Dr Jack Lee

Lecturer in Comparative Education and Education Policy


My research interests stem largely from my exposure to education systems in different societies from an early age as an immigrant child to my professional life working in different countries. I first entered the field of education as an intercultural communication trainer/educator at the University of British Columbia (Centre for Intercultural Communication). For 10 years, I worked closely with faculty, administrative staff, students, community organisations, and corporations to facilitate intercultural collaborations and campus-wide internationalisation initiatives. My growing interest in comparative education led me to the University of Oslo as an exchange student and ultimately to the University of Toronto to pursue my doctorate. My thesis focused on the internationalisation of higher education in the case of Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong as education hubs. Prior to moving to Edinburgh in 2019, I was the director of the doctoral program in Higher Education Management at the University of Bath (supporting 200 students from 46 countries) and Assistant Professor at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. 


  • PhD, University of Toronto (Higher Education with specialisation in Comparative, International, and Development Education)
  • M.Ed., University of British Columbia (Adult Education)

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Editorial Board, Compare, Member (2023-26)   https://www.tandfonline.com/journals/ccom20
  • Executive Committee, British Association for International & Comparative Edcuation (BAICE), Member (2021-24)
  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Moray House School of Education and Sport, Member (2020-)
  • International Centre for Higher Education Management, University of Bath, Visiting professor
  • Higher Education Special Interest Group, Comparative and International Education Society (US), Member

Postgraduate teaching

  • Education Policy and the Politics of Education (course organiser)
  • Introduction to Comparative Education (course organiser, launching 2022)
  • Sources of Knowledge (research methods)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I welcome students interested in higher education and comparative & international education to contact me to discuss potential supervision.

Current PhD students supervised

Sherzod Khaydarov -- Research Capacity Building in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan

Yuqing Huang -- International Mobility Among Chinese Early Career Researchers

Amy Aukland -- Teacher Professionalism in Wales and Scotland (ESRC funded)

Jingbo Hua -- Cooperation Between Non-governmental Stakeholders and Local Government in Improving China’s Rural Education

Josh Watters -- Cosmopolitan Capital and Global Citizenship: British International Schooling in Post-Colonial Southeast Asia

Yan Liang -- Gender Inequality in Chinese Higher Education 

Zarina Muminova -- Parental Engagement in Young Children’s Learning in Rural Tajikistan

Past PhD students supervised

  • Paula Sanderson (DBA) -- Transnational Education: Inclusive development or re-colonisation? (Bath)

  • Dana Abdrasheva (PhD) -- Kazakh-Chinese Higher Education Partnerships: Aspirations and Challenges (EdUHK)
  • Wael Mekdach (DBA) -- The Role of Organisational Culture in Shaping the Academic & Societal Roles of Lebanese Private Higher Education (Bath; awarded the Richard and Shirley Mawditt prize for the best DBA dissertation at Bath 2020)
  • Fahdia Khalid (DBA) --University Industry Knowledge Exchange and Continuing Professional Development of Academics (Bath)
  • Katalin Kovacs (DBA) -- Accreditation Process and Student Learning: Mongolia (Bath)
  • Togzhan Jumagulova (PhD) -- Student Financial Aid Policy in Kazakhstan: Issues of Equity and Efficiency (Nazarbayev)

Research summary

My research focuses on higher education from a comparative / international perspective. Specifically, my work examines globalisation, internationalisation, transnational education, cultural diplomacy, geopolitics, research capacity building, mobility, and regionalisation.  I am particularly interested in educational developments in Asia and the Global South.

Current research interests

Internationalisation of higher education; regionalisation of higher education in Asia; higher education and soft power; Germany's transnational higher education; China's revival of the historical Silk Road (Belt and Road Initiative) and implications for higher education partnerships.

Past research interests

education hubs, international faculty mobility, research capacity building

Knowledge exchange

  • Advised UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America & Caribbean (IESALC) on its policy and report on higher education's response to covid19 pandemic (2022).

  • Advised Malaysia's higher education think tank (IPPTN Universiti Sains Malaysia) on research on education hubs (2021).

  • Facilitated roundtable discussions for university leaders on the ethics of internationalisation at the Universities UK (UUK) international symposium in London with Paula Sanderson and Caroline Chipperfield (2019)
  • Taught research design and methods to university administrators representing South Africa's public higher education system (2017-19)

Affiliated research centres

Past project grants

International Faculty Mobility & Research Capacity Building (2015-17), Ministry of Education & Science, Kazakhstan

View all 23 publications on Research Explorer

  • Finalist (1 of 3) for Teacher of the Year Award (2021) in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (Edinburgh University Students' Association)
  • Best Dissertation (2015), Higher Education Special Interest Group, Comparative & International Education Society https://www.cies.us/
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Doctoral Fellowship