I always read the Times Higher Education with great interest and was particularly drawn to a recent report on its investigation into UK universities increasingly pushing for academic staff to hold PhDs.
We’re very much pro our lecturers progressing their research and furthering their education here and we were one of a handful of institutions named in the Times Higher Education piece that generally expects new staff to have reached PhD level.
We’re also fully aware of the criticism that academic institutions face in being too academia-focussed and not preparing students for the “real world” – a criticism we are particularly keen to dispel here at the Business School.
I firmly believe that recruiting lecturers who hold a PhD is as important as recruiting lecturers with applied knowledge and first-hand business experience – and the two are not mutually exclusive. This, in my opinion, is vital in order to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders and provide the highest level of education possible.
At the Business School we proudly boast that most of our lecturers hold doctorates in a diverse range of specialist areas as well as having first-hand experience of working in business, which not many business schools or private training companies can claim.
I have been lucky enough to read the theses of our lecturers and have seen the level of commitment they have given to working within companies and organisations to feed their research. Our lecturers have delved into examining career progression in the police force right through to researching how the hospitality industry is responding to economic change.
Students at the Business School benefit from our lecturers’ high level of business acumen and experience, backed by academic rigour. These lecturers offer the balance of significant business experience combined with academic credibility, which, in our opinion, is educational dynamite.
So, when it comes to practicing what we preach and “walking the walk”, we can hold our heads up high, safe in the knowledge that we have equipped our students well, with the skills and understanding to excel in the “real world”.
Jackie Mathers is Dean of York St John Business School