Alison Wakefield

Professor of Criminology and Security Studies

The University of West London, a university that is leaping up the league tables, particularly for student satisfaction, places a priority on career-focused learning, with a commitment to widening participation and social mobility at the heart of its values.

My role consists of teaching, research, consultancy and academic leadership in my areas of interest, which centre on the many dimensions of security including national security, corporate security and cyber security.

Making a difference, and being able to interact with a wide range of people with shared interests on a daily basis: students, university colleagues, practitioners, policy-makers, media organisations and politicians. Teaching is especially rewarding and a two-way process - I also learn from my students.

Each day is a mix of academic leadership, course management, teaching - lectures, seminars and one-to-one tutorials - research and external engagement. I also develop research/consultancy bids, undertake research and consultancy, and am very involved in my professional community, serving on a number of boards and special interest groups.

I studied criminology through to PhD level, working as a research assistant for 2 years prior to my PhD. It's incredible that I got so far as I was not fully engaged at school, but I found my passion. I have been an active volunteer in my professional communities all through my life, starting from becoming a police cadet at 16, and this always raised my profile and opened doors. People see your work or can recommend you, and you can speak knowledgeably about subjects that interest you as well as demonstrating that you are proactive and self-motivated.

What motivates me is building my knowledge in existing and new areas of interest, and being able to make a positive difference to individuals, organisations and wider society. I have built a strong public profile over many years, and external invitations and requests to contribute to something often lead me in interesting directions I had not necessarily thought about before.

My work blurs into fun when I undertake voluntary roles or attend learning/networking events in my spare time. To switch off from work completely, I enjoy running, yoga, shooting (targets not animals) and electronic dance music.

"It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission" (Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, US Navy, 1966). What she meant was that, if you have a good idea that will make a positive difference, you should do the *right* thing even if other people do not yet realise it is the right thing to do.