As University academics we are committed to our subjects and, at Liverpool at least, committed to supporting students from all walks of life to engage in the subjects we love and in doing so to help them to develop and grow in confidence and ambition. So, it’s nice when a good news story comes along that demonstrates the value of our hard work.
John Hill’s is just such a story. He started at Liverpool as a Continuing Education student with few qualifications but a passionate interest in Archaeology. John began his academic journey with a couple of Open University courses, but when he saw a leaflet for Continuing Education (CE) in a local Visitor Centre he rang us and was welcomed onto CE courses leading to a Diploma in 2003.
In his speech at the party to celebrate his success John told how he was welcomed by CE Academic Organiser Dr Jane Moore, who allocated a supervisor Dr Joan Taylor who subsequently encouraged him to take an MA. Then along with Dr Phil Freeman, Joan encouraged John to go on to take a PhD. When Joan retired, Dr Matthew Fitzjohn and Dr Duncan Garrow took over supervision; John was full of praise for his supervisors. Meanwhile Dr Zosia Archibald, as Academic Organiser, suggested that John contribute to teaching CE courses. He has been doing so successfully (with classes of 25 plus) ever since. John now also teaches and helps to manage International Summer Schools in the Centre for Lifelong Learning. Dr Hill said:
“CE is like a doorway or entrance for people like myself to enter into higher education, especially for those that haven’t, for whatever reason, obtained previous educational qualifications. Secondly, once the doorway has been entered CE then provides the guidance and support to further one’s own development.”
But CE is more than a group of professional support staff – it’s also the academic staff, in this case the Archaeologists in SACE who work together with CLL to give the kind of support that helps all our students. Now that this lovely graduation week has come to an end, it’s worth remembering that much of the success of the students throwing their hats in the air is down to the passion, expertise and dedication of university academics. Treat yourselves a huge pat on the back – and give yourself a well deserved summer break.