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International Centre for Innovation and Workplace Learning

Kenya based doctoral graduate expresses appreciation

I returned to Nairobi last week after receiving my degree as Doctor in Philosophy from the School of Education Studies on Saturday, 9th November 2013 at Dublin City University. I am Irish, although I have spent over ten years lecturing in Europe. Since 2004 I have been lecturing for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Strathmore University, Kenya. When I decided to do my PhD I chose the doctoral research programme at DCU, based on the positive experience I had while studying for the Professional Diploma in Accounting in 1988-89.

I approached Dr. Margaret Farren with a provisional research proposal via e-mail. She responded quickly, commenting on my work and suggesting I look at using Action Research for my PhD. With her guidance, both on-line and in numerous conversations during a visit I made to DCU in 2008, I managed to write my final research proposal, apply to DCU and register in 2009. I carried out my research on a part time basis while continuing to teach at Strathmore University. Over a four year period Margaret followed my work and provided opportune advice and encouragement as I discovered the action research living theory approach and used it to carry out my doctoral research. I came to Ireland each year to work with Dr. Farren and take part in workshops which she organized for other doctoral students and myself at DCU. I really appreciate the welcoming, open approach of the people whom I met and worked with at the Centre for e-Innovation and Workplace Learning.

In 2009 Dr. Farren and Dr. Yvonne Crotty travelled to Strathmore University to run a workshop on Action Research which was very well received. Since then, the short and longer teacher enhancement programmes (TEP) which the university offers have used this methodology to bring about significant changes in many schools throughout Kenya.

My own doctoral research involved improving my teaching practice at Strathmore while discovering and deepening my understanding of the living values which inform my life and work in Kenya. My thesis, Creating a spiration of love in freedom for personal growth at Strathmore University (Kenya), took shape thanks to the innovative approach to research which Margaret opened up to me. I am very grateful for the time, support and advice which Dr. Farren offered from the start and which made the completion of my doctoral research programme possible within four years.

My experience working with Margaret and other researchers at the Centre for e-Innovation and Workplace Learning has been a source of inspiration for my ongoing work at Strathmore University. I would like to say ‘thank you’ in Swahili to everyone: Asante sana!

Catherine Dean, November 2013

Dr Catherine Dean