As a lecturer, I lead lectures, seminars and workshops, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I also conduct my own research, supervise students, publish my work, present to the media, engage with the public, promote our courses, sit on committees …the list could go on.
There is no such thing as a ‘typical day’ for an academic – which is a double-edged sword: we have a great deal of flexibility in both how we choose to apportion our time – but we need to be incredibly self-disciplined at the same time. Regardless, there will typically be a lot of time spent at a desk, but on the more ‘fun’ days, there are collaborative research-related meetings, the setup of studies and collection of data – and working with some Bright Young Things!
For a prestigious institution such as Brunel, it is increasingly becoming a requirement to either have a doctoral degree, or be close to completing one, in order to be offered an academic post. A PhD is no small undertaking. There are compromises to be made somewhere – which can sometimes be one’s relationships. So, if this is a profession that appeals to you, then do think about having explicit support from those you care about first! Other desirable qualities for an academic include: tenacity, time management skills, insight, innovativeness, adaptability, articulacy (both written and verbal), passion, and critical thinking…this list could also go on.
One element of my job that I recently enjoyed is working with two diligent and capable masters students, both of whom will be producing outstanding dissertations that we hope to publish in peer-reviewed journals. It is very rewarding to see them grow and flourish in such a way. By publishing students’ work with my name on it, I can also enhance my ‘academic CV’ and therefore make it more likely that my future research will attract funding – and that I will consequently progress up the career ladder.
Dr. Dan Bishop is Lecturer (Sport & Exercise Psychology), Head of Employability, Marketing and Student Recruitment at Brunel University London