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Debbie Wisby

As an employee of UCLan I have seen the organisation grow over the 16 years I have worked in the organisation. I have also studied as a part-time student whilst working in clinical practice, married and supporting two young children. My first degree was a BSc (Hons) Professional Studies (Reproductive Health) and later completed a master’s degree in Health Services Management at UCLan.

From 2007 to 2014 I completed a Doctor of Education at Manchester Metropolitan University and UCLan supported me financially, paying paid 50% of my tuition fees. In my final write up year I was was granted two, six week periods of sabbatical leave to work on my final thesis. This period of time out during 2013 was extremely helpful and supportive. It enabled me to submit my thesis in January 2014, ahead of my final submission in March 2014. My thesis focused on the professional identity of sexual health nurses during organisational change. The nature of facilitating effective change and the change management process is a strong personal interest of mine, which complemented my research and supported my academic expertise in sexual health and midwifery practice.

A key aspect of my success and professional development was informal mentoring by a fellow colleague who I succeeded into her role as a Course Leader, when she gained academic promotion into a Principal Lecturer position. She was initially my dissertation supervisor many years before whilst studying for my first degree and then I become an academic colleague as I took up employment at UCLan in 2001. She really wanted me to succeed and we were located in adjacent offices, so the physical proximity allowed me to use her as a sounding board to share my ideas and concerns, in a way that was extremely supportive, collaborative and she was a fantastic listener.

I had been in a Senior Lecturer post for a long time and have during that time had a variety of interesting role with lots of opportunities for professional development. I was keen to progress my academic career and I did apply for a number of Principal Lecturer posts in my own organisation. Even though I was considered appointable the elusive promotion never seemed to be within my grasp and I was deflated and frustrated at my apparent lack of progress. My Executive Dean, supported my nomination for UCLan Women’s Future Proof programme and I was one of several women across the University on similar grades who were successful in gaining a place on the course. This was a fantastic course which was ILM accredited and ran from January to July 2013.  The course gave me the confidence to network with other women leaders and senior staff across the university and to meet business leaders external to the organisation. In October 2014 I was successfully appointed to Principal Lecturer and Lead Midwife for Education in the speciality of Midwifery, Neonatal and Sexual Health until December 2015. Following retirement of the current post holder and with support of that colleague and Director of Academic Development, I was encouraged during my appraisal to apply for the role of Director of Business Development, which to my amazement was successful and I took up post in January 2016.