Professor Jaswinder K Dhillon


Professor of Education


Contact Details


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Jaswinder joined the university as a Professor of Education in January 2015, having previously worked in a range of teaching, research and leadership roles in further and higher education. She is passionate about research and research-informed professional practice and has extensive experience of teaching and supervising research students in the UK and internationally. Jas has taught and supervised research students in China, India, Holland, Mauritius and the Solomon Islands.  She is currently collaborating with universities in India and South Africa.

Her research has investigated the experiences and perspectives of students, teachers and managers, particularly in contexts implementing initiatives to improve access and achievement in education.  Jas has researched partnerships and partnership working, leadership and governance, teaching and learning in vocational, further and higher education and TESOL. She is interested in qualitative research methodologies, social capital analyses and Sikh diaspora studies. She was recently given an honour and award by the British Sikh community for her research on Sikh families.

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 an 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. 


Academic qualifications

  • PhD, (University of Warwick) ‘Joining-up’: a study of partnership in post-16 learning
  • MSc Teaching English for Specific Purposes, (University of Aston)
  • BA (Joint Hons) History and Philosophy, (University College Cardiff)

Professional qualifications

  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Dip RSA Training and Development
  •  PGCE (Secondary) University College Cardiff

Teaching & Research

Teaching Interests

  • Qualitative research methods
  • Insider and work-based research
  • Refection 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

Doctoral students (PhD and EdD)

  • Completions: 8
  • Currently supervising: 5 (Four in UK and one in India)   
  • Doctorates examined (PhD and EdD): 16

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

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 International Professional Development Association (IPDA)
  • Member of National Governance Association (NGA)
  • Member of Black Female Professors Forum (BFPF)


Journal articles 

Howard, C. and Dhillon, J.K. (2021) Q-sort as a tool for promoting outstanding leadership. Practice Contemporary Issues in Practitioner Education. pp. 1-9. ISSN Print ISSN: 2578-3858 Online ISSN: 2578-3866.

Bawa, S. K. Kaushal, R. and Dhillon, J.K.  (2020) Unification of Multimedia with Techniques of Art and Vedic Aphorisms for Development of Mathematical Skills: A Study of Indian and UK School Students. Journal on Efficiency and Responsibility in Education and Science, 13 (3). ISSN 2336-2375 (print), 1803-1617 (eISSN).

Dhillon, J.K.  (2020) Reflections on leadership practice during COVID-19 lockdown in India (blog post). International Professional Development Association Blog.

Dhillon, J.K. Howard, C. and Holt, J. (2020) Outstanding leadership in primary education: perceptions of school leaders in English primary schools. Management in Education. 34 (2). pp. 61-68. ISSN 0892-0206 Online: 1741-9883.

Dhillon, J.K. and Thomas, N. (2019) Ethics of engagement and insider-outsider perspectives: issues and dilemmas in cross-cultural interpretation. International Journal of Research & Method in Education. 42 (4). pp. 442-453. ISSN Print: 1743-727X Online: 1743-7288.

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. (2016) Creating courses for adults: design for learning (book review). Studies in the Education of Adults, 48 (1). pp. 118-119. ISSN Print 0266-0830 Online 1478-9833.

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. and 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, no. 3, pp.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, pp57-62.

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 thinktank.

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, Jaswinder (2014) Widening access to Higher Education through partnership working. In: Social Inclusion and Higher Education. Policy Press, Bristol, pp. 273-294. ISBN Paperback 978-1447316213 eBook 978-1447321644.

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.  (2020) ‘Research ethics and researcher positionality in educational research'.  Presented at Research workshop for doctoral students and staff at Central University of Punjab, India, 17 March 2020, Centre for Curriculum Research, Policy and Educational Development, Central University of Punjab, India.

Dhillon, J. K. (2019) ‘Balancing insider-outsider positioning in near-to-practice research’. Presented at International Professional Development Association (IPDA) conference, 29-30 November 2019, Aston University UK.

Dhillon, J.K., Farmah, R. and Bansal, G. (2019) ‘Characteristics of outstanding leadership practice: transnational perspectives from England, India and South Africa’. Presented at ECER 2019 (European Educational Research Association annual conference), 3 - 6 September 2019, University of Hamburg, Germany.

Dhillon, J.K (2019) ‘Researching characteristics of outstanding leadership and governance in vocational education using Q-method: findings from England, India and South Africa’. Presented at 13th JVET (Journal of Vocational Education and Training) International Conference 28-30 June 2019, Keble College, University of Oxford.

Dhillon, J.K (2019) ‘Publishing in academic journals: tips to help you succeed’. Keynote and facilitator at British Academy funded International workshop entitled ‘Enhancing opportunities for research and publication for emergent academics’ 17-19 June 2019, Ibn Zohr University, Agadir, Morocco.

Dhillon, J.K (2019) ‘Publishing in academic journals: tips to help you succeed’. Keynote and lead facilitator at International writers’ workshop for aspirant journal authors 19-21 February 2019, Cape Town, South Africa, sponsored by Institute for Post-School Studies, University of the Western Cape.

Dhillon, J.K (2018) ‘Race, gender and leadership: fitting in or challenging assumptions?’ Keynote panel on Race, gender, and professional learning at 51st International Professional Development Association (IPDA) conference 16-17 November 2018, Aston University, Birmingham, UK.  

Dhillon, J.K (2018) ‘Women’s perceptions of outstanding leadership: fitting in or challenging expectations?’ Invited presentation at BELMAS Gender and Leadership Research Interest Group meeting, on the theme of Troubling gender in educational leadership: what does the research tell us? 25 October 2018, University of Warwick.  

Dhillon, J.K (2018) ‘Outstanding leadership in schools and colleges in England’. Keynote panel on Educational policy, leadership, and administration at International Conference on Learning 28-30 September 2018, Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, India.

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, 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 International 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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', 9th Annual International Conference on Post-compulsory Education and Training, Queensland, Australia, 3-5 December 2001.


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


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


Dhillon, J.K. (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
  • Panel member for judging best paper awards JVET and EMAL   
  • Reviewer for International Journal of Research & Method in Education
  • Reviewer for Journal of Vocational, Adult and Continuing Education and Training (JOVACET)
  • Peer reviewer for ESRC and AHRC  
  • Reviewer for HEA national teaching awards and fellowships
  • Reviewer for British Educational Research Journal (BERJ)
  • Governor of Queen Mary’s 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