Careers in Higher Education

Helen Glew, Lecturer in History (graduated 2002)

Lancaster's excellent history staff really ignited my passion for the subject and by my third year I realised I wanted to continue studying history and pursue an academic career. When I decided that I wanted to do a PhD I received expert help and support with practical matters, career advice and indeed it was a member of staff at Lancaster who drew my attention to the scholarship opportunity in London which has subsequently funded my PhD on women's employment in interwar Britain. I am now a Lecturer at the University of Westminster, and I often think of the teaching I benefited from at Lancaster when teaching my own students.



Owain Wright, Lecturer in History (graduated 1999)

When I arrived at Lancaster University in 1996 I had no idea what kind of career I wanted to pursue, but by the end of my very first history lecture I had made up my mind (yes, really!): I wanted to publish my own research within the field and – in particular – to teach the subject to university students. When I later decided to stay at Lancaster to study for my PhD, the truth is that I was so happy there I never seriously considered moving anywhere else. The teaching that I received from the staff of the History department was a constant inspiration to me, and the skills I acquired as a historian are obviously vital to my current career. As a postgraduate I was also fortunate enough to benefit from a number of financial awards which the University was able to offer in support of my studies. In short, the encouragement and support I received from the History staff, the friendliness of the University in general, the excellent resources of its library, the pleasant surroundings of the campus, and the charm of one of Britain's most welcoming cities all combined to make my years in Lancaster immensely enjoyable and successful.

Robert Kirk, Wellcome Research Fellow (graduated 1999)

It is a testimony to the diversity and flexibility of the degree structure at Lancaster that I began my undergraduate studies with an interest in ancient history and an intention to study computer science, yet graduated three years later with a joint degree in history and history of science and a commitment to pursue this new interest into a future career. After graduating I undertook a Masters degree at the University of East Anglia followed by a PhD at UCL, both focused upon the history of medicine. I am now beginning an academic career specializing in this subject. This requires that I regularly draw upon the comprehensive body of skills and abilities that I learnt at Lancaster.

Studying history taught essential skills such as critical thinking, organising information, and the ability to articulate a coherent argument. These are essential for a career in education but also prove useful more generally and are highly prized 'transferable' skills. It was at Lancaster that I learnt how to think, and to be wary not to take anything for granted. The study of history was shown to be a powerful tool for identifying and deconstructing common assumptions. As such, the study of history became a valuable method to better understand the world within which we live. These were important and fundamental principles that possessed meaning beyond the mere discipline and helped shape an approach to the world. A valuable legacy of studying at Lancaster is the continued support of the Department after graduation. In my experience this has been unrivalled and I have benefited greatly since leaving Lancaster from the continued guidance of tutors who have always proved willing to offer advice and support during critical junctures in my career development to date.

Steve McCann, Senior Lecturer in Housing Studies (graduated 1986)

I loved my four years studying History and Italian at Lancaster. Every course I took was interesting and well taught, with my lecturers always encouraging me to think for myself and to question everything. When I left it was with the intention of pursuing postgraduate studies; I had a place to study but no funds, so I had to work for a living. Somehow I drifted into housing, where I was able to continue to study, well prepared for postgraduate studies at the LSE by my time at Lancaster. Ten years ago I became an academic and have since gained further postgraduate qualifications: a PGCE and an MA in Italian. I still teach housing although I really see myself as supporting people to become independent thinkers by helping them to develop their critical faculties. My time at Lancaster prepared me well for what I do now.