Rebecca Smith - Lecturer in Veterinary Professional Development (Harper and Keele Veterinary School)


Posted: 03/04/2023


36-40k (starting salary for full time)


Some travel between Harper and Keele campus.


support, creativity, personal growth


WFH available, time required at Harper & Keele

Essential Skills

- Veterinary degree
- Teaching experience
- Communication and presentation

Rebecca Smith

Check out our Career Q & A questions below to take a deep dive into this career path.  If you’re interested in this type of career but unsure how to take the next step, click below to learn more about our services designed to support you.

After graduating as a veterinary surgeon I worked full time in small animal clinical practice. Developing and honing my clinical skills in my first job, completing a medicine certificate in my second job and eventually taking on a senior position as the lead veterinary surgeon. This provided maternity cover for the clinical director and gave me insight into this role.

Then the COVID pandemic shook the world and made leading a clinical team that little more challenging. I was part way through my covering role and had started to explore what my career would look like after this. Did I want to be a clinical director? The profession felt like it had reached a crisis point and I realised I really wanted to be part of the solution. I knew I enjoyed mentoring and coaching the new graduate students, but found I was often unable to give it the space I felt it deserved in practice. I had a huge passion for education and spent time volunteering for BSAVA. So I started looking for roles in academia.

I found and applied for a clinical teaching fellow role at The Harper and Keele Veterinary School. Following interview I was offered a position and within the first few weeks I knew I had made the right move. I was part of a team who shared my passion for learning, education and supporting the next generation. The role was part time and I maintained my clinical role for the rest of the working week.

Whilst working as a clinical teaching fellow I obtained a teaching qualification and was encouraged to follow my interests, contributing to developing teaching material as well as facilitating delivery.

The curriculum at Harper Keele embraces and champions the importance of professional skills which hugely aligned with my personal values and interests… so when the role of lecturer in veterinary professional development was posted I was bursting with excitement.

Except… I had just gone on maternity leave to have my little boy. After giving myself a talking-to and putting my big girl pants on (quite literally) I applied anyway. The opportunity was too perfect for me to take myself out the race.

  • Veterinary degree

  • Teaching experience

  • Teaching qualification (can be done on the job)

The best bit is being part of a great team with a shared vision and common goal.
It is hard work and very busy especially being a new course with a constantly growing and evolving team. I’d say you need to be flexible, adaptable and accepting of change.

  • Planning and developing teaching material
  • Design and development of the curriculum
  • Responding to student queries
  • Liaising with colleagues to ensure smooth delivery of course components
  • Grading/ providing feedback to students.

Someone who is organised, thorough and enjoys teaching or supporting others.

You have so many transferable skills as a vet and can often undersell your skills and experience. Most of the barriers are in your own head. I interviewed for this post at a few weeks post-partum. I found caffeine, extremely big nickers and a very willing nanny helped me overcome that one.

  • Get involved in mentoring and supporting junior members of the clinical team, look for opportunities to develop teaching material (owner talks, in house training etc)
  • Consider further relevant qualifications
  • If you aren’t already then start looking at entry level positions in academia

Go for it!
Stop getting in your own way.

Handshake between two people against a white brick wall.

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