Birgit Phillips is a Professor at the University of Applied Sciences FH Burgenland, where she teaches courses on transcultural competence in healthcare, participatory research, critical thinking and other topics. She also works at the University of Graz, where she teaches courses in the fields of online learning, qualitative research and higher education didactics and is currently leading a project on digital literacy in tourism. In addition to a PhD in education sciences and a Master’s in transcultural communication, she is also certified systemic coach, a training which she draws upon to help her learners start to understand and engage critically with their own cultural and identity assumptions. Her research cuts across the humanities and social sciences and is firmly anchored in critical approaches to the study of education. She draws inspiration from transformative, emancipatory and participatory education paradigms. In addition, she has extensive experience in curriculum development and has designed numerous undergraduate and postgraduate courses and modules in a variety of innovative formats.
Before joining the world of academia, Birgit spent more than 8 years living, working and travelling, primarily in the countries of the Global South. These experiences inspired her to get involved with international, interdisciplinary humanitarian projects around the world. Recently, she has collaborated with various international organisations to spearhead projects in India, Myanmar and Kenya designed to help create a better life for some of the most marginalised groups of people. Birgit’s experiences in the Global South have profoundly informed her views on education, and she is a strong advocate for active, community-engaged learning experiences integrated within the curriculum. For her work, Birgit has received numerous grants, as well as national and international awards. For her research on transformative travel and identity negotiation, she received the Patricia Cranton Research Award at the Transformative Learning Conference at Columbia University in 2018. She was also awarded the Erudite Scholar of the Year 2020 by the Council for Educational Administration and Management (CEAM) in India, and most recently, she received the Arqus Teaching Excellence Award from the Arqus European University Alliance for her work on community-engaged education.