A mature student who combined his Stirling studies with a full-time job has graduated with distinction.
In achieving his Postgraduate Diploma in Housing Studies Doug Webster has gained new skills, while drawing on his own knowledge and the strengths of his work organisation.
The 37-year-old works as a Resources Officer in the Asset and Investment Team at Falkirk Council’s Property Services, which has more than 16,000 homes on its books.
Supported by his employers, Doug was motivated to gain an industry-recognised qualification, saying: “I wanted to complement and enhance my understanding of housing to the betterment of myself and my organisation.
“I wanted to challenge my abilities and explore areas which I had limited experience in. The Postgraduate Diploma offers those of us working in this profession the opportunity to advance our knowledge and skills.”
The wide-ranging Diploma covers topics from sustainability to law. It marked a return to his former University for Doug, who is from Stirling and graduated in 2001 with a BA Honours in Sociology and Social Policy.
Doug, who has dyslexia, was keen to explore opportunities at Stirling where the course format included weekly online tutorials and on-campus sessions at the start of units.
“As I am dyslexic I had to be careful in deciding the best course and place for me to study. I was impressed after meeting Professor of Housing Studies, Isobel Anderson, at the Open Day to discuss the course materials, the learning outcomes and my learning needs.
“After a positive meeting with the Disability Service advisors to discuss the technological and financial support I would need to achieve the success I hoped for, I just knew it was the right time and place to begin a new chapter in my life.”
Highlights over the two-year course have included meeting and sharing business and working practices with colleagues from all over the country, and using online learning materials and resources available at the University.
He said: “We learnt new ways to understand the complex housing industry and the many factors which govern the decisions we make and policies we implement.”
Doug’s believes his lecturers gave him faith in his own abilities, and the key to unlock his academic potential.
Coupled with his drive and determination, Doug’s achievements included being asked to mentor new first year students and receiving the Chartered Institute of Housing Partnership Prize and Best in Cohort Prizes for Year 1, and Year 2 Students. His work has also helped contribute towards a new MSc module.
Dr Vikki McCall, Lecturer in Social Policy (Housing), and Doug’s personal tutor, said: “Doug has been one of our star students on the Housing Studies programme and as well as graduating with a Distinction he has been awarded three prizes in relation to his outstanding work on the programme. His attention to detail and enthusiasm for learning has made a positive impact on both his teachers and fellow students.”