Celebrating our staff

Published on 9 August 2020

Wherever in the world the Alumni Relations team travel we always love to hear the tales of the people our alumni met at Dundee and the real sense of community that exists.

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In 2017, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, the University launched the Long Service Award Scheme.  The scheme very much embodies our core values of valuing people within a culture of celebrating success and individual achievement. 

Annual celebratory events have recognised the contribution of staff who have worked for the University for a significant period of time and have reached the key milestone of 15, 25 and 40 years of continuous service.  

We caught up with some familiar faces who have received their long service awards.

Professor Peter Mossey

an image of a man and how he looks now and in the past
“I received my 25 year long service award in 2019, but this disguises the fact that I have been associated with the University of Dundee Dental School since September 1978, as I did my undergraduate training here.”

Professor Peter Mossey , School of Dentistry

"That was back in the days when the Principal was Adam Neville and the most popular bar in town was the Old Tavern in the Hawkhill, both long gone from the campus.

I studied Dentistry in Dundee That was back in the days when the Principal was Adam Neville and the most popular bar in town was the Old Tavern in the Hawkhill, both long gone from the campus. between September 1978 and June 1983. One of the most wonderful things I have found in Dentistry is the enduring bonds that are built between classmates in the BDS course.  

My first year in University was spent investing time in activities that I remain passionate about, sport and socialising. During my student days I played rugby, soccer, squash, athletics and Shotokan karate and achieved my 1st dan black belt shortly after graduation, won a call up onto the Scotland team and competed in the 1985 European Shotokan Championships. In 1990 my childhood sport, Gaelic Football arrived on university campuses in Britain, and of course I became involved. I was involved as a player in the 1991 Championships in Sunderland, and as a coach in 1993 when the University of Dundee won the British University GAAChampionships. 

As a member of staff at Dundee Dental Hospital since 1994, I have been a teacher, clinician and researcher; and this has been a massively rewarding era in my life. Between my appointment in 1994 as Lecturer and Honorary Consultant, I progressed through Senior Lecturer (1997), Reader (2000) and Professor in 2003, and became well embedded in an excellent Dental School team. The greatest rewards in academia come from the fruits of your labours, whether that be in education or research. It is so rewarding to witness the transition from bright young school leavers to accomplished and competent health professionals with the skills and confidence to go forth and make a difference in the world. The ultimate achievement in academia is to ensure that we provide the opportunities, environment and example that nurtures achievement of full potential in every individual. Likewise, in research the great driver is innovation, whether this be via improved understanding of a biological process or discovery of a new clinical technique that results in improved treatment or overall health and well-being.  

In my role as Lecturer in Orthodontics, I have always loved teaching and I cherish every good output I see from a student, every good clinical interaction, every insightful question - these are all little successes that make the role as a teacher and mentor so rewarding and worthwhile. On the research side my clinical specialty is Orthodontics and my research expertise is in Craniofacial Development and I have been fortunate to work very closely with the three most influential global bodies in Dentistry, WHO, FDI and IADR in a hugely rewarding research career. Perhaps the ultimate reward, however is to witness those whose lives you have played some small part in through academia, becoming an expert (and some are now world-class experts) in their own right, whether that be through clinical practice, teaching or research.” 

Linda Spalding

 a person standing in front of a chair and sitting on it
“One of the most rewarding aspects of my role in DJCAD is meeting individuals at the enquiry stage, perhaps at a recruitment event, telling them about Dundee as a city, our amazing institution, helping them through the application/admissions process, subsequently welcoming them to Dundee, see them progress through their studies and then walk across the stage in Caird Hall at the Graduation ceremony. This fills me with an enormous sense of pride and honour to have been a small part of their journey. ”

Linda Spalding, Student Recruitment & Internationalisation Admin Lead, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

"In February 1994 I started work at DJCAD within the School of Design in an Admin Assistant role. This , I thought would be an ideal ‘stop gap’ between completing my studies at Dundee College (Media & Communications) and achieving my ambition at the time of studying Journalism at University of Glasgow. 

However personal and family related circumstances changed and as my role within the School was evolving my journalistic ambition decreased. I felt fortunate to be working in such a creative and vibrant environment, filled with interesting characters and lots of exciting events and activities taking place.  I very quickly realised that I could quite easily progress my career in such a fabulous place. The rest, as they say, is history! 

I would never have imagined back then that 25 years on I would still be here, still be constantly challenged and learning every day.  My role has changed many times over the years, soon after arriving at the then independent Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, there was a merger with the University of Dundee which slowly brought significant changes. I have witnessed and been part of numerous restructures as Schools transformed into Colleges and then transformed back to Schools, courses have ceased whilst new study options established.  One thing for sure is that nothing stands still, and this is one of the many things that keeps my long service interesting.  

I have been able to combine work with continuing to study, for four years undertaking Human Relations and Counselling Skills on a part-time basis as part of the University’s MA programme as well as completing numerous short courses through the University’s Talent and Development. The University certainly does advocate lifelong learning. 

My current role developing international educational partnerships and student recruitment has enabled me to travel extensively and in this recruitment role I am fortunate to work with DJCAD alumni to spread across the globe, all the wonderful things we do and achieve at DJCAD and the University.  Alumni contribution to recruitment is invaluable as there is nothing quite like a shared experience to help a prospective student and indeed their family, make an informed life impacting decision. 

I have been asked what I love about DJCAD/UoD which I find extremely difficult to summarise so I’ll list just a few: the people, the passion, the vision, the diversity, the small in size, big in stature attitude, the city, the setting, the community.” 

Professor Geoffrey Michael Gadd

a photo of the same person showing them as they look now and in their younger days
“ I was first appointed by Professor Sir William Stewart FRS in the Department of Biological Sciences in 1978, taking up a lectureship in Microbiology in 1979 which enabled me to commence my independent research career and teach a range of microbiological subject areas close to my own interests.”

Professor Geoffrey Michael Gadd, School of Life Sciences

"Several undergraduates subsequently carried out PhDs in my laboratory, and many still remain in touch. Progress through the academic ladder led to a personal chair in Microbiology in 1995, Headship of Biological Sciences in 1999, and the Boyd Baxter Chair of Biology in 2010. Over my 41+years employment there have been many changes and transitions, from chalk, through overheads to PowerPoint in teaching, dramatic technological improvements in the tools available for research and communication, and the birth of my children Katie and Richard. My time here coincided with the start of the digital age and the introduction of computers, internet and email was a development which revolutionized how we work and communicate, but now take for granted.  

The largest exercise in which I was involved was the establishment of the School of Life Sciences (SLS) in 2000 from merger of the old Departments of Biological Sciences (where I was Head), Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Anatomy and Physiology, and the subsequent founding of the Division of Plant Sciences at the James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie, and the Division of Molecular Microbiology, which I headed. After many administrative and teaching roles over 40 years plus, I am pleased now to head my own independent Geomicrobiology Group in SLS, which is concerned with the roles of microorganisms in the environment, especially regarding metal and mineral transformations, with most of my activities concerned with research.  

My PhD and postdoctoral researchers have gone on to positions in academia and industry, and several have become professors in the UK and other countries. The international nature of my research has been a source of great pleasure and over different 20 countries have been represented in my group. I have given lectures in over 20 countries and have many international friends and collaborations. The last 40 years has gone by quickly and my enthusiasm for scientific research has, if anything, increased especially with my national and international collaborations with friends in fields different to my own. I look forward to the next 40, even if my wife Julia doesn’t!” 

Valerie Dorward

an image of a woman with Dennis the menace in the background
“15 October 2020 will mark my 30th anniversary as a member of staff at the University.  When I started in my first post all these years ago, never did I think I would still be employed by the University 30 years later, nor have taken the path I did”

Valerie Dorward ,PA to the Principal & Vice-Chancellor and Office Manager, Secretariat, Academic and Corporate Governance

"My journey over the years has been interesting, exciting and challenging all at the same time but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  I started as an Office Junior in the Secretary’s Office in 1990, a post I held for six months before successfully being appointed as a Grade 2 Secretary in the Development Office (the only role I have held out of the Tower Building!)  I held this post for around 18 months when I was approached about a secondment to the Principal’s Office to cover a period of maternity leave.  And I’ve been there ever since!  I worked my way up through the grades during which time I had the privilege to support many Deputy and Vice-Principals from a variety of academic disciplines.  In 2009, I was appointed to the post of PA to the Principal & Vice-Chancellor at the same time Professor Sir Pete Downes took up the role.  I provided support to Sir Pete for ten years until he retired from his position at the end of 2018.  During this period, I also took on the role of Office Manager.  This period was by far the most challenging but rewarding.  We are currently recruiting for a new Principal & Vice-Chancellor and I very much look forward to the challenges that lie ahead. 

One of the things I have enjoyed most about being a member of staff at the University is the sense of being part of a community and the connectivity with colleagues from across the institution.   I have had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful, influential people over the years, some of whom I still keep in contact with today.  One of my most memorable acquaintances was Jacqui Wood.  I was instrumental in assisting with the launch of the Ninewells Cancer Appeal - ‘Help Denis Beat the Menace’ - in 1991.   This initiative introduced me to so many people I would otherwise not have met. 

I’ve also been fortunate to have connected with individuals externally to the University including Universities Scotland, Universities UK, the Scottish Funding Council and the Scottish Government to name a few.  A number of years ago, I was invited to join the Education Secretary PAs group (ESPA). This was a group of PAs in similar roles across the Scottish HE and FE education sector.  Not only was this a good networking and sharing best practice opportunity but it resulted in me making some lifelong friends.” 

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