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Chair of UK Council for Graduate Education; vice Principal (Education); Dean of the Doctoral School; and Professor of Higher Education Management at Royal Holloway, UK. 




Keynote Speech Title:

"Trends and Advancements in Doctoral Education"



As doctoral education continues to evolve worldwide, developments in it reflect wider changes in universities as ‘managed’ organisations and in academic work (Musselin 2009, 2012), including casualisation (Courtois and O’Keefe), new managerialism and leaderism (Deem 2007, 2012), collectivisation and specialisation (Nyhagen & Baschung 2013), as well as speed-up (Ylijoki 2013). This is alongside the existence of several different systems for doctoral education, of which the most common now are the Bologna doctoral programme, the North American system with separate coursework and thesis components and the Australian model which is similar to the European model but usually omits any oral thesis defence.

The conventional PhD is arguably no longer simply best viewed as a preparation for academic careers (Ehrenberg 2008) since there are decreasing numbers of academic posts but equally it does not necessarily easily lead to other fields of employment, unlike professional/industrial doctorates that can enhance work done in a range of occupational fields. Despite growth in numbers, doctorates still remain somewhat exclusive; social class, ethnicity and gender still shape entry (Wakeling 2013) and may also influence what is studied and how it is valued (Haake 2013, Danowitz 2016).

Other challenges are posed by thesis format, pedagogies and assessment. Is writing a monograph-style thesis less appropriate than a collection of papers for a digital world? Is the digitised doctoral thesis fully aligned to open-access? Are we moving away from sole supervision to team-based virtual supervisions and on-line training (Lee and Danby 2011)? As the university’s role as a guardian of knowledge legitimacy declines, is the doctorate still an original contribution to knowledge or just a training in how to do research and a league table contributor? Do we still need an oral thesis defence? Organisational changes are also evident. Greater collaboration on doctoral education within and across universities and countries is fostering new types of research cultures. But at the same time, some institutions may be starting to ‘unbundle’ or reassemble the doctorate; can it survive unscathed.



ROSEMARY DEEM is currently Vice Principal (Education), Dean of the Doctoral School and Professor of Higher Education Management at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. When she joined Royal Holloway in 2009 it was as Dean of the Faculty of History and Social Sciences.  From 2001 until January 2009 she was Professor of Education, from 2004-6, Graduate Dean for Social Sciences and Law and from 2007-9, Research Director for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, all at the University of Bristol. 

An Academician of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, Rosemary is a sociologist who has also worked at Loughborough, York, the Open and Lancaster Universities and the former North Staffordshire Polytechnic. At Lancaster she was Dean of Social Sciences (1994-7) and founding director of the University Graduate School (1998-2000). She was a UK Education Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) sub-panellist in 1996, 2001 and 2008, has twice chaired the British Sociological Association, directed the UK Education Subject Centre ESCAlate from 2001-2004 and was Vice-Chair of the Society for Research into Higher Education from 2007- 2009. In 2014 she chaired the Social Science Panel for the ESF/FCT Evaluation of R&D Centres in Portugal. She was joint editor of The Sociological Review 2001-5 and since 2013 she has been co-editor of the international journal Higher Education (Springer).  In 2013 she was appointed OBE for services to higher education and social sciences in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and in July 2014 Leicester University awarded her an honorary Doctorate for her academic contribution to the sociology of education.  In July 2015 she became the first woman to chair the UK Council for Graduate Education. 

Her research interests include higher education policy, leadership, governance and management, public service modernisation and leadership development, research excellence evaluations and initiatives, inequality and diversity in educational and other organizational settings, doctoral education and training, research and teaching relationships and the purposes of higher education.

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