Whem Team

Professor Pat O’Connor

Professor Pat O’Connor is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Limerick (UL) and Visiting Professor, Geary Institute, University College Dublin. Her research interests currently revolve around gender and higher education: with a particular focus on leadership and management, excellence, organizational culture, micro-politics and masculinities/femininities. Her 120 publications include seven books and over 80 peer reviewed refereed journal articles in a wide range of journals including Contemporary Sociology, Work Employment and Society, Studies in Higher Education, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, (see Researchgate). Her last book, edited with Kate White, is Gendered Success in Higher Education: Global Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan).

Pat was the first woman to be appointed at full professorial level in the University of Limerick in 1997 and the first Faculty Dean there in 2000 (being re-appointed three times to that position) She was one of the five members of the National Review on Gender Equality in Irish Higher Educational Institutions (HEA, 2016). Pat has held visiting professorships at the universities of London; Aveiro; Linkoping; Deakin and Melbourne and is currently visiting professor at the Geary Institute, UCD.

She has been involved in a number of international research consortia including FESTA, an EU funded project (2012-17) involving higher educational institutions in Sweden, Turkey, Germany, Bulgaria, Italy, Denmark and Ireland. Pat has been Chair of International Linnaeus Research Funding panel and a ‘critical friend’ to Uppsala and is currently on the Advisory Boards of three research projects i.e. TARGET, CHANGE and NORDICORE.

She was editor of a Special Issue of Education Sciences on Gender and Leadership (2018) and is currently co- editing a Special Issue (with Judith Harford and Tanya Fitzgerald) and a book on academic citizenship (with Sevil Sumer and Nicky Le Feuvre).

Web presence: Pat O’Connor, Researchgate; Twitter handle: Prof PatOConnor

Curriculum Vitae: Professor Pat O’Connor

Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Limerick (UL); Visiting Professor, Geary Institute, University College Dublin (UCD)

Mobile: 353-86-2338407; Email: Pat.OConnor@ul.ie; Web: Researchgate: Pat O’Connor  

Educational Qualifications 

PhD(1987) Very Close Relationships University of London.

M Soc Sc-1st (1980) Suburban Married Women’s Familial Roles. University College Dublin, NUI

B Soc Sc 1st(1970) University College Dublin, NUI 

Occupational Career

2016- present day: Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Limerick

2015- present day Visiting Professor, Geary Institute, University College Dublin

1997- 2016:(full)Professor of Sociology and Social Policy,University of Limerick

2000- 2010: Dean, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Limerick 

1992- 1997: Lecturer in Sociology, University of Limerick  

1982-1992:Course Director /Lecturer Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT)

1979-1982: Project Director, Social Research Unit, NISW* London (*National Institute for Social Work)

1973-1979: Researcher, Bedford and Royal Holloway College, University of London 

1970-1973: Research Assistant, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Dublin 

Visiting Professor at Universities of London, Aveiro; Linkoping; Deakin, Melbourne and UCD

Research Interests and Publications (Full list of Publications on Researchgate)

Overview: Over 120 peer reviewed publications including seven books; over 80 refereed journal articles, 20 book chapters as well as other publications.

Research interests and expertise: Gender in higher education: including the gendering of organisational culture; management and leadership; excellence; masculinities/femininities; micro-politics and support.

Selected Recent Cross-national Gender and Higher Education Projects: EU funded Framework 7 Project on Female Empowerment in Science and Technology (FESTA 2012-17) and Women in Higher Education Project (WHEM) on Gendered Success in Higher Education (2014-).  

Selected Books

White, K. and O’Connor, P. (2017) (Eds). Gendered Success in Higher Education: Global Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke.

O’Connor, P. (2014). Management and Gender in Higher Education. Manchester University Press: Manchester.

O’Connor, P. (2008). Irish Children and Teenagers in a Changing World. Manchester University Press: Manchester.

O’Connor, P. (2002/1992). Friendships Between Women, New York; Hemel Hempstead; Guildford; HarvesterWheatsheaf, Nominated by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Book.

O’Connor, P. (1999/98):Emerging Voices: Women in Contemporary Irish Society.  Institute of Public Administration: Dublin.

Selected Refereed Journal Articles

O’Connor, P. (2018). ‘Gender imbalance in senior positions: what is the problem? What can be done?’ Policy Reviews in Higher Education,3 (1): 28-50. DOI 10.1080/23322969.2018.1552084  

O’Connor, P. O’Hagan, C and Gray, B. (2018). ‘Femininities in STEM: Outsiders Within’.Work, Employment and Society, 32 (2) 312– 329. 

Montes Lopez, E. and O’Connor, P.(2018).‘Micropolitics and Meritocracy: improbable bedfellows?’, EMAL DOI: 10.1177/1741143218759090

O’Connor, P. et al., (2017). Micro-political practices in higher education: a challenge to excellence as a rationalising myth? Critical Studies in Education DOI:10.1080/17508487.2017.1381629.

O’Connor, P. and Fauve-Chamoux, A.(2016). ‘European Policies and Research Funding: a case study of gender inequality and lack of diversity in a Nordic research programme’, Policy and Politics, 44 (4), 627-643. Nominated by Policy and Politics as article of the month – March 2018. 

O’Connor, P. and O’Hagan, C. (2016). ‘Excellence in university academic staff evaluation: a problematic reality?’ Studies in Higher Education, 41 (11), 1943-1957.

O’ Hagan, C. O’Connor, P. et al. (2016). ‘Perpetuating academic capitalism and maintaining gender orders through career practices in STEM in universities’, Critical Studies in Education, DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2016.1238403.

O’Connor, P. O’Hagan, C. and Brannen, J. (2015). ‘Exploration of Masculinities in Academic Organisations; A Tentative Typology’, Current Sociology, 63 (4), 528-546

O’Connor, P. (2015). ‘Good Jobs- but Places for Women?’, Gender and Education, 27 (3), 304-319.

O’Connor, P.and Goransson, A. (2015). ‘Constructing or Rejecting the Notion of Other in Senior University Management: The Cases of Ireland and Sweden’, EMAL,43 (2), 323-340. 

O’Connor, P. and Carvalho, T. (2015), ‘Different or similar: constructions of leadership by senior managers in Irish and Portuguese universities’, Studies in Higher Education,40 (9), 1679-1693.

O’Connor, P. Carvalho, T. and White, K. (2014). ‘The Experiences of Senior Positional Leaders in Australian, Irish and Portuguese Universities: Universal or Contingent?’, HERD:33 (1), 5-18.

O’Connor, P. (2014). ‘Understanding success: A Case Study of Gendered Change in the Professoriate’ Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 36(2), 212-224.  

Heijstra, T., O’Connor, P. and Rafnsdottir, L. G. (2013). ‘Explaining gender inequality in Iceland: What Makes the Difference?’, European Journal of Higher Education, 3(4), 324-331.  

O’Connor, P. and White, K.  (2011). ‘Similarities and differences in Collegiality/ Managerialism in Irish and Australian Universities’, Gender and Education, 27 (3), 903-920. 

O’Connor, P. (2011). ‘Irish Universities: Male Dominated? Limits and Possibilities for Change?’ Equality, Diversion and Inclusion: An International Journal, 31 (1), 83-96.

O’Connor, P. (2000). ‘Ireland: A Man’s world?’ The Economic and Social Review 31 (1), 81-102.

O’Connor, P. (2000). ‘Structure, culture and passivity: a case study of women in a semi-state organisation’, Public Administration and Development, 20, 265-275.

O’Connor, P. (2000), Resistance amongst faculty women in Academia,’ Higher Education in Europe XXV, 25 (2), 213-219. 

O’Connor, P. (1996). ‘Organisational Culture as a Barrier to Women’s Promotion,’ The Economic and Social Review,3, 187-216.

Selected Book Chapters

O’Connor, P. and Montes-Lopez, E. (2019). ‘Excellence? Gendered perceptions of Micro-Politics in an Irish and Spanish University Context’. In H.Kahlert (ed.), Inequalities and the Paradigm of excellence in Academia, Routledge, London and New York (forthcoming) 

O’Connor, P. (2017). ‘Towards a new gender agenda and a model or change.’ InK. White and P. O’Connor (eds) Gendered Success in Higher Education: Global Perspectives, 255-282, Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke.

O’Connor, P. (2017). ‘Changing the gender profile of the professoriate: An Irish Case Study’ InK. White and P. O’Connor (eds) Gendered Success in Higher Education: Global Perspectives, 91-110, Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke.

O’Connor, P., Carvalho, T., Vabo, A and Cardoso, S. (2015). ‘Gender in Higher Education: A Critical Review’. In J. Huisman et al., (Eds.), The Palgrave International Handbook of Higher Education, Policy and Governance, 569-585, Palgrave MacMillan: Basingstoke.

O’Connor, P.(2013). ‘A standard careeer?’ In B. Bagilhole and K. White (Eds.),

Generation and Gender in Academia, 23-45, Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke

O’Connor, P. (2011). Where do women fit in university senior management? An analytical typology of cross-national organisational cultures. In B. Bagilhole and K. White (Eds.). Gender, Power and Management: A Cross Cultural Analysis of Higher Education, 168-191, Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke.

O’Connor, P. (2010). ‘Gender and Organisational Culture at Senior Management Level: Limits and Possibilities for Change?’ In J. Harford and C. Rush (Eds.), Women and Higher Education in Ireland: Have Women made a Difference? 139-162, Peter Lang: Germany.

O’Connor, P. (2008). ‘The Irish Patriarchal State: Continuity and Change’. In M. Adshead, P. Kirby and M. Millar (Eds.). Contesting the State, 143-164, Manchester University Press: Manchester.

O’Connor, P. (2003). ‘Feminism and the Politics of Gender’. In M. Adshead and M. Millar (Eds.), Public Administration and Public Policy in Ireland. 54-68, Routledge: London.

O’Connor, P. (1999). ‘Women in the Academy: A Problematic Issue?’, InA.B. Connolly and A. Ryan (Eds.), Women and Education, 17-48, MACE: Maynooth.

O’Connor, P. (1998). ‘Women’s Friendships in a Post- Modern World. In R. Adams and G. Allan (Eds.) Placing Friendship in Context, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Selected Edited Journals

Editor of Gender and Leadership: Education Sciences Special Issue (July, 2018).

Editorial: ‘Introduction and a Future Research Agenda’, Education Sciences Special Issue, Gender and Leadership, 8, 93 doi:10.3390/educsci8030093. 

Selected Recent Reports 

O’Connor, P. (2018). Gender-related challenges in European education systems: The Irish Country Report EIGE/2016/OPER/08.Mediterranean Institute for Gender Studies, Italy.

HEA (2016). National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions, 2016.hea.ie/sites/default/files/hea_review_of_gender_equality_in_irish_higher_education.pdf

Saglamer, G. Tan,  O’Connor, P. et al. (2016). Handbook on Resistance to Gender in AcademiaFESTA  

O’Hagan, C. and O’Connor, P.et al. (2015). Gendering Decision Making and Communication ProcesseFESTA

O’Connor, P.et al., (2014). Evaluating the Research Programme Nordic Spaces. RJ: Stockholm.

Current Research Activity: Publications submitted/in process 

1) Article: Leadership practices in HERIs: Stealth power in action? (submitted) 

2 Article: Pragmatic inclusionary strategy and tactics: a new form of feminist activism? (submitted) 

3) Article: Career related support in HEIs: Men’s invisible advantage in STEM? (submitted)

4) Article: Creating Gendered Change: Is Senior Leadership up to the Task?(submitted) 

5) Chapter: Excellence as a rationalizing (gendered) myth? (submitted)

6) Chapter: The Academic Career Game and Gender Related Practices in STEM (submitted)

7) Chapter: The contours of academic citizenship (in process)

8) Article: ‘Power over and power to: their limits and possibilities (in process)

9) Journal Article: STEM careers: opportunities and barriers (in process) 

Selected International Invited Lectures  

(2019). ‘It’s all about relationships’: Gendered variation in career support in STEM’, Malta, 8th May.

(2018). ‘Gender Inequality: The Problem is Women? Invited Lecture, Zilnia, Slovakia, 8th November.

(2018).Invited Lecture on MA in Higher Education, Boston College, 25thJune.

(2018). ‘The Problem is Women?’ Invited, Royal Holloway, UCL, 5th February.

(2017). ‘Gender Inequality in Universities’ Invited, Aarhus University, 30th/31st August.

(2017). Invited Lecture on MA in Higher Education,Boston College, June.

(2017). ‘What makes the difference?’, Keynote,Women Rector’s Conference,Brussels, 23rd May.

(2017). ‘Creating Change’? Invited Presentation,York University, 10th March.

(2015). ‘Understanding Success’, Invited Summit of Senior Leaders, Cambridge.9th March.

(2014). ‘Gendered Organisational Culture in HE Senior Management’, Invited, 6th May, Durham.

(2013). ‘Gendered Organisational Culture’ Invited Presentation, Cranfield, September

(2013). Invited speaker at ‘The Missing Women in HE Leadership Conference, Lancaster, June.

 (2012). ‘Organisational Culture in senior management’. Invited, University of Reykjavic, August.

(2011). ‘Irish University Senior Management: Still a Man’s World?’ Invited, Melbourne, November.

 (2011). ‘University Senior Management: Where Do the Women Fit in’? Invited, Deakin, 17th October.

(2011. ‘Gender and University Senior Management’ Invited Speaker, Oxford 26thMay.

(2011). Gender and University Senior Management’, Invited Speaker, CIPES, Portugal,8th April.

(2011). Institute of Education, London University  Invited Speaker, 17th March.

Selected National Invited Lectures

(2019.  ‘Gendered Power in Higher Education’, UCD, Sustainable Development, 28th March.

(2019). ‘Excellence: a rationalising (gendered) myth?’ Keynote, University College Cork, 8th March.

(2018). ‘Gender aware Leadership in HE: Who needs it?’ Invited, RIA, Dublin, 10th October.

(2018). ‘Excellence: A rationalising Gendered Myth?’  European Conference TCD, 19th-22nd August.

(2018). ‘The Problem is Women? Invited, University of Limerick, 5th April.

(2017). ‘Gender Inequality in Universities’ Distinguished Lecture SeriesUCD, 8th March.

(2016). ‘Recommendations of HEA Expert Group, University College Dublin,4th December.

(2016). ‘Creating Organisational Change, Invited, University College Cork, 29th October.

(2015). ‘The Problem is Women’ Invited, National University of Ireland Galway, 4th December.

(2014). ‘Gender Equality: From Aspiration to Implementation’, Maynooth University.

(2014). ‘Towards an Explanatory Model for Understanding Change’, Invited Speaker,UCD

Selected International Service

  • Member: Advisory Board for TARGET (EU funded) 2017-
  • Member: Advisory Board for CHANGE (EU funded) 2017-
  • Member: Advisory Board for NORDICORE 2017-
  • Critical Friend to Uppsala February and May 2017
  • Invited: Expert Workshop led by MM Feree, Gender Inequality in HE,Keele, 2016.
  • Invited: Expert Workshop on Excellence, Leiden 2nd/3rd June 2016
  • Evaluator of a major Research Programme, Nordic Spaces, 2013
  • Chair of Linnaeus International Expert panel for Research Funding,2010 
  • Reviewer for various international funding organisations (Austria, Israel, etc) 

Selected National Service

  • Advisor to Minister on gender equality in Higher Education, 2018
  • Assessor for Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year Awards 2018
  • Feedback on Applications for Promotion in University of Limerick 2018
  • Member: Expert member of five-person National Review on Gender Equality in Higher Education 2015- 2016.
  • Advisory Board for Irish Research Council/UCD project on Gender Equality in Universities2014-17.

Media activity 

Interviews, occasional blogs, twitter

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