Summary: Oliver studied a PGDip in Applied and Professional Ethics, completed in 2012.
What is your current role?
I am currently a Policy and Project Manager for NHS England.
What is your professional/academic background?
I originally graduated in English & Sociology at Leeds University in 2004, before completing an MA in Twentieth Century Literature (again at Leeds) in 2006. After spending some time in customer banking (mainly as a credit counsellor) and in public sector audit, I re-joined the University of Leeds as a member of staff in July 2008, working as a Governance & Corporate Affairs Officer. My chief responsibilities in this role involved servicing two key governing committees of the University and investigating & resolving formal student complaints. I later became a School Manager for the university.
Why did you choose this course?
In my job, I frequently find that I'm called upon to make judgement calls having had to weigh a set of competing claims or arguments. This course, I think, will train me in helping me to think more clearly about these types of issues, and will - I hope - enable me to come to more decisive conclusions in this regard and defend them well. I'm also inherently interested in the subject matter. I enjoy the fact that in Philosophy there are no "easy" answers, and that it deals with fundamental questions which affect everyone.
What was the best thing about the programme?
The fact that it balanced intellectual rigour with a teaching-style that was accessible, and the chance to interact with fellow students from a wide variety of backgrounds, who were based in several countries. As someone with no prior experience in philosophy, it was good to enrol on a course that was both wide in scope while also remaining cohesive in its aims; it drew on both ancient philosophy and contemporary theories of management, for instance, and I liked the fact that neither was emphasised more than the other.
Has the programme had an impact on your professional development?
The programme has given me a much broader perspective than I might have had otherwise on what it means in practice to manage (or lead) in an ethical and responsible manner, and I was able to draw on these insights as a School Manager at the University of Leeds. More generally, the process of contributing to discussion online and the need to keep initial answers brief! has helped me to summarise complex discussions (for example in formal Minutes) much more succinctly and concisely, and this was a positive development picked up on by colleagues and managers.