Cheryl Brook

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Senior Lecturer, University of Portsmouth

I began my doctoral studies at Lancaster University whilst working as Head of Training and Development at a large teaching hospital in the North West. The focus of my PhD in the Department of Management Learning and Leadership (now called the Department of Leadership and Management) was the development and practice of action learning in the NHS. I had long been interested in action learning, and was able to meet its originator, Professor Reg Revans, in 1996 at an action learning event held at the hospital trust for which I worked. 

In 2002 I was very fortunate in being an offered an opportunity to assist John Burgoyne and Mike Pedler in a research project which was funded by the Foundation for Management Education (FME) and this deepened my interest. We subsequently published a very well-referenced article on the developing practice of action learning. John Burgoyne and Mike Pedler became my doctoral supervisors.

I could not have had better – I learnt enormously from them both. My doctoral research was a long journey – especially trying to complete it whilst working and bringing up a family – but I have had excellent support from the University.

Since graduation in 2009, I have published papers with both John and Mike, and have become a full-time academic. I am now a Senior Lecturer in HRM/D at the University of Portsmouth, I have been able to further my research and have recently taken on a course leader role. I have also presented papers at international conferences. I am on the editorial board for the journal Action Learning: Research and Practice and am co-editor (with Kath Aspinwall) of the accounts of practice section of the journal.

For the self-motivated and committed learner, I would highly recommend part-time PhD study at Lancaster. The doctoral education I received at Lancaster was both challenging and developmental. It helped me to hone my skills as a writer and a researcher, and I am grateful for the opportunities the doctoral programme has given me.