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Dr. Catherine Dean of the SHSS graduates with a PhD from Dublin City University

On Saturday 9th November 2013, School of Humanities and Social Sciences faculty member – Dr. Catherine Dean received the award of Doctor of Philosophy from the President of Dublin City University, Professor Brian MacCraith. This year Dublin City University was ranked fortieth in the QS Top 50 under 50 World University Rankings. Forty five doctoral degrees were granted during the graduation ceremony on 9th November, along with many undergraduate and Master degrees from the Faculty of Engineering and Computing and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Dr. Dean’s thesis, Creating a spiration of love in freedom for personal growth at Strathmore University (Kenya), discusses how she has sought to understand the deeper meaning of her life and work while trying to improve her teaching practice at Strathmore University. She expresses her findings in her living educational theory.


The methodology developed by Dr. Dean is inspired in a living educational theory approach to research. It includes values and diverse forms of meaningful representation such as personal reflective narrative, auto-ethnography, intellectual representation and visual narrative. Dr. Dean uses philosophical and theological reflection and analysis to explain the deeper meaning of the values that emerged through her research and her living educational theory. She provides evidence of her contribution to knowledge using feedback from students, colleagues and others.


Dr. Dean expresses the living values that give meaning to her life and work as creating a spiration of love, in freedom, for personal growth. She illustrates how she strives to live these values and explains how she understands them as an analogical mirroring of the free flow of love among the Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity.


Dr. Dean would like to express her gratitude to everyone at Strathmore University who has contributed to making her research and the completion of her studies possible. Special thanks go to the students who have collaborated in her work, her colleagues at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and in the Personnel Department.


She would like to encourage all those who are pursing or are considering the doctoral journey. There are times when there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, eventually it begins to appear and grow stronger until  finally one reaches broad daylight once again!


Professor MacCraith quoted the following inspiring words from Seamus Heaney, Irish poet and Nobel Laureate in Literature who passed away on 30th August 2013, at the end of his Graduation address: “We should keep our feet on the ground to signify that nothing [and nobody] is beneath us, but we should also lift up our eyes to signify nothing is beyond us…” (Seamus Heaney, 2009).