Journal Articles and Book Chapters

O’Shea, S. & Delahunty, J. (2018) “Getting through the day and still having a smile on my face!” How do students define success in the university learning environment? Higher Education Research and Development, 37(5): 1062-1075, DOI
Winner of the Inaugural HERD Article of the Year 2019
Delahunty, J. & O’Shea, S. (2019). “I’m happy and I’m passing. That’s all that matters”: Challenging discourses of university academic success through linguistic analysis. Language and Education. 33(4): 302-321. DOI
O’Shea, S. & Delahunty, J. (2019). “That working-class ethic … where there’s a will there’s a way”: A strengths-based approach to developing employable scholars. In Diver, A. (ed) Employability via Higher Education: Sustainability as Scholarship. Chapter 11. Springer, UK. 
O’Shea, S. (under review). Boundaries, Borders and Beliefs: Exploring how first-in-family university student move into and through university. Submitted to British Journal of Sociology of Education.
Groves, O. & O’Shea S. (in-press).  Learning to ‘be’ a university student: First in family students negotiating membership of the university community. Accepted. International Journal of Educational Research.

Invited Editorial

O‘Shea, S (2019). Invited Editorial: Needed Now: Student equity that is more than an add on. Campus Morning Mail, 3-7 June 2019. Available from:

Invited Blog

O’Shea, S. & Delahunty, J. (2019 in press). ‘Success does not […] need to be measured in having a good job or […] doing your masters!’: Revisioning academic success based on student perspectives. AARE Blog, EduResearch Matters

Invited Presentations

Invited Presentation: UK Society for Research in Higher Education: Access and Widening ParticipationRethinking Capital: Exploring how cultural capitals impact upon the transition and engagement of older first-in-family university students. (A/Prof Sarah O’Shea, 2016)
Keynote University of Sunshine Coast. “[I am the] first person…in my entire bloodline to set foot in a university!” Supporting, engaging and retaining first-in-family learners. (A/Prof Sarah O’Shea, 2017)
Workshop Higher Education Research and Development Conference: Re-valuing Higher Education, Adelaide. Investigating conflicts and freedoms in the higher education environment: Unpacking the capabilities and capitals of first-in-family learners. (A/Prof Sarah O’Shea, July 2018).
Hallam Guild International Visiting Scholar’s Seminar, Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Notions of Success and Failure: How do Students Reflect Upon Academic Achievement in the Neo-Liberal University?(A/Prof Sarah O’Shea, Dr Janine Delahunty, October 2018)
Keynote at the Critical Perspectives on Transitions Into, Through and Beyond Higher Education Conference, University of Sussex (UK). Older and first: Navigating the transitions of older students who are the first in their family to attend university. (A/Prof Sarah O’Shea, October, 2018)
Visiting Scholars Lunchtime Seminar, Manchester Metropolitan UniversityCrossing boundaries and navigating borders: Exploring how first in family students move through the university landscape (A/Prof Sarah O’Shea, October 2018)
Presentation, University of Georgia, US, 2018.Walking with Sen and Bourdieu: Exploring the persistence behaviours of first-in-family university-students. Invited Presentation Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia (A/Prof Sarah O’Shea)


La Trobe (Bundoora) Invited Keynote for 2019 Student Success Summit,‘Kids from here don’t go to uni’: How sense of ‘belonging’ and ‘entitlement’ may inform understandings of success for first in family students. (Prof Sarah O’Shea, Oct 2019)
La Trobe (Albury-Wodonga) Invited Keynote for Teaching and Learning Week.  “I actually do know a little bit!”: Leveraging the cultural strengths and capabilities of older university students. (Prof Sarah O’Shea, Oct 2019)