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Professor John Buckley has over 30 years of experience working in the 'real world' of exercise, health and rehabilitation. He has travelled the world teaching, lecturing and sharing his research. He has presented and helped develop international guidelines recognised by the World Heart Federation, The World Health Organisation and the International Olympic Committee.

What does your typical day consist of?

I briskly walk two miles to work and two miles home every day unless I need the car after work to go play club and county level tennis. My work is split into three key elements, 45% teaching undergrads and postgrads, 45% research and 10% collaborating with other universities and external national and international agencies on exercise in health, medicine and rehabilitation. Our postgrad research students have some really interesting projects at the moment, from helping to enhance wheelchair exercise machines, assessing heart & circulation therapy devices, to exercise in people with cystic fibrosis, vascular disease, cancer and a physiotherapist working with children in Africa who have cerebral palsy. Our latest project is to evaluate the effects on the heart of older men participating in a Trans-Atlantic rowing challenge.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Teaching students about finding ways to translate knowledge and theory into everyday practice. It’s taken me about 25 years to work out better ways to achieve this but when I see students then pick it up and run with it - where the 'light-bulb' turns on - there is an instant sense of mutual achievement. This is further augmented by being able to work with students on collaborative research projects that translate into improving how practitioners can care for and help improve people’s lives through increased physical activity.

What has been your proudest moment whilst working at the university?

Many say seeing our first Shrewsbury students graduate in September 2018, but the cherry on top of this cake was when those same students messaged to me say they’d got a job at a top Exercise & Health Clinic/Centre in London and Manchester, and that they had to compete against hundreds of other applicants.

Do you have any exciting upcoming projects?

The current dream on the drawing board is the creation of the UCS Centre for Active Living. It already has some elements in place but the bigger picture includes an integrated team of practitioners, researchers, educators and health promotion specialists working from a single centre. The outputs will be real client and patient services that provide an active learning lab for students and researchers, and which makes a notable difference to the health and well-being of the people of Shrewsbury & Shropshire.

What is the best thing about the course?

Bringing the classroom and lab theory to life by integrating it with nationally recognised exercise qualifications and 300 hours of practical placements that the students have working with real clients and patients.

What might people not know about you?

That my wife puts me to shame every day in terms of commitment – she is a MacMillan Cancer Nurse, which reminds me every day of how lucky I am to have the jobs I have had in my lifetime and how precious life is.

What is the best piece of advice that you could give to a student?

It’s not just about what you study or what your grades are. It’s what you do with your experiences of being a student. Whatever you do, there are always ways to use this experience to make other people’s lives better through your efforts; focus on this and you will never need to worry about being valued. In the 21 years of running a business, I eventually realised my job was to support, enthuse and inspire others to do their best in their work – simply pursuing personal success can be fraught with disappointment both with yourself and others. Follow Albert Einstein’s other famous theory, which states: focus on your goals, aims and doing a good job of what is currently in front of you, not behind you or somewhere in the future; do this and you will never have to worry about feeling successful; success is something for other people to worry about.

What makes University Centre Shrewsbury unique?

UCS is made up of a group of pioneering staff with a collective ambition to do the best possible job for the students. By focusing on this job, the goal is that one day we will have helped create something which truly enhances the social, cultural and intellectual capital of this beautiful county of Shropshire.


Follow the Active Living team on twitter to get a feel for what they do on the course. If you'd like to learn more about studying Health and Exercise Science at UCS, why not come along to our upcoming Open Evening? You can book your place here

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