of Facebook in ethnographic research: As tool, as data and as context', Ethnography and Education, vol. 8, pp. 131 - 145, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17457823.2013.792504
    • Cremin T;Baker S, 2010, 'Exploring teacher-writer identities in the classroom: Conceptualising the struggle', English Teaching, vol. 9, pp. 8 - 25

    Conference Papers

    • Baker S;Irwin E, 2015, 'Students’ reading and writing ‘in transition’: what lessons can be learnt from a case study of A-levels to university transitions to help enabling educators to ‘bridge the gap’ into undergraduate stud', in Nelson K; Field R (eds.), UniSTARS 2015: Students Transitions Achievement Retention & Success, UniSTARS 2015: Students Transitions Achievement Retention & Success, Melbourne, pp. 1 - 11, presented at UniSTARS 2015: Students Transitions Achievement Retention & Success, Melbourne, 01 - 04 July 2015, http://unistars.org/papers/STARS2015.pdf


    • Irwin E;Baker S;Carter B, 2018, A national stocktake of numeracy provision in enabling courses in Australian Higher Education: Final Report, Association for Academic Language and Learning, ID: 15/3)
    • Baker S;Irwin E, 2015, A national audit of academic literacies provision in enabling courses in Australian Higher Education (HE) Report compiled for the Association of Academic Language & Learning, Association for Academic Language & Learning, Association for Academic Language and Learning, http://www.aall.org.au/sites/default/files/Baker-Irwin_AALL-report-final_project_2014-2-1.pdf


Teaching and Supervision

  • SRAP1001 - Social Research and Society
  • SRAP2001 - Qualitative Social Research
  • SRAP5101 - Research Methods and Project Design
  • SRAP5001 - Policy Analysis
  • SRAP5004 - Policy, Governance and Regulation

Honours and prizes

  • Invited speaker in ‘Futuring Education for a Changing World: Challenges, Innovation and Opportunities’ panel at the inaugural Refugee Alternatives conference at UNSW (http://www.refugeealternatives.org.au), February 23 2017: In recognition of my developing expertise in the area of refugee education, I was invited to be a speaker on a panel about ‘futuring education’ for students from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds at the Refugee Council of Australia’s inaugural Refugee Alternatives conference in February 2017. I have also been invited to speak on this subject at a research seminar series at UNSW in May 2017. I am currently co-organising a public forum with Dr Lisa Hartley from Curtin University that is seeking to explore the challenges and opportunities connected with offering asylum seeker background students scholarships into higher education. This event will take place in Melbourne in November 2017 as part of a series of events with the University of Melbourne’s ‘Researchers for Asylum Seekers’ academic/advocacy group.

  • Recipient of Visiting Fellowship at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (funded by the South African National Research Foundation): February 2017: As recognition of my expertise in the areas of academic literacies, equity and alternative entry education, I was invited to be a visiting researcher at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa in February 2017. This visit was funded by a National Research Foundation (South Africa) ‘Knowledge Interchange and Collaboration Programme’ grant for the purpose of vising the Fundani Centre for Higher Education and working with Extended Curriculum Programme (ECP) teachers. During this visit, I drew on my experiences of English language teaching to develop a workshop for ECP teachers on issues related to transition and academic literacies, and suggest pedagogical practices and strategies to help foreground language, reading and writing in their classes.

  • Selected Featured Symposium to represent the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) conference, 5-7 September in Brighton, UK. Baker, S.; Irwin, E.; Ramsay, G.; Fagan, S.; Taiwo, M.; Gower, S. (2017). Researching pathways into higher education with students from refugee backgrounds: Exploring the conceptual, methodological and ethical challenges.


Recent research grants

  • (2017) National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education Grant ($39,899): People seeking asylum: Access and support in higher education, in partnership with Curtin University and the University of Newcastle;
  • (2016) Association for Academic Language & Learning: Research & Resource Development Grant ($3998): A national audit of numeracy (as part of academic literacies) in enabling programs in Australian universities;
  • (2016) Australian Government Higher Education Participation Program National Priorities Pool Grant ($49,977): Indigenous enabling: ‘what works’? Developing a national conversation around enabling education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through a comprehensive audit of current provision;
  • (2015) Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching grant ($347,000): (Re)claiming social capital: improving language and cultural pathways for refugee students into Australian higher education, in partnership with Macquarie University and Curtin University.
  • (2015) Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (University of Newcastle) seed grant ($18,802): This project explored undergraduate students from refugee backgrounds’ sense of belonging to their institution and studies, using a participatory-reciprocal methodology.
  • (2015) Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (University of Newcastle) seed grant ($19,991): This seed funding project examined issues of equity in the context of postgraduate coursework study

Engagement and Professional contributions

Forced Migration Research Network, UNSW

Kaldor Centre Emerging Scholars Network, UNSW

Co-Chair of the Refugee Education Special Interest Group:https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/educationsig/