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Many leading universities now include sports-related programmes in their offering
CASE STUDY CRAIG TWIST
What is your current role?
My role is senior lecturer in Exercise Physiology at the University of Chester.
How long have you worked in academia?
Ten years (three years in further education and seven in HE)
ties which deliver sports and leisure management qualifi cations. These institu- tions are, however, supported by colleges such as ours that deliver degree qualifi ca- tions for leisure management which possible have a slightly stronger, vocational, more practical bases. “We marry the vocational with the
academic on a much more practical basis. In a college, the degree qualifi cations tend to be related more closely to the professional requirements of the awarding bodies and the professional bodies.” As an example of these links, Edwards
describes the links that the college has formed with the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management (ISRM). Many of the courses, including the Level 4 and 5 higher professional diplomas (HPD) in sport and recreation management are endorsed by the ISRM. What more, when candidates achieve the qualifi cation, they are able to become members of ISRM. “ISRM also does some joint delivery with us on the HPD”,
she adds. “We also attend ISRM-organised conferences and have a
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What did you study and where, prior to becoming a lecturer?
I studied for a BA (Hons) in Physical Education and an MSc in Sport Science at Leeds Metropolitan University and then stud- ied for my PhD part-time, which was from the University of Exeter.
Describe your typical day.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as a typi- cal day. I’m normally in between 7.45 and 8 am. Thereafter, depending on the time of year it can be a mixture of teaching, student appointments, research-related work (i.e. writing papers, dealing with PhD students’ work), consultancy-related work (i.e. I co- ordinate and manage several applied sport science support projects the department are involved in), administration and/or mark- ing. I think the variety within the job is one of the things that I really like.
How much research do you conduct/get involved with?
Research is a really important part of the job in terms of informing my own teaching and applied practice, so I see it as very important to get involved with research as much as possible. While I don’t do as much hands on data collection at the moment, I’m obviously still involved in research via my own PhD students, while we also look to publish high quality dissertations from undergraduate and postgraduate (MSc) students where possible. Finally, some of the consultancy that the department does requires applied research to inform the work we do, so wherever I can I like to get involved in that either in terms of data collection or writing up.
Given the chance, would you spend more time teaching (lecturing) or researching?
While the natural response might be researching, the reality is that teaching is the ‘bread and butter’ of most Higher Education institutions offering sport and exercise science-related programmes. Therefore, if graduates are looking to come into lecturing as a career, you need to
look to develop both attributes. I enjoy immensely delivering to students, be it lectures, seminars or laboratory-related ses- sions. Likewise, involvement in research informs my teaching in so many ways, which I think is very important. So in answer to your question, I enjoy a good balance of both.
Have you had any of your work published?
My PhD focused on the effects of exercise- induced muscle damage on exercise per- formance, from which I published all of the empirical studies in various peer-reviewed journals. I’ve continued to publish in the area either through collaborations with oth- ers academics or my own students. My other interest is in the applied physiology of rugby league, where we’re currently investigating the movement and physiological demands of both training and competition and the subse- quent impact on player recovery.
What are your personal career ambitions?
I know that the management route of academia is not for me, so I haven’t got any desires to follow that path in the immediate future. I suppose my ambition is to continue developing my research interests within the sport of rugby league with a view to this work eventually informing applied practice within the sport. I’d also like to continue developing different ways of educating and engaging students in sport and exercise sci- ence in an attempt to make them more pre- pared for work beyond academic study.
What would your advice be for graduates looking to secure their first job in academia?
Apart from the obvious of demonstrating a hard work ethic, the ability to deliver and engage students, there a few things that I feel are important. While many of us have specific teaching and research interests, you need to demonstrate to potential employ- ers an ability and willingness to be able to contribute across a broad range of topics and sometimes areas. Also demonstrate a willingness to continue (or develop) your own research-related activity. This not only is important in informing your teaching, but with markers such as the REF2013, universi- ties will want to employ individuals who show potential to enhance the institution's research profile.
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