Lecturers at Staffs share their stories and their greatest achievements to date. #ProudToBeBlack
Thanks to Geeta Lal for collating these stories.
Fine Art lecturer
I initially trained as a Textile Designer, graduating from Birmingham City University in 2002. I spent the years following my degree working as a costume maker and in various other roles in the fashion and textiles industries. However, in 2003 I went to work for an artist in Japan and this experience changed the course of my career by guiding me towards sculpture.
I have worked as an artist since my return from Japan and in 2007 I completed my MA in Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. My art practice has allowed me to exhibit across the world, in countries such as USA, France, Finland, The Netherlands and China – as well as throughout the UK. My work combines sculpture, installation, performance and photography, and centres on themes such as thresholds, boundaries and domains. I am particularly interested in who owns particular spaces and the status of the interloper.
In addition to my art practice I am also on the Board of Trustees at Z-Arts, a theatre and arts centre in the Hulme area of Manchester. Z-arts is dedicated to providing world class arts experiences for children and families in the North West of England. Having two young children myself, I am passionate about how the arts can transform the lives of young people and expand expectations.
One of my roles on this board is to ensure the organisation’s leadership, staff and programming reflect the diversity of its audience and to ensure the provision is welcoming and accessible to all.
As a lecturer I have taught at various institutions across the UK, but also at the Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts, China and Clermont-Ferrand School of Fine Arts, France. I joined Staffordshire University in 2012 and teach on BA Fine Art and I am now Course Leader for Art & Design Foundation. The thing I love most about teaching is opening up new possibilities in art and design to students and guiding them onto the right pathway for them.
Dr Tolu Olarewaju
Lecturer (TEF) of Economics, Staffordshire Business School
I have had careers in Entrepreneurship, Banking, Art and Education.
Prior to graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Economics, I ran my own successful technology business and continued to run it after graduating.
Upon graduation, I joined Zenith Bank Plc and won awards for 1st place in assessments and most outstanding team player during the orientation program. I left Zenith Bank in 2009 to pursue my MSc studies in International Economics at the University of Birmingham where I was also a student representative and founding society president of the University of Birmingham Hip hop society.
I obtained my PhD in Economics from Aston University in 2016 where I served as a Sessional Lecturer and Research Assistant, and in several capacities to enhance the student learning experience within the Students Union. I was also the founding society president of the Aston University Hip hop society during my studies at Aston University.
In 2015, my Hip-hop musical group “Versatyl & Pilgrim” got signed to Birmingham’s New Street records. My artistic alter egos are called Pilgrim and Dictum.
I joined Staffordshire University in 2016 and was awarded a Teaching Excellence Fellowship in 2018 in recognition of my contributions to teaching and learning.
In 2018, I obtained my Acting for Beginners Certificate from The Birmingham Theatre School.
My scholarly interests and contributions are in the field of entrepreneurship, international business, business economics, corruption, finance, social and general economics. I am also interested poverty reduction. I have presented at the top conferences in my field and published in these fields.
I continue to make music and art when I’m off work. I have performed across the UK, but my favorite was during the open art surgery at The Birmingham Hippodrome. I also Bboy (breakdance).
BSc (Hons) PgCE, PgCRM, FETC, MRSB, MIMI(Zim), FEBS.
Lecturer of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, School of Life Sciences and Education
Prior to studying Biomedical Science, I was an automotive design engineer. I lectured in engineering in further education (college) and managed contracts for the MOD. Outside the UK, I was the national secretary of the Institute of Motor Industry, a role I held for 5 years.
In 2009 I enrolled for the Biomedical Science degree at Staffordshire University and I qualified with a BSc (Hons) Applied Biomedical Science which came with an HCPC registration for practice as a biomedical scientist. My final year project was a microbiology study on the antimicrobial properties of ash as a potential hand-washing agent. During my undergraduate years, I was involved in STEM ambassadorial programmes and I taught mathematics in high school as part of the teaching associate program.
After my bachelor’s degree, I enrolled for a PgCE in Mathematics at Keele University. I focused on special education and I have continued with special education both in formal and informal educational settings. Alongside teaching and special education, I have also attained role specific qualifications in mentoring and tutoring for university students with personalised learning agreements.
I am currently studying for a PhD in cell and molecular Biology at Staffordshire University. My research interests are in the elucidation of the structure function relationship of dietary plant flavonoids on adipogenesis. Alongside my PhD studies, I teach Biology and Biomedical Science modules across all the levels in the department.
My passion is in exploring different learning approaches by diverse ethnic groups. A colleague and I are currently investigating the retention and attainments gap of BAME students compared to their Caucasian peers. We are especially interested in attributes such as institutional culture; role models; inclusive curriculum content, design and delivery; sense of belonging; prior attainment; information, advice and guidance; financial considerations and preparedness as contributing factors leading to attainment differentials. We hope our study will chart a way to meet the holistic needs of the BAME student.
As a lecturer at Staffordshire University, I have received many nominations by students and staff. These include: Lecturer I would get out of bed for award, Distance Learning Excellence Award, Best feedback Award, Student Experience Award and Connected Communities Stories Award. Most of these got short listed and in 2018 I received the Student Experience Award. I was also shortlisted for the staff People’s Choice Award.
Lecturer of Law, School of Law Policing & Forensics
In 2011, I completed my undergraduate law degree at the University of Buea (Cameroon).
In 2012, I was awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Under the sponsorship of the Chevening scholarship, I completed a Masters in International Criminal and Human Rights Law with a distinction at Bangor Law School, Bangor University (Wales).
In 2014, I was awarded the Beacon of Enlightenment Scholarship by the University of Adelaide (Australia) to undertake a PhD in Law. I completed my PhD at the Adelaide law School in 2017 and joined Staffordshire University shortly after.
In terms of research, I published several peer-reviewed articles in the areas of international human rights law and transitional justice. Also, I am a International Criminal Law Case Reporter for Oxford University Press and has published over 8 case law reports in analysing decisions of various international criminal law tribunals including the ICC, ICTY, ICTR and STL. My current research examines the impact of the UN Human Rights Council in Africa. My research focuses on issues including, Human Rights Implementation, UN Human Rights Bodies, African Human Rights system, International criminal law and Transitional Justice.
Within my first 2 years at Staffordshire University, I led a group of law students who successfully competed in International Criminal Court Moot Competition. This team of Law students emerged the 2nd best UK team and qualified to represent England at the competition in The Hague.
I was honoured to have won the best newcomer award at the last celebrating staffs event.
This article is part of our Black History Month Game Changer. Join the discussion on social media using #ProudToBeBlack and #WeAreStaffs.