DPER 25-year anniversary series – Kick-off panel “Higher Education Research”


This is the kick-off panel in the webinar series to celebrate 25 years of Doctoral Programme in Educational Research – Higher Education (DPER). It will be followed by three webinars.

Event Details

Wednesday 2 September 2020, 2:00pm to 3:00pm UK time
Venue: Webinar, Lancaster, United Kingdom
Open to: Alumni, Applicants, External Organisations, Prospective Postgraduate Students, Public
Registration: Free to attend – registration required. Please register at the Eventbrite site.

Higher Education Research

In 2020, we are celebrating 25 years of the Doctoral Programme in Educational Research – Higher Education (DPER). Throughout this time, the programme has offered students an opportunity to become higher education researchers. It was one of the first doctoral programmes in the field of higher education research and is designed so that doctoral researchers remain employed in their work environment and travel to Lancaster for regular residential sessions. This supports students to undertake rigorous research into the higher education contexts in which they work. The Educational Research Department and Lancaster University are incredibly proud of the programme and the achievements of its alumni.

In 25 years, 137 doctoral researchers have graduated from DPER. Thirty academics have contributed to the teaching of the programme, and more than 40 guests from other universities and organisations have provided guest lectures for the DPER students. It has had 5 programme directors, while Ms Alison Sedgwick has played a key role as the programme coordinator throughout the programme’s history.

Today, DPER has 77 current students. While the programme is well established, the DPER team’s response to the current COVID-19 pandemic proved that it is also agile and resilient. The programmes residential elements were moved online and continued without major disruptions. We have also decided to turn the DPER entirely online for those doctoral researchers starting in January 2021.

The programme is associated with the Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation (CHERE@LU), which offers a rich research culture for the DPER students. CHERE@LU organises research seminars, workshops, and conferences for PhD students, and more broadly for its members and the higher education research community. DPER students and alumni can present their research in the podcast Higher Education Researcher, and publish in the CHERE@LU Working Paper Series.

In this webinar panel, speakers will kick-off the DPER programme celebratory series of webinars. They will discuss higher education as a research field more broadly, and how it has developed in time. They will reflect on the role of doctoral programmes and research centres in establishing higher education as a research field. They will give an overview of where these centres and programmes are today, and what are the positions of the Centre for higher education research and evaluation, and the DPER programme in this field.


  • Prof Paul Ashwin, Head of Department, past staff on DPER, higher education researcher
  • Dr Jelena Brankovic (Bielefeld University, Germany), Coordinator of the Early Career Higher Education Researchers (ECHER) network and its representative in the Board of Governors of CHER (Consortium of Higher Education Researchers), higher education researcher
  • Dr Janja Komljenovic, Director of DPER, higher education researcher
  • Prof Malcolm Tight, Programme staff, past Director of DPER, and researcher of the higher education field

Contact details

NameAlison Sedgwick
Telephone number+44 1524 592685

Photo: Pexels

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