James has a PhD and is currently a lecturer at a Russell Group university.
I decided to become a higher education (HE) lecturer as I have always loved the study of complex systems of thought, literature and languages.
My PhD degree was essential in securing my current position as a lecturer. My academic qualifications include a BA in Comparative Religion, an MA in Religions and Theology and a PhD. Through my degrees, I developed the capacity to formulate evidence-based arguments and to lead my audience through the stages of my thinking in a clear and coherent fashion, both orally and in writing.
To enter a career path as a lecturer, I completed a doctorate in a relevant research field. Also, I made myself aware of relevant governing bodies and policy constructs in my sector. When applying for the job, I presented an evidence-based argument with regards to my potential effectiveness to my employer.
The most important advice I would give to others considering a similar career path is to love the work. You will need to be a passionate communicator, realistic about the range of tasks that will be asked of you and accept that administration and related activities are not only necessary but integral to the role (and its refinement and development). Always present evidence-based argument for what you want and explain in the clearest possible terms why it will benefit your institution or the funding body with which you are in dialogue.
My main areas of work are research, teaching and administration. Over the past five years, my profile as a researcher has developed. I am engaged in a long-term process of acquiring knowledge of relevant languages and data-sets. I am also involved in asking questions of those materials that will contribute to our understanding of both the religions and societies of South Asia, as well as wider issues such as the ways in which human beings make and adapt their sense of their environments and purposes. This has led to publishing contracts, major research grants and much else besides.
My role as a teacher has developed considerably through formal training in teaching practice (a Postgraduate Diploma) and expansion of the range and depth of the courses that I offer.
As a manager and administrator, I am developing in terms of my strategic sense, my capacity to motivate others and my ability to effect medium- and long-term change.
Whilst I truly enjoy all aspects of my role, juggling the range of activities effectively is perhaps the most difficult aspect. Mastering the patience to work through long, and not always ‘edge of the seat’, data-sets is also amongst the more challenging aspects of the work!
In terms of my future career path, I would like to progress until my skills begin to match my ambition - which I hope is professor!
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