Tracey Wornast is a Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for the BSc Human Development, Mind, Body and Spirit courses here at the University. Tracey graduated with a Doctorate in Education focusing on student wellbeing, and looks after Pixie the Therapy Dog (when Pixie isn’t busy looking after us!)
I’ve always been passionate about education – before becoming a lecturer, I worked as a nurse, a midwife, and a health visitor, and learning and teaching is a natural part of the healthcare profession.
School never inspired me; it was always just what somebody else wanted me to learn and I wasn’t engaged by that, but as soon as I had the chance to study what I was interested in, it made coming to learn so much easier.
I’ve studied multiple health qualifications here, from a BSc in Health Visiting to an MSc in Public Health and Health Promotion, and began teaching on the Health Visiting course as a community specialist. Later I moved into the Faculty of Education as a Senior Lecturer, and in March 2013, I began my doctorate in Education.
As a lecturer, you build relationships with students and you learn a lot about them – I’d come to realise the complexity of students needs and I wanted to explore how best to support them to ensure they are successful.
While we do have systems in place to support students, my experience is that the personal relationship between lecturers and students is integral to helping them access these systems.
My doctoral thesis focuses on understanding the factors that influence student experience and wellbeing, and how we can make these influences positive. I’m now working with departments across the university to help shape wellbeing policy and use my research to make a real-world difference.
Education is such a personal, emotional journey, and when I was studying here the lecturers used their in-depth knowledge of the curriculum to guide me to where I wanted to go – they saw me as a unique person and wanted to enable my individual educational growth.
My perspective from both sides of the journey has shown me that you don’t have to decide everything at once or do it all the same pace as everyone else.
I was told at school I wasn’t bright enough, but you can’t let anyone put you in a jar - just follow that little spark that gets you out of bed in the morning.