As a senior lecturer in business and enterprise, Sarah has developed three new undergraduate business degrees at Marjon University. Discover her top tips for becoming a lecturer
What degree did you study?
I studied politics for my undergraduate degree at the University of York. I then studied a Masters in Social Research Methods and Evaluation at the University of Plymouth, followed by a PhD in Entrepreneurial Learning, also at the University of Plymouth. I graduated from my PhD in 2018.
How did you get your job as a lecturer?
I was working at another university and was looking for a permanent lecturing position. Marjon University was recruiting for lecturers who could design and teach a new business programme, and I jumped at the chance to take on this challenge.
What's a typical working day like?
Every day is different, which sounds like a cliché but it's true. As the programme leader for the BSc Business, BSc Business with Foundation Year and BA Leadership and Management for Business, teaching forms a large part of what I do, but so does research.
Alongside writing, prepping and delivering lectures and seminars, I'm also writing research papers and bidding for research funding for new projects.
What do you enjoy most about being a lecturer?
The autonomy I have. I've had the freedom to write degree programmes from scratch and all the teaching materials are my own.
What are the challenges?
Time management. In order to do this job well, you have to produce high-quality outputs often in tight timeframes. It's important to set boundaries between your work and home life or you may find yourself working evenings and weekends.
In what way is your degree relevant?
I use the research conducted for my PhD on an almost daily basis. It informs my teaching materials and the way I deliver my teaching.
The skills I gained from my BA and MSc, such as critical thinking, communication and teamwork, are used in a variety of settings - from project work to meetings and publishing research.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
I've taken on more responsibility as time has gone on, such as leading several undergraduate programmes, and I hope to lead on postgraduate programmes in the future.
What's your advice to those thinking of doing a Masters?
Choose a Masters that will develop your skills alongside your knowledge base. If you're thinking ahead and want to do a PhD, then choose a research-based Masters at an institution where you might like to do your PhD and start forging links with potential supervisors early on.
What are your top tips for other aspiring lecturers?
- Publish as soon as possible, whether it's a book chapter, a policy report or a research paper.
- Work towards additional qualifications, such as a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, in order to validate your teaching skills.
- Talk to other academics and ask them what they enjoy the most about their role. Being an academic will be a challenge if it's not something you enjoy.