My official PhD award letter arrived last week on July 2; Thursday 17th is my graduation ceremony at the University of Salford and today I accepted the offer of a full-time permanent lectureship at Bournemouth University.
I am obviously thrilled to be joining one of the biggest Media Schools in the UK and it feels like a just reward for completing my PhD. However, the truth is that this life and career-changing opportunity has been ten years in the making.
While the PhD undoubtedly helped me to secure tenure at Bournemouth, the quest to become an academic began in earnest in 2004. That’s when I started a Foundation Degree in Journalism that led to a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism Studies, followed by a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education.
I have the former Associate Dean of the School of Media at London College of Communication (LCC), Gary Naylor, to thank for that. He was my personal tutor and one of my lecturers at LCC. He was extremely supportive and always took a great interest in my professional development.
Gary helped facilitate the launch of my first Book: Layers of Blackness: Colourism in the African Diaspora at LCC in 2007 that emerged from my undergraduate dissertation. His words at the launch, that the book was “the start of a career” really motivated me towards scholarship and teaching. It was also Gary who suggested that I become a lecturer and directed me towards a teaching qualification.
Thereafter, two years of part-time lecturing combined with freelance research at University of the Arts London helped to secure my PhD studentship at the University of Salford in 2010.
Aside from three and a half years of intense research, it was the other activities involving leadership: People With Voices and Black British Academics that were crucial in helping me to develop skills in professional practice and enterprise that is increasingly demanded of full-time academics.
I hope my new role will provide a stimulating environment for me to develop my academic career.