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It’s never too late to study for a Doctorate!

It’s never too late to study for a Doctorate! We were delighted to see Dr Jean Gordon receive her doctorate at the recent winter graduation. Jean studied zoology at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1976, and then returned to complete a PhD in 2018. In the 40+ intervening years she trained as a social worker in Aberdeen, worked in residential child care, acted as a Mental Health Officer and Practice Educator, tutored in social work law for The Open University and acquired an MSc in Social Research at the University of Stirling.

Dr Jean GordonWe were delighted to see Dr Jean Gordon receive her doctorate at the recent winter graduation. Jean studied zoology at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1976, and then returned to complete a PhD in 2018. In the 40+ intervening years she trained as a social worker in Aberdeen, worked in residential child care, acted as a Mental Health Officer and Practice Educator, tutored in social work law for The Open University and acquired an MSc in Social Research at the University of Stirling. As Jean notes “becoming a university student in my early sixties was certainly a very different experience from that of the fresh-faced 18 year old who anxiously stepped off a north-bound train at Waverley in 1973!” Jean was seeking to complete her doctorate for pleasure rather than as part of a step in a longer- term career development. It allowed her to reflect on and consolidate a range of elements of her practice and academic life, identify new directions for her future  writing and to deepen her knowledge and confidence as a researcher.

Jean was supervised by Professor Viv Cree, and her PhD was about the everyday practice of social work, and the identification – and celebration – of what it is that social workers actually do when they visit families at home, attend reviews, write reports and contribute to life-changing decisions about people’s lives. It was also about the importance of listening to and learning from what social workers themselves have to say about how they practice, and the life experiences that inform their work. Jean’s PhD was examined by Professor Gilliam Ruch and Dr Gary Clapton.

Further details about Jean, and many of the other graduates from the University of Edinburgh over the last century, are available at: http://www.socialwork.ed.ac.uk/centenary

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