I joined UEA in 2005 as a Lecturer in Phonetics in the Speech & Language Therapy team after 8 years working at the University of Manchester. Since then I have continued to support all aspects of the SLT programme as well as increasingly supporting activity across the wider School, and since 2009 I have undertaken a range of leadership roles. I started as Senior Adviser in the School of Allied Health Professions, and worked my way through Teaching Lead (Rehabilitation team) in the School of Rehabilitation Sciences (RSC), Director of Teaching & Learning (RSC) and ultimately Director of Education Strategy in the School of Health Sciences.
I have never applied for study leave and have been lucky in never needing significant periods of time off work. I have however benefitted, particularly in recent years, from excellent mentorship and the developmental support that provides. I have been supported to work reasonably flexibly in terms of the ability to work from home when the diary allowed. I have also been encouraged and supported to step outside my comfort zone to undertake an increasing range of external activities which has been of huge benefit. I have continued to work at programme level, teaching within my subject area, assessing students and supporting undergraduate, post graduate and PGR students, all of which I love and it provides a welcome balance with the wider School and University roles.
I have been privileged to have my educational expertise and the impact of my teaching recognised in two UEA Excellence in Teaching Awards – 2009 and 2015, and a UEA SU Transforming Teaching Award in 2015. In 2014 I was promoted to Senior Lecturer, and in 2019 to Professor, both of which have given me great personal and professional satisfaction. The range of challenges that come with senior leadership roles has allowed me to develop enormously, taking on projects and opportunities that have helped me gain promotion and move on in my career. The support to become involved in external facing activities, whether that be meetings and committee membership with partner organisations, attendance at the meetings of the Council of Deans for Health, or undertaking PSRB visitor roles has been invaluable to my professional development and my ability to undertake the School based activities required of me with confidence.
I am lucky to love what I do – challenges and all. On a personal level I am not the best at maintaining what others would identify as a good work / life balance, but that is my choice not something that is imposed on me. I had a sort of professional epiphany a few years ago in terms of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. The support I’ve received has been invaluable in achieving those goals, but I also decided that I was going to pursue what I thought would get me where I wanted to go, doing whatever that entailed. In some respects luck has played a significant part, being in the right place at the right time, but an excellent mentor has been invaluable – even when I didn’t agree with them.