From learning at Harper Adams herself to teaching degrees to up and coming undergraduates, Sue Jeavons knows best about the Harper Advantage and how a degree that matters can inspire you to help others achieve the same results.
As a Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Health and Welfare, Sue specialises in the health, welfare and ethics of companion animals with a particular interest in rabbit welfare, health and breeding. This passion was formed while studying at Harper Adams, undertaking the BSc (Hons) Animal Health and Welfare degree pathway.
Sue said: “I grew up on a beef suckler farm in Shropshire and was a member of YFC. I was late coming to university; I took a couple of years out of education to find out what I wanted to do career wise.
“I still didn’t know when I came to Harper so I applied for a course which would allow me to explore my options. I’m glad I did as it gave me the time and knowledge to make an informed decision and I have never looked back! I wanted to come to Harper because it had an excellent reputation and all of the people who I knew who had been to Harper had secured very good jobs immediately after graduation.”
While Sue had initially considered one of the more agriculturally focused animal science courses due to her farming background, she had a change of heart and decided to opt for a broader application of animal studies.
“This course gave me more options as we covered nutrition, epidemiology, companion animal health and welfare, zoo philosophy and farm animal health and welfare,” Sue explained. “As I progressed through my degree I was then able to select the pathway I wished to follow, which turned out to be companion animals.
“I’m glad I changed onto BSc (Hons) Animal Health and Welfare. You can tell that the course caters for numerous pathways as my fellow graduates are all in very different, but excellent careers!
“In the UK animal welfare legislation is, in my opinion, the best in the world. It is very exciting to see changes in legislation which aim to improve the welfare of companion animals right across the industry.”
Reflecting on her undergraduate experience, Sue named her placement year as the ‘absolute highlight’ of her degree. She shared: “I completed my placement year at the Companion Animal house at Harper Adams.
“I only applied because I had never worked with any companion animal species. I had grown up on my dad’s beef suckler farm and my grandad’s dairy farm so, essentially, I wanted to add another string to my bow.
“The experience completely changed the direction of my interests. I was given the opportunity to assist with tutorial groups and summer schools and found I also had a passion for teaching.”
Sue continued: “The other highlight has to be the staff at Harper Adams. Everyone from lecturer, cleaner, porter, and estates were friendly and approachable which gives the campus a real family, village feel.
“And finally the rural location! Coming from a rural background I knew I wouldn’t cope in a city university, so this really swayed my choice. After visiting on an open day I knew Harper was the place for me.”
Following her graduation, Sue returned to the family farm for the summer while hunting for graduate roles. Securing a job at a further education college as a teaching assistant and learning support assistant, Sue learnt a great deal and developed her flair for teaching.
Shortly after, Sue’s dream job became available: working as the Companion Animal House Manager and as a Teaching Assistant in Companion Animal Management at Harper Adams. Sue said: “I applied and the rest, as they say, is history!
“I started at Harper Adams University in 2008. I managed the Companion Animal House for 11 years. While doing so, I completed my PgCe in teaching and learning in HE in 2010.
“Following this, in 2012, I became placement manager for animals courses, which I did for 7 years. In 2013 I applied for a lecturing post, and was over the moon when I got the job! In 2018 I became a senior lecturer, which is the job title I am most proud of.
“In the same year, I decided upon a change and stepped down as placement manager and applied for the role of Chair of Academic Misconduct and Deputy Chair of Quality Standards committee for the university.”
In her role as senior lecturer, Sue is most passionate about her students. “I think I speak for most lecturers when I say that the reason we do our job is for them! Watching them grow from fresh faced freshers to graduates is the most rewarding feeling. Listening to their views, opinions and passion is inspiring and it's wonderful to know that they will go out into the world after graduating and make a difference in the animal industry, whatever that animal may be.”
For those interested in pursuing a degree with Harper Adams, Sue gave her advice: “At Harper we have friendly and supportive staff, who I know from both sides of the fence, go above and beyond to support their students. The beautiful location, the diverse range of courses, the placement year and the excellent graduate opportunities are great reasons to join us.”
To speak to Sue about animal health courses at Harper Adams, you can get in touch here.