My typical day at the University is spent helping to administer the undergraduate and, now, postgraduate medical programmes, with some face-to-face teaching, but a lot of student support and supervision. For many years my research has been into the things that sustain communities – mirroring my belief that we are at our best when we are part of a community that serves and supports others to become the people that they were created to be.What motivated you to study online with the University of Liverpool for a Doctor of Education (EdD)?
I had a good practical knowledge of my working environment and my field of study, but I really felt the need to learn some of the reasons why it all hung together. The University of Liverpool is blessed with extremely good staff, one of the best online libraries in the world, and a stimulating bunch of students.Why did you choose to study for a professional doctorate instead of a PhD?
I already had a PhD, but my interests, and the focus of my career, have changed over the years.What have been the highlights and challenges of the online EdD?
Socially, the highlights have been the discussions and supervision, with friends and colleagues from around the world. Personally I have regained enthusiasm for learning. The biggest challenge has been to reorganise my life to make the space for the EdD – but I still write 3,000 words a week, which I never could before.Have you expanded your international network by studying the online EdD?
I have, and also my national network! I really enjoy my conversations, face-to-face, online or on discussion boards with fellow students and tutors from every continent apart from Antarctica. I count several of these as friends now, and they have brought insight, perspective and humour into my studies.How did you fit online study into your life?
My routine changed, in that I got up earlier and went to bed later. Most writing happened in the pre-dawn morning. But most reading got done on the train between Liverpool and London, Swansea or Cardiff, en route to meetings. My iPad, laptop and Kindle reader became constant companions - together with a little moleskin book and pencil...How relevant is the EdD programme for your work?
I apply what I have learnt in my daily work – I have been doing that since I started, and it ranges from spending time with critical friends, through to developing learning theory, applying social theories and helping to shape our landscape of practice. In the immediate future I would like to use what I have learned to strengthen and develop Liverpool Medical School and the local health economy.How has the EdD helped you personally and professionally?
Most of my academic work is spent either alone, or leading a team. I really valued the experience of being able to talk things through with people who were not invested in my organisation, but who were invested in me. In addition, the research supervision from people who are expert in a different branch of my field broadened my horizons, and opened the potential for many deeper insights that might have taken me years to uncover.What did you research for your thesis?
I investigated the factors which influence the way in which senior clinical academics choose (or choose not) to be involved in teaching undergraduate medical students. This has allowed me to influence the way in which we retain and reward such involvement – and in turn that allows us to ensure that we can recruit enough people to sustain our endeavours through the future.I would recommend the University of Liverpool Online because...
...it is challenging, exciting and tremendous fun.What's your next big challenge?
There are two. Implementing the results of my research and getting more exercise!