Professor Jaswinder K Dhillon


Professor of Education


Contact Details


Jaswinder joined the University as Professor of Education in January 2015, having previously worked in further and higher education in a range of teaching, research and leadership roles. Jas is passionate about research and research-informed professional practice and has extensive experience of teaching and research supervision at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels both in the UK and in other countries, including China, India, Holland, Mauritius and the Solomon Islands.

In her own research, Jas has focussed on investigating the perspectives of students, teachers and managers, particularly in relation to policies and initiatives that aim to improve existing practice. For her PhD, she researched partnership working amongst education and training providers and uncovered the role of social capital in inter-organisational partnerships. Jas has developed and researched partnerships in other settings, such as international partnerships with China, Mauritius and India and is currently an international mentor for educational research at Central University of Punjab, India. Her other areas of research are qualitative research methodologies, collaborative leadership, teaching and teacher education, learning and assessment, higher education, further and vocational education and TESOL.

Currently, Jas is researching outstanding leadership in schools and colleges, the role of education, entrepreneurship and social capital in Sikh families and the ethics of engagement in cross-cultural research. In her recent research with British Sikh families, Jas has developed an innovative methodology, bilingual-bicultural ethnography, which uses her bilingual skills in English and Panjabi and insider-outsider research positionalities, to capture and interpret the experiences of three generations of British Sikhs. She has been given an honour and award by the British Sikh community for her work in this field of research.

In the wider research community, Jas is actively engaged in national and international research associations and in editorial work for leading education journals. She is associate editor for the journal Educational Management Administration & Leadership (EMAL), and a long standing member of the editorial board and editorial management committee of the Journal of Vocational Education and Training (JVET), and served as editor for four years.She maintains her practical knowledge of school and college leadership and governance through her voluntary work as a governor in a secondary school and a governor in a further education college.

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  • PhD, (University of Warwick, 2006) Joining-up: a study of partnership in post-16 learning
  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA), 2000
  • Dip RSA Training and Development, 1992
  • MSc Teaching English for Specific Purposes (University of Aston, 1986)
  • PGCE (Secondary) University College Cardiff, 1977
  • BA (Joint Hons) History and Philosophy, (University College Cardiff, 1976)

Teaching & Research


  • Qualitative research methods
  • Insider and work-based research
  • Reflection and reflexivity in research
  • Inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural research
  • Mixed methods research
  • Pedagogic research
  • Teaching, learning and assessment
  • Second and foreign language teaching and learning
  • Academic writing and publication

Research Interests

  • Partnerships and partnership working
  • Leadership and governance
  • Social capital
  • Transnational education
  • Education and social mobility in Sikh families
  • Learning, teaching and assessment
  • Higher Education
  • Research methodologies
  • Bilingual-bicultural ethnography

Doctoral students (PhD and EdD)

  • Completions: 5
  • Currently supervising: 7 (Five in UK and two in India)
  • Doctorates examined (PhD and EdD): 12

Professional Bodies

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Member of the British Educational Research Association (BERA)
  • Member of the British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS)
  • Member of UCET Research and International Forum
  • Member of Black Female Professors Forum (BFPF)


Journal articles 

Dhillon, J.K. and Thomas, N. (2018 in press) Ethics of engagement and insider-outsider perspectives: issues and dilemmas in cross-cultural interpretation. International Journal of Research & Method in Education       

Dhillon, J.K. (2018) How to Inspire Vocational Learners and Raise Aspirations. inTuition Research, 2018 (Spring) 

Dhillon, J. K. and Thomas, N. (2018) British Sikh entrepreneurs: social mobility and transformations over generations. Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory, 14 (1). pp. 1-25. ISSN 1744-8727 Online: 1744-8735    

Dhillon, J.K. and Bentley, J. (2016) Governor and course leaders’ reflections on HE in FE: strategic ambition and curriculum practice in two large colleges in England, Research in Post-Compulsory Education, Vol. 21, Nos. 1–2, pp.137–150

Dhillon, J.K. (2013) Senior managers’ perspectives of leading and managing effective, sustainable and successful partnerships, Educational Management, Leadership and Administration Vol 41(6)pp. 736-750.(Nominated for best paper prize 2013)

Dhillon, J.K. and Wanjiru, J. (2013) Challenges and strategies for teachers and learners of English as a second language: the case of an urban primary school in Kenya, International Journal of English Linguistics, Vol 3, No. 2, pp.14-24 

Chen, L and Dhillon, J.K. (2012) Deep approaches to learning in improving reading skills: a case study from Yunnan Agricultural University. Theory and Practice in Language Studies Vol 2 (8)

Dhillon, J.K. (2009) The role of social capital in sustaining partnership, British Educational Research Journal, Vol 35, no.5, pp. 687-704

Dhillon, J.K. McGowan, M. & Wong, H. (2008) How effective are institutional and departmental systems of student support? Insights from an investigation into the support available to students at one English university, Research in Post-compulsory Education 13(3):281–293

Dhillon, J.K. (2007) Trust, shared goals and participation in partnerships: reflections of post-16 education and training providers in England, Journal of Vocational Education and Training, Vol 53, no. 4, pp. 503–515

Dhillon, J. K. (2005) The rhetoric and reality of partnership working, Journal of Further and Higher Education, Vol. 29, No.3, pp.211-219

Dhillon, J. K. (2004) An exploration of adult learners’ perspectives of using Learndirect centres as sites for learning, Research in Post-Compulsory Education, Vol. 9, No.1, pp.147-158

Dhillon, J. K. (2001) Challenges and strategies for improving the quality of information in a university setting: a case study Total Quality Management Vol.12, No.2, pp.167-177

Dhillon, J. (2000) Improving Information and its communication in Higher Education, Research in Post Compulsory Education, Vol. 5, No.1, pp.77-89

Moreland, N. Mughal, A. J and Dhillon, J. (2000) Quality improvement in the TESOL curriculum: a generic benchmarking approach, Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 8, No.2, pp.57-62

Dhillon, J. and Moreland, N. (1996) Participants’ experience of a competence based professional development programme: a case study, Journal of Vocational Education and Training, Vol. 48, No. 4, pp.367-384

Project reports 

Dhillon, J.K (2018) Research Report on Outstanding Educational Leadership. University of Worcester, Worcester     

Dhillon, J.K (2018) External Evaluation of Staff and Student Handbooks for EMPLOY Research Project (Enhancing the Employability of Non-Traditional Students in HE). Project Report. Erasmus +    

Dhillon, J. K. (2017) Stakeholder perceptions of outstanding leadership in schools and colleges in England. Interim report for British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS)

Hadfield M, Dhillon J, Jopling M and Goffe R (2012) Teaching That Matters. Project commissioned by Million+ University think-tank

Oldham, S. and Dhillon, J. (2012) Student voices: perceptions of learning, assignments and achievement, DISA Briefing Paper 12, Disparities in Student Attainment project funded by HEA

Dhillon, J.K. (2007) Evaluation of Aimhigher Summer Schools for Education Partnerships Wolverhampton

Dhillon, J.K. (2005) Evaluation of the provision of student support systems for Centre for Learning and Teaching

Book chapters

Dhillon, J.K. (2018) Supporting Vocational and Technical Learning in Post-16 Education in England. In: Handbook of Vocational Education and Training: Developments in the Changing World of Work. Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-49789-1_17-1   

Dhillon, J.K. (2015) Social capital in inter-organizational partnership research, chapter 17 in Yaojun Li, (Ed) Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Social Capital, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar    

Dhillon, J.K. (2012) Widening access to higher education through partnership working, in: Basit, T.N and Tomlinson, S. (Eds) Social Inclusion and Higher Education, Policy Press. ISBN: 9781847427977, pp.273-294

Dhillon, J.K. McGowan, M. and Wong, H. (2006) What do we mean by student support? Staff and students’ perspectives of the provision and effectiveness of support for students, University of Wolverhampton

Dhillon, J.K. (2006) Trust and shared values: the basis of a sustained educational partnership? , in: Giannakaki, M.S, Papanikos, G.T. Pozios, Y. & Richards, J.K. (Eds) Research on Education, Athens: AITNER, ISBN: 960-6672-09-3, pp. 581-592

Dhillon, J. K. (2001) Bottom up and top down: a partnership approach to planning for local needs in post 16 education and training in England, in: Bevan, F. Kanes, C. & Roebuck, D. (Eds) Knowledge Demands for the New Economy Vol 1, Brisbane: Australian Academic Press, ISBN 1-875378-41-3, pp.181-186

Conference papers

Dhillon, J.K (2018) ‘Female perceptions of outstanding leadership as enacted practice’. Keynote given at WomenEd East & West Mids Festival of Leadership, 9 June 2018, University of Warwick   

Dhillon, J.K. (2018) ‘Curriculum design and development’. Presented at Centre for Curriculum Research, Policy and Educational Development conference, 5 April 2018, Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, India   

Dhillon, J. K. (2017) ‘Stakeholder perceptions of outstanding leadership’. Presented at World Education Leadership Symposium (WELS) held 6-8 September 2017 at Institute for the Management and Economics of Education (IBB) of the University of Teacher Education, Zug, Switzerland   

Dhillon, J.K. Howard, C. Cooke, V. Whittingham, T. and Holt, J. (2017) ‘Stakeholder perceptions of outstanding leadership in schools and colleges in England’. Presented at British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) Annual Conference 2017, 7-9 July 2017, Stratford upon Avon, England

Dhillon, J. K. and Thomas, N. (2017) ‘Closing the educational gap by mobilising family and community capital: learning from the experience of Sikh families’. Presented at Bridging the Global Educational Gap, BERA International Conference, University of Worcester, 22-23 June 2017     

Dhillon, J. K. (2017) The ‘£3 in the pocket’ generation: narratives of British (Panjabi) Sikhs’. Presented at 4th International Sikh Research Conference at the University of Warwick on 17th June 2017  

Dhillon, J.K. and Thomas, N. (2017) ‘Change, continuity and loss: key themes in the narratives of Sikh families’. Presented at Punjab Research Group Conference, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, 25 March 2017 

Dhillon, J. K. (2016) ‘Leadership as shared practice in outstanding schools and colleges in England’, presented at American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference held 8-12 April 2016 at The Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington DC, USA  

Dhillon, J. K. (2016) ‘Publishing in academic journals’, invited guest lecture at ICSSR sponsored National Workshop on Research Methodology for social science researchers from 1-11 March, 2016 at Central University of Punjab, India. (Lecture delivered via Skype 9 March 2016)    

Dhillon, J.K. Whitehouse, K. Hunt, D. Sisk, J. and Winson, A. (2016) ‘Developing Innovative TEL Practice in Teacher Education’. Presented at British Educational Research Association (BERA) Annual Conference, 13th-15th September 2016, Leeds, England 

Dhillon, J.K. (2015) ‘Education, entrepreneurship and social mobility in the trajectories of British Sikh families’, presented at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Annual International Conference 15th-17th September 2015, Queen’s University Belfast

Dhillon, J.K. (2015) ‘Democracy in leadership and governance at ‘outstanding' schools and colleges’, presented at British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) International conference 10th – 12th July 2015, Wokefield Park, Reading, Berkshire

Dhillon, J.K. (2015) ‘Changing patterns of work, education and social mobility amongst British Sikh families: an analysis over three generations’, presented at 11th JVET (Journal of Vocational Education and Training) International Conference 3rd – 5th July 2015, Worcester College, Oxford 

J. Dhillon (2014) ‘Engagement’, ethics and insider/outsider perspectives: researching the success stories of Sikh families in Britain’. Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (PESA) Conference 22-25 Nov 2014, Hamilton, New Zealand

Dhillon, J. (2014) ‘Education, entrepreneurship and social mobility in the narratives of migrant Sikh families’. Migrant Cross-Cultural Encounters Conference 26th Nov 2014, Dunedin, New Zealand

Dhillon, J. (2013) ‘What's in it for us? Institutional expectations and university lecturers' personal investment in courses delivered through transnational education partnerships’. BERA conference 3-5 Sept 2013, University of Sussex

Dhillon, J. (2013 ) ‘Policy, professionalism and pedagogy in vocationally focused UK universities’.  JVET conference 5-7 July 2013, University of Oxford

Dhillon, J. (2012) ‘Working with international partners in teacher education: people, structures and cultures’.  ICERI 2012 (5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation), Madrid, Spain

Dhillon J. (2011) 'Using learner diaries to research the learning of English by primary school pupils in Kenya'. School of Education research conference, University of Wolverhampton

Dhillon, J. (2010) ‘Leading, managing and sustaining education partnerships: an analysis derived from the perspectives of senior managers of education and training organisations’ BERA conference, University of Warwick, 1-4 September 2010

Dhillon, J. (2007) 'Using qualitative enquiry to improve professional practice in education: a case from researching partnership working in England' Association for Qualitative Research Biennial Conference, 13-14 November 2007, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Dhillon, J. (2007) ‘e-learning: innovative teaching and learning or strategic compliance?’ AISHE conference, Maynooth, Ireland 29-31 August 2007

Dhillon, J. (2007) ‘Getting to the heart of partnership: the research journey’, JVET conference, Oxford 6-8 July 2007  

Dhillon, J. (2007) ‘Blended learning: a more flexible and enhanced learning experience?’ Escalate conference, Nottingham, 24-25 May 2007

Dhillon, J. (2006) ‘The role of social capital in sustaining partnership’, BERA conference, University of Warwick, 6-9 September 2006

Dhillon, J. (2006) ‘Trust and shared values: the basis of a sustained educational partnership?’ 8th International Conference on Education, Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER) Athens, Greece, 25-28 May, 2006

Dhillon, J. (2005) ‘Ethical and methodological issues in HE practitioner research’, Symposium with Lesley Cartwright, Neil Duncan, Brendan Bartram, School of Education Research conference, University of Wolverhampton, Telford, April 2005

Dhillon, J. (2003) ‘The Rhetoric and Reality of Partnership Working’, School of Education Research conference, University of Wolverhampton, April 2003

Dhillon, J. (2002) 'An exploration of learners' experiences and perceptions of learning using Learndirect centres',  SCUTREA 2002 conference, University of Stirling, July 2002

Dhillon, J. (2002) 'Partnerships for post 16 education: learning how they work in England', INCED Day Conference, University of Warwick, May 2002

Dhillon, J. (2001) 'Bottom up and Top Down': a partnership approach to planning for local needs in post 16 education and training in England', 9th Annual International Conference on Post-compulsory Education and Training, Queensland, Australia, 3-5 December 2001

Dhillon, J. (2001) 'Joined up thinking: People and Partnerships for Learning' BERA Conference, Leeds, 13-15 September 2001

Dhillon, J. (1999) ‘Improving the quality of student information in a modular university: voices from the Student Information Project’. 14-16 July 1999, 3rd International Conference: Researching Vocational Education and Training GMB National College, Manchester

Dhillon, J. (1996) ‘An International Perspective on TESOL' 20th September 1996 Hogeschool, Holland, English in International Education Conference

Dhillon, J. (1995) ‘Students’ Experience of a Competence Based Professional Development Programme'.  19th-21st July 1995, University of Greenwich at Conference: Research and Change in Further and Vocational Education

External roles

  • Associate editor, Journal of Educational Management Administration & Leadership (EMAL)
  • Member of International Editorial Board Committee of Journal of Vocational Education and training (JVET)
  • Member of the Editorial Management Committee of Journal of Vocational Education and training (JVET)
  • Reviewer for JVET and EMAL
  • Peer reviewer for HEA research and development projects
  • Reviewer for HEA national teaching awards (NTFS)
  • Reviewer for British Educational Research Journal (BERJ)
  • Governor of Queen Marys Grammar School, Walsall
  • Governor of Walsall College
  • Visiting Professor and co-supervisor for PhD students at Panjabi University Patiala (PUP), India
  • International mentor for educational research at Central University of Punjab, India