Case study Mark Magas – Lecturer in higher education
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Many people find their way to becoming a learning professional through the most unexpected circumstances and opportunities. Mark turned his boyhood passion into a career that took him places he never thought possible. Education to employment For as long has he can remember Mark has always had a great interest in science. It was the one subject at school that he thought he could make a difference with. But what was it about science that brought him this determination to succeed? The answer came when he was completing his A-levels. It was people – he got great satisfaction from helping people (these being his friends at the time) understand the complexities of science.
Armed with this purpose he found a job working part time in a local pharmacy. While he was gaining hands on experience he completed his degree, which led to a full time role as a registered pharmacist. He thought he’d found everything he was looking for, but when he got there something wasn’t right. He knew that pharmacology was for him, but somehow the challenge he’d been looking for was missing.
Finding her field It was while Mark was working at Boots pharmacy he came across an advertisement for a secondment role as a Resource Development Manager “I was so excited by this opportunity I couldn’t wait to get started.” The role involved travelling all over the north of England, delivering training sessions to pre-registration pharmacists and to large groups of students. When the secondment finished he didn’t return to his role at Boots; instead he went back into education and completed some additional qualifications. These qualifications allowed him to go straight into teaching chemistry at a variety of secondary schools. It was at this time he applied for the position of Senior Lecturer of Pharmacology at the University of Cumbria. When the day of the interview came he didn’t think he had a chance of getting it. “There were so many more qualified people there than me. There were doctors and even a professor had flown in from Europe for the job.”
More for Mark, more for his learners He did it. He got the job. Later he found out it was partly due to the delivery skills he’d obtained whilst working at Boots that had made him stand out. “I’ve always tried to explain what is a very difficult and complicated subject, in a way so that anybody can grasp the concept – and that was what appealed to the university.”
One of the things Mark loves most about his role is how varied the tasks can be,
“I don’t just teach prescribing students, but nurse practitioners, non medical prescribers, podiatrists, radiographers and physios, because everyone who provides a form of healthcare has to understand the effects drugs can have prior to diagnosis.” It’s not just teaching Mark is involved with, he is also a lead on the impact that innovative technologies can have on the health industry. Mark has pioneered the development of e-learning courses for distance learners and is constantly involved in various research projects, the most recent of these looking at new drug treatments for diabetes. We asked Mark what advice he could give to anyone considering a career as a lecturer, and he simply said,
“Think before you start – make sure you choose the right type of teaching for you.”
“I’ve always tried to explain what is a very difficult and complicated subject, in a way so that anybody can grasp the concept – and that was what appealed to the university.” The information provided in this case study is not prescriptive or indicative of how to become a learning professional. For details on how to become a learning professional, please see the factsheet found on our website below. RW04/10/CS037
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