Dr Jean McEwan-Short

Senior Lecturer in Youth And Community Work

Education and Society, School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

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+44 (0)1382 381493


Jean McEwan-Short has been a lecturer in Community Learning and Development since January 2006. Jean has a particular interest in community development and brings the benefit of over 15 years of community development fieldwork experience to her role as lecturer in the University of Dundee.

It was while studying sociology as an undergraduate in Aberdeen that Jean's passion for social justice was sparked and her interest in community development flourished. Her broad range of experience within the field of Community Learning and Development was mainly in the voluntary sector. Her roles included: the management and development of a women's community health project based in an area of multiple deprivation; training and consultancy on community development, health inequalities and social inclusion at national level; and co-ordinating a community network forum raising awareness of poverty, social exclusion and health inequalities at various levels of planning. Jean's approach has always embraced the fundamental community development principles of community empowerment, self determination, social inclusion equality and human rights.

Jean is currently studying for her doctorate focussing on community development, from theory to practice.

Degrees & Qualifications

  • Professional Doctorate in Community Learning and Development, University of Dundee (2012 - current)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education, University of Dundee (2011)
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Person Centred Therapy (Britain) ltd (1997)
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Community Education, Moray House College of Education, Edinburgh (1990)
  • MA (Hons) in Sociology, University of Aberdeen (1986)


  • Community Development: social justice, structural inequalities, social change, participation.
  • Community Learning and Development practice approaches: potential impacts on poverty and inequalities.
  • Community participation: local communities and influence

Research Groups

  • 2012 - Transformative Change: Educational and Life Transitions Research Group
  • 2010 - Community and Policy Studies Research and Scholarship Group

Research Funding

  • Jean has extensive experience of raising funds in the Voluntary Sector from 1990-2005.


Jean's approach to teaching and scholarship is to use constructivist methods in line with the values base of community learning and development. She believes in teaching for emancipation and integrates non-formal approaches into formal learning environments. Jean uses methods of teaching that create dynamic discussion based classrooms, encouraging critical thinking, dialogue and student-led learning. Her aim is to inspire scholarship and engaged critical thinkers who are able to undertake informal education methods in different settings. She is committed to critical pedagogy, participation and active citizenship.

Teaching themes include:

  • social justice
  • values and self determination
  • structural inequalities
  • poverty
  • equalities
  • informal learning
  • community development
  • community learning and development professional practice


  • BA (Hons) Community Learning and Development:
    • Year 2 Co-ordinator
    • Module Leader: Working Together To Achieve Social Justice (Levels 8 & 9)
    • Professional Development Tutor (Levels 8 & 9)
  • BA (Hons) Social work
    • Module Leader: Working Together To Achieve Social Justice (Level 8)
  • MSc Community Learning and Development
    • Member of the development team
    • Responsible for the design of a new module 'Critical Pedagogies'
  • BA (Honours) Community Education Programme Review (2009)
    • Member of the programme review team

Jean also has extensive experience on community boards:

  • 2013 - Active member of Strathkinness Primary School PTA (fundraising)
  • 2011 - Chairperson, Strathkinness Playgroup
  • 2007 - Secretary, Strathkinness Under 5's Activity Group
  • 2005 - Member, Community Health Projects Steering Groups (Edinburgh, East Lothian, and West Lothian)
  • 1999 - Founder member, Craigmillar Health Action Group
  • 1999 - Chairperson, Lothian Community Health Projects' Forum