Case study

Lecturer in events management and hospitality — Leanne Drennan

Being able to multitask and adapt is a key part of Leanne's role as a lecturer. Find out more about her many different responsibilities

What degree did you study?

I studied for a BA Public Relations and Events Management at the University of Derby and, more recently, a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, also at Derby. I'm currently in the final stage of a Masters degree, specialising in education.

How did you get your job as a lecturer?

I applied for my current role after completing my undergraduate degree and working for around three years as a full-time events manager for a large hotel chain.

Although I was fortunate enough to secure employment in the events industry shortly after graduating, teaching had always been a career aspiration of mine.

How is your degree relevant?

My undergraduate degree provided me with the underpinning knowledge for my specialism and helped to enthuse and grow my passion for the industry. I was introduced to many key theories and models, most of which are still extremely relevant today and allow me to apply and debate current, contemporary scenarios with my students.

My PGCE allowed me to explore education in more detail. I developed knowledge of how people learn, how to plan effective and engaging teaching sessions, and formative and summative assessment strategies.

What's a typical working day like?

The working day begins in my office, where I catch up on emails, answer any queries and check the schedule for the day. I tend to have student appointments penciled in at various points where students can see me on a one-to-one basis to ask for advice or find out more about a specific topic.

In addition to this I'm the personal tutor for around 25 students, who I meet with on a regular basis to discuss their progress, how they're performing and their career aspirations moving forward.

I also spend my day preparing, reviewing and reading material for future classes, browsing for any supporting or exciting new content/case studies to include and uploading information to the university's online portal, so students have access to resources at the touch of a button.

Besides lecturing, I'm also a supervisor for final year students who are doing their research projects on topics related to my field of expertise. I meet with these students on a regular basis to hear about their progress and mentor them accordingly. At certain points of the year I also undertake marking and feedback duties, providing constructive advice and comments on students' work.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I particularly enjoy the more fluid approach to being a lecturer, such as discussing ideas and theories with students - drawing on their views and experiences as opposed to just 'teaching' them.

What are the challenges?

During the teaching semesters, balancing work and life commitments is often a challenge. There are many long, tiring days during teaching weeks, and working evenings and weekends is often the norm.

How has your role developed?

My role has developed significantly over the past few years, with a huge focus now being on the overall experience on site for students studying at the institution - the whole 'package', not just teaching. As students' needs and expectations are constantly changing, it's imperative to react in order to ensure a rich and fulfilling student experience.

What's your advice to other aspiring lecturers?

  • Knowledge in your chosen field is crucial. Ensuring that you follow key trends, continually research and stay up to date with current happenings will put you in good stead for debates and discussions.
  • You have to be passionate about the topics you teach, so you can bring the subject alive.
  • Being flexible in your approach to teaching and having the ability to adapt to varying group and class sizes is paramount. Your week can change quite significantly at times, so being able to adapt and prioritise is key.

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