Dr Liliana Donchik Belkin joined CPRL as a Research Fellow on 3rd August 2020. She is working on the “Mobilising Change in Police Learning & Development (L&D)” project with Richard Harding and policing colleagues.
Liliana's previous professional and academic roles provide her with a wealth of both practical and theoretical knowledge and experience that will help contribute to the delivery of this work. This experience includes teaching at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels in the US and the UK, as well as research and evaluation in schools and criminal justice systems. She has also been a central school leader and director of policy and implementation at the New York City Department of Education.
Academically her research and publications have focused on policy and practice barriers to formerly incarcerated youth re-engaging in school, transnational education policy analysis, and supporting teachers and school administrators to develop and implement instructional strategies and goals. Through this work she has developed a good understanding of the challenges faced by BAME communities and individuals in their interactions with criminal justice and education systems.
Having worked with a range of criminal justice agencies Liliana is excited by the opportunity to work directly with UK policing organizations through the Centre and to bring her knowledge and insight to bear on the critical issue of creating a police service fit for the challenges of 21st century Britain. She completed her Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Leadership at New York University in 2017. She was the recipient of a US-UK Fulbright Core Scholar Fellowship 2019-20 at University of Roehampton School of Education in London.
We spoke to Liliana to find out more
What attracted you to the role at CPRL?
“I am very passionate about policy, practice and organizational change in educational and criminal justice systems. I believe social services (like schools and the police service) that impact the life of community members have the power to support positive change, influence life trajectories, and open up life opportunities. I am attracted to the role at CPRL because it offers me the opportunity to conduct research I’m interested in on organizational change and to support learning and development in police forces in order to support continuous improvement. I am also interested in learning about the on-the-ground challenges that police forces encounter with educational provision and policy demands and to have the opportunity to collaboratively think through these challenges and in order to develop new processes and practices.”
What are you most excited about coming to work for the CPRL and the OU?
“I am excited about the chance to work with the renowned research team at OU and work directly with police forces as co-researchers. I like that CPRL is an interdisciplinary research centre that includes experts from a variety of departments, as I believe that any research into organizational change and learning should be informed by multiple perspectives. The OU's social justice mission and focus on expanding access to higher education for all resonates with my beliefs about the goals of education and the importance of research being applicable and relevant to practice.”
What would you say is the biggest take away from your previous research that is relevant to UK policing?
“My previous research was on agencies that support incarcerated youth returning to school and outcomes of parole interventions. I would say that the biggest takeaway from that research that is relevant to UK policing, is about how organizations learn, change, and collaborate with other organizations to meet their aims. This experience of the complexities of organizational learning and interagency collaboration help inform my approach to research and highlight that not all changes are improvements. My prior research has helped me to craft and deploy approaches to supporting the development of organizational processes that are practical and sustainable for application by members of the organization. Any changes need to be measurable to assess whether they are actual improvements. Giving the organization the information they need to make informed decisions and to know what is working and what is not is critical.”
Give us one interesting fact about you that you feel comfortable sharing with the members?
“As a kid, I played the trumpet for five years. I was majorly influenced by Louis Armstrong after spending time in New Orleans, U.S. with my aunt and uncle and hearing a lot of jazz trumpet on the streets of the French Quarter.”
Cats or dogs and why?
“Both! I always had pets growing up, including cats and dogs. As a kid, I was probably more of a dog person, but now I have three cats! I love them so much. They are a little pack that rules the household. They are very affectionate and at times very playful (in between their many naps), and they each have a very strong personality. They are a big part of my family, so surprisingly, I have become a cat person.”