Where Are You Now?

Professor Daniel Kirk, PhD

BA (Hons) English Studies 1996, PGCE 1997, MA Education 2002  

Position and company: Dean & Professor, College of Education & Human Services, Lindenwood University, USA

Professor Daniel Kirk’s career in the international higher education sector spans over two decades. Professor Kirk, originally from East London, currently works as a Dean and Professor at Lindenwood University in Missouri, USA. He leads a college focused on preparing the next generation of teachers, school leaders, education administrators, social workers, and counsellors.

Professor Kirk explained: “The college offers undergraduate degrees, as well as master’s and Doctoral programmes, along with various specialist and certificate options. I lead and drive the college strategic framework, academic excellence, and student success. I am also a Professor of Education, with an active research agenda exploring international and comparative education.”

Asked about his biggest achievement to date, Professor Kirk replied: “As a university professor, I'm most proud of guiding, teaching and supporting hundreds of university students move into their professional roles as educators.”

On the other hand, he described his biggest challenge as “seeking to grow programmes and access for students in a fiscally tight environment, where budgets are squeezed, and funding remains a challenge.”

Professor Kirk’s career began with his bachelor's degree in English Studies at the University of Sunderland, followed immediately by his PGCE which he completed in 1997. He later returned to the University of Sunderland and graduated with an MA in Education in 2002.

He was initially attracted to the University after visiting the campus and finding everyone very friendly.

Professor Kirk said: “I headed to Sunderland from East London, after visiting several other campuses across the country in the late 1990s. Sunderland became my first choice after a visit to the campus during which time everyone I met was friendly, interested, and helpful. It seemed like a good to place to be for a few years and I liked the city and coastal location.

“I loved my time there so much that I stayed for postgraduate degrees and remained in the area during the first few years of my professional life as a teacher.”

Professor Kirk has fond memories of Sunderland and is still in touch with the friends he made while at uni.

He explained: “My biggest influence was the friends I made, many of whom remain close friends to this day. Having a network of friends is important to give balance to the university experience outside of the academic work.”

His advice to recent graduates entering the job market is to be brave and bold.

“Look around for opportunities that excite you and that you believe will fulfil you, professionally and personally,” he advised.

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