Staff profile

Professor Dennis Hayes

Professor of Education

Dennis Hayes in the classroom


College of Arts, Humanities and Education





Professor of Education and Chair of the College of Education Research Committee (CERC). Programme leader for PhDs in Education.

Research interests

My research interests are in all aspects of higher education, free speech and academic freedom. Applications from potential PhD students in this area are welcome. 

Current and relevant doctoral supervisions

Membership of professional bodies

In 2006-7, I was the first joint president of the University and College Union (UCU), the largest post-compulsory education union in the world and I am currently the Honorary Secretary of the Standing Committee for the Education and Training of Teachers (SCETT) which represents through its constituent bodies, the trade unions and professional associations, the interests of 750,000 teachers in supporting and developing teacher education. I also co-ordinate the Institute of Ideas' Education Forum.

I am the founder and director of the influential campaign group Academics For Academic Freedom and available as a speaker and writer on free speech and academic freedom.

Additional interests and activities

I am well known for my educational journalism and have been a member of the editorial board of the Times Higher Education magazine since its foundation. I was previously a 'Backchat' columnist for 'FE Focus' in the Times Educational Supplement and write regularly for SpikedThe Free Society and The Huffington Post. In 2014 I became the first education columnist for The Conversation.

In the media

My media credits include:

BBC Radio Four (The Learning Curve, Straw Poll, The Moral Maze; From Abacus to Circle Time; Beyond Belief: Broadcasting House; Today; PM); BBC Radio 2; BBC Radio 5 Live; BBC Radio Essex; BBC Radio Kent; BBC Three Counties Radio; City Talk (Liverpool); Florida News Talk; SKY TV; 18 Doughty Street; Teachers TV; Fora TV; Times Higher EducationTimes Educational Supplement, Independent, Church Times, Spiked, City AM and Culture Wars.

Recent publications

I have written and edited several books including (with Kathryn Ecclestone) The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education which has been described as “one of the most important books to have been written in at least the last twenty years in that crucial area where philosophy, policy and practice coincide”. 

Selected publications (books)

A person speaking to a group of students

Dennis Hayes, Professor of Education and Director of Academics for Academic Freedom at the University of Derby, explores the implications of the new Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act.

Person eating McDonalds fries

Are modern universities at risk of becoming 'McDonaldized'? Dennis Hayes, Professor of Education at the University of Derby, discusses the implications.

Dennis Hayes, Professor of Education at the University of Derby, discusses why freedom of speech is censored in universities and what can be done.