Our Staff

Dr Karen Cullen

I joined Melbourne Polytechnic in 2011 to become Course Coordinator of the new higher education Diploma of Tertiary Studies which offers students a pathway into degree studies.  

I’m originally from Scotland where I worked in university foundation/pathway courses as well as within my original field of study and research – history.  After studying a Master of Arts honours degree in history at the University of Dundee, I received a fully funded PhD scholarship to undertake research in early modern Scottish history. During that period, I began lecturing in history, as well as working for the university's Wider Access department which assisted mature age students and school leavers to enter degree programs.

In 2005, after completing my PhD, I joined the Centre for History at the University of the Highlands and Islands which aims to provide higher education to a population that hasn't had access to it in the past. This was a very rewarding and challenging experience, but also one of great opportunities.  I led a team of historians in the design and development of a new degree program, a BA (Hons) Scottish History which received external validation in 2006.  The degree was taught on a blended learning basis across UHI’s 13 campuses, with classes conducted by video conference.  As program leader for Scottish History, I was fortunate to be involved in the internal and external validation of degree programs, including a further 3 history degrees and a teaching and learning focus on degrees in adventure tourism, engineering and Gaelic, as well as the establishment of a research centre in Scottish and Highland history.  I became Director of the Centre in 2010, but left the following year to come to Melbourne with my husband.

My experiences at both of those universities in Scotland provided me with great skills and preparation for coming to NMIT to work in the Tertiary Studies program.  I’m passionate about wider access to higher education and believe that the Diploma offers a real opportunity for school leavers and mature students to get the necessary qualification to take them into their chosen degree.  

Academic Qualifications

2005, Ph.D. University of Dundee, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, titled ‘Famine in Scotland in the 1690s: causes and consequences’.

2001, MA Honours History, First Class, University of Dundee.

Professional Appointments

Reviews Editor for the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 2010-present.

Advisory Board Member for Northern Scotland, 2009-present.

Trustee of the Scottish Historical Review Trust, 2006-2010.

External Panel Member for validation of Glasgow Caledonian University’s Postgraduate Taught Masters in Modern Scottish History, May 2010. 

Interviewee for ‘The Making of Scotland’s Landscape’ (BBC), March 2010.

Interviewee for Scottish Higher History Resources (SQA), 2009. 

Selected Bibliography

Karen J. Cullen, ‘Scottish migration to Ulster during the “Seven Ill Years of the 1690s”’, in P. O’Neill and A. Ahlqvist (eds), Festchrift for Malcolm Broun (Sydney University Celtic Studies Foundation, forthcoming)

K. J. Cullen, Famine in Scotland – the ‘Ill Years’ of the 1690s (Edinburgh University Press, 2010), Scottish Historical Review Monograph Series. 

K. J. Cullen, C. A. Whatley and M. Young, ‘The Rise and Decline of Dundee in its regional setting 1603-1727’, in R. Harris, C. A. Mckean and C. A. Whatley (eds.), Rediscovered Dundee: A Scottish Burgh in Transition, c.1603 – c.1800 (Dundee University Press, 2009).

K. J. Cullen, ‘The Famine of the 1690s and Its Aftermath: Survival and Recovery of the Family’, in E. Ewan and J. Nugent (eds.), Finding the Family in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (Ashgate, 2008).

K. J. Cullen, C. A. Whatley and M. Young, ‘King William’s Ill Years: new evidence on the impact of scarcity and harvest failure during the crisis of the 1690s on Tayside’, Scottish Historical Review, Vol. LXXXV, 2: No.220 (October 2006).

K. J. Cullen, ‘Baptism to Marriage Ratios and the Reliability of Late Seventeenth Century Scottish Parish Registers’, Local Population Studies, 76 (Spring 2006).

Job Title

Course Co-ordinator, Tertiary Studies Program


Education - Higher Education