Lecturer is first to graduate with a Doctorate in Professional Practice from UWTSD


Last week, lecturer Kate L. Williams became the first person to graduate with a Doctorate in Professional Practice from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David - the same University at which she teaches.

Dr Kate L Williams

Kate is director of the BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy degree programme at UWTSD has worked in semi-professional, professional and international sport for over 15 years.  In addition to teaching sports therapy, Kate also has a keen research interest in sports therapy related areas, specifically injuries surrounding the hip and groin and prolonged sports related concussion. 

As well as wanting to continue with clinical practice - and her role as a lecturer - Kate was also looking for an opportunity to further her research interests and the DProf offered the ideal solution.

"When I applied to the DProf programme at UWTSD, I was an applied sports science/therapy practitioner working as a clinical lead for rehabilitation and injury prevention in professional rugby union. I felt at times that I was evidence-based problem solving, critically analysing and disseminating information at a doctoral standard in a real world setting but I did not want to leave my work in professional sport to follow a traditional PhD route. UWTSD gave me an alternative to studying a traditional PhD that allowed me to combine my clinical practice with doctoral level research via their Professional Doctorate programme.  For me, it offered the best of both worlds. My goal was - and still is - to become a researching professional and an expert practitioner. 

“The DProf I studied allowed me to access a group of like-minded practitioners from a variety of settings including education, business administration and nutrition – and to share ideas, experiences and learning journeys,” continues Kate.

“The course was taught via residential weeks at the beautiful Lampeter Campus.  These weeks were invaluable and allowed me to dedicate time and focus my effort in to preparing my work-based research project. The setting is perfect for doctoral students to work and socialise and I left each residential week with a clear plan for the next few months. It made the enormous task of completing a doctorate so much more manageable.

“The programme director, Dr Christine Davies and the teaching staff are super -   friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. My cohort was also given a mentor in Dr Rhiannon Washington who was also an immense support. For my thesis, my supervisory team was led by UWTSD’s Dr Andy Williams.  Andy acted as a critical friend throughout - listening, advising, proof-reading and generally pushing me to undertake an authentic work-based project that advanced current thinking and had impact in real world applications.

“I have no doubt that I would not have completed the doctorate if it was not for his patience and guidance.  That really is the key difference in the Doctorate in Professional Practice offered at UWTSD - the staff and the support you receive makes it feel like you are not alone. I would highly recommend this route to any practitioners wishing to develop personal and research skills," she adds.

The Doctorate in Professional Practice (DProf) at UWTSD is a professional doctorate which integrates part-time doctoral level study with continuing professional practice. It is therefore ideal for those who wish to study at doctoral level whilst maintaining their professional commitments.

The programme is open to practitioners who should normally have a minimum of five years’ experience of undertaking a significant managerial or executive role in their professional area. The individuals who undertake this programme are senior in their field, engaged in high level tasks in complex environments.

Dr Christine Davies, Programme Director of the Doctorate in Professional Practice was delighted to be last week’s graduation ceremony to see her first DProf candidate graduate. 

“Kate Williams was a member of the very first UWTSD Doctorate in Professional Practice (DProf) cohort, starting in Spring 2015, and is our first DProf graduate,” says Dr Davies.

“All through Part 1, she undertook her studies with diligence and efficiency, and her Part 2 doctoral research project was well-designed and rigorous, and clearly based on her professional role as a sports therapist and lecturer. The outcomes of that research are explained in her exemplary thesis, and will have significant value to a range of team sports. We are very proud of Kate’s achievement, and wish her all the very best in her future career.”

In addition to undertaking a Doctorate in Professional Practice; continuing to run the Sports Therapy degree programme at UWTSD and working in professional sport, Kate has also recently become a mother to seventeen-week old Tomos.

To find out more about the Doctoral in Professional Practice offered at UWTSD, please visit https://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/dprof/ or contact Dr Christine Davies  directly by emailing Christine.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk

For further information about the Sports Therapy degree programme on which Dr Kate L. Williams teaches, please visit https://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/bsc-sport-therapy/

Further Information

For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies, Principal Communications and PR Officer on 01267 676908 / 07449 998476 sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk