We welcomed back two alumni today as we celebrated with, and said goodbye to, students from Liverpool Screen School, the School of Law, Liverpool School of Art and Design and the Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies.
We also had the pleasure of conferring Honorary Fellowships on two of our successful graduates.
In the morning ceremony TV presenter and journalist Alex Brooker was recognised for his personal commitment and dedication to redefining the presence of disability.
In a humorous, entertaining acceptance speech Alex told graduands:
“All of you will have learnt skills here for later life. You can achieve guys – cheers!”
During the afternoon Mark Lawler, Managing Director of Baltic Creative CIC, also became an Honorary Fellow in recognition of the instrumental role he has played in the revival of the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool.
Mark spoke of how privileged and humbled he felt to be recognised by LJMU and offered the Class of 2019 two pieces of advice for their careers: be consistent, and be persistent.
Simon Brooman has been a Senior Lecturer in Law for 27 years. Today he received his well-earned PhD which is based on five of his publications.
Simon shared his research with us:
"These articles document the innovations I made to the Law degree at LJMU over 12 years in order to improve student retentions and performance. The original findings in these publications formed the basis of my PhD such as the discovery that self-awareness literature and diary-keeping can help students in their transition to university. Other discoveries included findings that: reflective practice has intrinsic value in higher education regardless of whether students become ‘good’ reflectors; the importance of a long transition process rather than a traditional induction process and; the benefits of student voice and participatory action research for legal and other higher education disciplines.
"A key element that ties together the research is communication with students in order to improve curricula. My greatest motivation is that students should enjoy the experience of higher education and appreciate its value as it helps them to become better learners. These publications have contributed to ongoing conversations in under-researched areas such as student voice and undergraduate reflective practice. They build upon a personal conviction that the task of providing forward-thinking curricula applies to law teachers in the same way as it does to all educators in higher education.
"Above all, my PhD is aimed at encouraging all academics, including those in law, to undertake research in collaboration with students, to ensure that the curriculum we deliver to them is fit for the purpose of higher education in allowing students to gain a better appreciation of themselves as autonomous learners in control of their own destiny."
Today saw the graduation of two students who undertook paid internships within LJMU Corporate Communications and Stakeholder Relations this year, as well as a Course Rep from JMSU.
Lucy Billington spent several months on an internship as Alumni Engagement Assistant. She graduated this morning with a Bachelor of Law with Honours.
Lucy chose the LLB at LJMU as she wanted to combine academic study with practical learning and says she developed practical skills which are essential in the legal profession.
Asked about the best part of her LJMU experience, her answer was, “definitely the incredible extra-curricular opportunities available”. Lucy went on to explain, “In my first year, I was one of twenty lucky students who had the opportunity to intern in Shanghai for two months – developing cultural awareness is so important in the modern workplace and I urge anyone who has the opportunity to study/work abroad to go for it; step outside your comfort zone and be brave! Keen to spend the summer abroad again, I decided to participate in the Erasmus+ scheme in my second year. I developed an interest on the subject of human trafficking following an elective module which examined the security and governance of EU borders. I decided I wanted to learn more about it, so I spent the summer in Malta working as a research assistant for a human trafficking NGO. I had the opportunity to work alongside participants from other EU Member States and I even got to meet the Maltese President at San Anton Palace!”
Lucy will be enjoying a study-free summer before she begins studying the Bar Professional Training Course at Manchester Metropolitan University in September and says, “without the opportunities available at LJMU, I don’t think I would have had the confidence to study the course.”
Chris Kalogritsas graduated today with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English and Creative Writing, having worked as an intern in the role of Press Office Assistant over the past few months.
He found the internship very helpful, “especially for developing my CV and allowing me to write for an online forum” and stresses that it’s good for students to “build a back-catalogue of features, press releases and gain some experience in the field”, commenting that he had been invited to attend three job interviews during the internship, “which probably wouldn’t be the case without the position”.
Course Rep Laura Quantrill graduated this afternoon with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Policing Studies; a course she chose as she had wanted to go into Law Enforcement since she was a young child.
Laura said, “when looking at degrees I was initially considering Law or Business Studies to try and keep my options open, but then I searched Policing Studies just being curious as to what would come up. When I found the course offered by LJMU I looked into it further and questioned would I rather spend three years doing a degree that I was purely going to do to keep my options open or by doing a degree that is in a sector I absolutely love and looks incredible which also, given the way the government has now made the Police a graduate entry job, would give me a greater chance in getting into a force”.
Speaking of her time as a volunteer Course Rep for JMSU, Laura says, “I loved being a course rep, I love helping people and by becoming a course rep it allowed me to ensure that the students could provide feedback and make sure that the course would continue to be enjoyable for future years”.
Currently, Laura has an application in the process for the Police as a Force Contact Officer and, subject to passing the medical examinations, is hoping to start her new role in the next few months.