Marie-Agnès Détourbe is a senior lecturer in English Studies at a French engineering grande école (INSA Toulouse), and the Graduate School of Education (ESPE) of Toulouse, France. Her teaching areas range from English for Research and Publication Purposes and English Medium Instruction (INSA) to teaching and learning quality in French and British higher education (ESPE).
Her research interests bear on higher education in different national settings (mainly the UK), with specific focus on:
- institutional quality assessment mechanisms: she considers that evaluative mechanisms provide an interesting analytical lens for the study of higher education systems as they encode specific values and priorities;
- internationalization and how it intersects with access to higher education and language requirements and proficiency.
Her research draws on both interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives so as to shed light on the complex dynamics at play in higher education: her publications are thus at the crossroads of sociology, comparative international education, history and English for Specific Purposes (ESP).
Her early research was based on a French strand of ESP in which a wide-angled interdisciplinary approach was developed: this original approach is based on a contextualized and systematic study of the organizational, social and discursive dimensions of a specialized domain which, it is argued, contributes to building a fuller picture of the specialized varieties of English used within this domain. Accordingly, she chose to study higher education as the specialized professional and disciplinary field in which different forms of academic discourse are created and used.
She is currently the associate editor of the main peer-reviewed ESP journal in France, ASp, and an active member of the ESP community in France. She is also a member of the French newtwork for the study of higher education (RESUP) as well as the Consortium for Higher Education researchers (CHER).