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Dr Rosi Smith

Job: Lecturer in Education

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: (0116) 257 4557



Personal profile

I began teaching in 2005-6 in further education, working on Entry to Employment, Key Skills and GCSE programmes for students aged 14-19. I then taught adult literacy and numeracy before moving into secondary education, where I worked to support literacy and to develop the school’s English as an Additional Language provision. Throughout this period, I studied for my MA and PhD part-time, choosing to work on Cuba initially to address my own ethical concerns about the ways in which ideological and behavioural conformity is promoted in the UK education system, including in my own practice. In higher education, I taught on undergraduate programmes at the University of Nottingham and on the MA Education programme at the University of Derby before moving to De Montfort in January 2020.

Research group affiliations

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice 

Cuba Research Forum 

Publications and outputs

Key research outputs


Education, Citizenship and Cuban Identity. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016.


‘The “Three Ps” (Perfecting, Professionalization, and Pragmatism) and their Limitations for Understanding Cuban Education in the 1970s’ in Emily Kirk et al. eds. Cuba's Forgotten Decade: How the 1970s Shaped the Revolution. Langham: Lexington, 2018.

 ‘Cuba: The Impact of the Cuban Revolution’ in C M Posner et al. eds. Education in Mexico, Central America and the Latin Caribbean. London: Bloomsbury, 2017.

 ‘Being a “good Cuban”: Socialist citizenship in a globalized context’ (with Denise Blum and Jenny Dawley-Carr) in Suzanne Choo et al. eds. Educating for the 21st Century: Perspectives, Policies and Practices from Around the World. Singapore: Springer, 2017.


‘“Now we don’t see the university as something distant. It’s here in our hands”: Situated pedagogy in Cuban municipal universities’ inJournal for Critical Education Policy Studies, Volume 17, Number 1, March-April 2019.

Research interests/expertise

My PhD research on Cuba focussed on ideology and citizenship. More recently, I conducted a three-year post-doctoral project on access to and inclusion in higher education in the country. Within the UK, I am interested in inclusion, especially in relation to special educational needs, disability and neurodiversity. In both contexts, I am currently working on developing and practising research methodologies built on coproduction, anti-oppressive practice and the recognition of power differentials. 

I can supervise research students in the following areas: Special educational needs and disability; access and inclusion in secondary, FE and HE; comparative education; citizenship; and ideology and curriculum.

Areas of teaching

Module leader for Contexts for Inclusion (L5), Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (L6) and Negotiated Study (MA). Other recent teaching includes global/comparative education and research methods at BA level, as well as special educational needs and motivation at MA level.


  • 2019 - DELE Diploma in Spanish Language C1 (Effective operational proficiency) 
  • 2016 - CELTA Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages 
  • 2015 - PhD in Education (Centre for Research on Cuba, University of Nottingham)
  • 2008 - MA in English Literary Research (Nottingham Trent University) 
  • 2006 - PGCE in Post-Compulsory Education (Nottingham Trent University) 
  • 2004 - BA (hons) in English Literature (The Open University)

Courses taught

BA Education Studies

MA Education Practice


Ongoing project to recreate our final year BA Special Educational Neeeds and Disability module through co-production with students and practitioners who are disabled, neurodivergent and/or have special educational needs. With Melissa Vernon, Robyn Wall, Lucinda White and Emma Wright.

Conference attendance

Recent Conference Papers

 "Lived experience as expertise in module co-creation: the example of special educational needs, disability and neurodivergence", with Melissa Vernon, Robyn Wall, Lucinda White annd Emma Wright. Teaching and Learning Conference, De Montfort University, 5th December 2021

‘Las motivaciones de estudiantes en las universidades comunitarias en Cuba y el Reino Unido’. Cuba Research Forum Annual Conference, Juan Marinello Cultural Institute, Havana, 10-1 April, 2019.                    

‘Viewed from the outside: The impact on Women of Cuba’s local universities’. Centre for Research on Cuba seminar series, 14November 2018. ‘Las motivaciones de estudiantes en las universidades comunitarias en Cuba y el Reino Unido’. Cuba Research Forum Annual Conference, Juan Marinello Cultural Institute, Havana, 10-1 April, 2019.                   

‘Education and the New Cuban Citizen Identity’. ‘Becoming Latin American: Children, Education and Citizenship’ symposium, University of Reading, 13 September 2018.

‘“Ya no vemos la Universidad como algo distante; la tenemos aquí en las manos”. Personalised and situated pedagogy in the municipalised Cuban university.’ Cuba Research Forum Annual Conference, University of Nottingham 11-12 September 2018.  

 ‘“Why do you put so many dreams in young people?” Mass access to university in Cuba.’ VIII International Conference on Critical Education, University of East London, 25-28 July 2018.  

 ‘Autonomy and professionalization: the impact of the municipalised university in Granma Province, Cuba’. Latin American Studies Association Annual Conference, Barcelona, 24-27 May 2018.  

 ‘Trabajando en Cuba como Extranjera: En búsqueda de una metodología ética’. Event: ¿La periferia de la periferia?: Identidad y cultura en la provincia Granma. Juan Marinello Cultural Institute, Havana, 30-31 January 2018.  

Current research students

Jennifer Wilkinson, "(Dis)-functional Skills? An examination of the impact of further education reforms on Functional Skills English".

Externally funded research grants information

2020 - 2021 - Advance HE Good Practice Grant (working in collaboration with Emma Wright) to re-develop our SEND module through co-production with students and practitioners who are disabled, neurodivergent and/or have special educational needs. 

2016 - 2019 - Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship (individual) - a three-year funded post to research the mass access to HE offered through the creation of local part-time university centres across Cuba in the 2000s. The project involved more than 240 interviews with students and teachers in the rural province of Granma.

ORCID number