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Dr Sandy Sieminski

Profile summary

Professional biography

Sandy Sieminski is the Associate Head of School (Learning, Teaching and Students) and joined the Open University in 1990. Sandy is a sociologist with a background in post compulsory education and health and social care, and social work education.

Over several years Sandy has undertaken a number of roles at the Open University including that of a Staff Tutor supporting Associate Lecturers, Qualification and Assessment Lead for Social Work, Lecturer in Post-compulsory Education and more recently a senior lecturer and Qualification and Assessment lead for social work. Within the social work team, she led the development the Open University’s Post-Graduate Diploma in Social Work and contributed to the development of undergraduate social work practice learning modules.


Research interests

Sandy’s publications have explored person-centred care and older people; the development of professional identities; ways of strengthening social work students’ understanding of the links between theory and practice; service user involvement in social work education and the use of assessment feedback to support students struggling academically. Her scholarship and research projects have included a focus on:

  • The pedagogy of work-based learning in professional settings
  • The development of professional identities, and the contribution of professional training and professional development opportunities in their formation.
  • Personal and professional outcomes for students undertaking a Doctorate in Education
  • Internal and external factors shaping the implementation of curricular policies, and their effects.

Teaching interests

Module contributions

K102 Introducing Health and Social Care

K832 The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work

K113 Foundations for Social Work Practice

K216 Applied Social Work Practice

K319 Adulthood, Ageing and the Life Course

K832/K833 The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work

E905 The Doctorate in Education

ED837 Education, Training and the Future of Work

E834 Leading Professional Development

EH266 Learning Through Life: Education, Training Beyond School

E873 Making Experience Count


E817 Education, Training and Employment

E816 Dissertation

EU208 Exploring Educational Issues

E872 Approaches to Adult Learning

E873 Open Learning

E874 Counselling


Exploring the experiences of distance learning students being supported to resubmit a final assignment following a fail result (2023)
Mitchell, Vince; Borgstrom, Erica; Murphy, Sam; Campbell, Charlene; Sieminski, Sandy and Fraser, Sandy
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 49(2) (pp. 190-202)

Case study: what supports students to improve their grades? (2016-06-03)
Sieminski, Sandy; Messenger, Julie and Murphy, Sam
Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 31(2) (pp. 141-151)

An exploration of how some tutors use learning materials to enable student social workers to link theory to practice while learning in the workplace (2011)
Sieminski, Sandy and Seden, Janet
Social Work Education, 30(7) (pp. 797-810)

Enhancing professional self-esteem: learners' journeys on a distance-learning Doctorate in Education (EdD) (2009)
Butcher, John and Sieminski, Sandy
Enhancing the Learner Experience in Higher Education, 1(1) (pp. 44-55)

The challenge of a distance learning professional doctorate in education (2006)
Sieminski, Sandy and Butcher, John
Open Learning, 21(1) (pp. 59-69)

Whose adulthood is it anyway (1993-09)
sieminski, sandy
Adults Learning, 5(1) (pp. 10-11)

The flexible solution to economic decline Journal of Further and Higher Education, Vol. 17. No.1, pp.92-100 (1993)
Sieminski, Sandy
Journal of Further and Higher Education, 17(1) (pp. 92-100)

Achieving Your Doctorate in Education (2006-03-01)
Burgess, Hilary; Sieminski, Sandy and Arthur, Lore
study skills
ISBN : 9781412911726 | Publisher : Sage in association with the Open University | Published : London, UK

Social work practice and the challenge of later life (2013-03-15)
Sieminski, Sandy
In: Davies, Martin ed. The Blackwell Companion to Social Work (4th edition) (pp. 267-274)
ISBN : 9781118451724 | Publisher : Wiley-Blackwell | Published : London

Globalization and health and social welfare: some key issues (2011-11-30)
Sieminski, Sandy
In: Katz, Jeanne; Peace, Sheila and Spurr, Sue eds. Adult Lives: A Life Course perspective (pp. 287-296)
ISBN : 9781447300441 | Publisher : Policy Press in association with the Open University | Published : Bristol, UK

Person-centred approaches to social work with older people: aspirations and contradictions (2010-09-03)
Sieminski, Sandy
In: McCormick, Mick; Matthews, Sarah; Morgan, Alun and Seden, Janet eds. Professional Development in Social Work: complex issues in practice. Post-qualifying Social Work (pp. 118-125)
ISBN : 9780415553360 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

The implementation of GNVQs in further education: a case study (1999)
Bird, Margaret; Esland, Geoff; Greenberg, Jane; Sieminski, Sandy and Yarrow, Karen
In: Flude, Mike and Sieminski, Sandy eds. Education, Training and the Future of Work II: Developments in vocational education and training (pp. 177-201)
ISBN : 415202108 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Education, Training and the Future of Work 11: Developments in Vocational Education and Training (1999-01-14)
Flude, Mike and Sieminski, Sandy eds.
ISBN : 0-415-20210-8 | Publisher : The Opern University/Routledge | Published : London, U.K. and New York, NY, U.S.

Adult Learners, Education and Training (1992-12-03)
Edwards, Richard; Sieminski, Sandy and Zeldin, David eds.
ISBN : 415089824 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London, U.K.

Changing identities changing contexts: the roles and identities of expert patients, service users and volunteer school governors (2015-07-15)
Higgs, Alison; McCormick, Mick and Sieminski, Sandy
In : JSWEC Joint Social Work Education and Research Conference 2015: Social work education and research across boundaries (15-17 Jul 2015, Open University, Milton Keynes)

The influence of continuous policy change on the identity of FE lecturers (2011-09)
Sieminski, Sandy
In : British Educational Research Annual Conference (6-8 Sep 2011, Institute of Education, London)

Enhancing students’ ability to apply theory to practice (2009-07)
Sieminski, Sandy and Seden, Janet
In : 11th UK Joint Social Work Education Conference with the 3rd UK Social Work Research Conference (8-10 Jul 2009, University of Hertfordshire, UK)

Building a bridge to professional self-esteem: Learner transitions on a distance learning Doctorate in Education (EdD) (2009)
Butcher, John and Sieminski, Sandy
In : The University of Northampton Learning and Teaching Conference (13 May 2009, Northampton)

The Challenge of a Distance Learning Professional Doctorate (2004-06)
Butcher, John and Sieminski, Sandy
In : European Distance and E-Learning Network Conference (EDEN 2004) (16-19 Jun 2004, Budapest) (pp. 45-50)

Meeting professional development needs? Does the Doctorate in Education bridge the intellectual and professional development needs for teachers (2003)
Butcher, John; Burgess, Hilary and Sieminski, Sandy
In : 5th International Conference on Education (23-24 May 2003, Athens)

Adaptations To Major Curriculum Change: The Case Of Further Education Lecturers (2010-09)
Sieminski, Sandra Maria
PhD thesis The Open University