Carolin received her combined BA/BEd (specializing in History and English) from the Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg, Germany in 1990, her master’s degree in Adult Education and Curriculum Theory from Brock University in Southern Ontario in 1993 and a doctorate (PhD) in Higher Education from the Department of Theory and Policy Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto (OISE/UT), Canada, in 1997. The same year she accepted her first tenure-track academic appointment in Adult and Higher Education at the University of Alberta (Department of Educational Policy Studies), in Edmonton,  Canada, where she obtained tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2001.

Prior to Carolin’s appointment with the University of Alberta, and while pursuing doctoral studies at OISE/UT, she was a lecturer at Brock University teaching courses in adult education and research methodology. She has been Professor at the University of Edinburgh since January 2005. From 2005-2010 Carolin directed the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Assessment, located in the former Department of Higher and Community Education. From 2012-2015 she directed the Higher Education Research Group (HERG).  Her academic interests focus on adult and higher education, perspectives on professionalism and professional practices, and, increasingly, the application of social philosophy to education. Carolin is especially interested in the linkages between higher education and society, and how higher education can contribute to shaping individuals who want to contribute to capability building and a society and public culture that sustains social justice for all.