Twenty years is a long time to wait to realise your dream. After completing his Master of Arts two decades ago, Brett Levine has worked as an independent curator and part-time lecturer in Art History at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, USA. He’s written and edited publications about visual arts and contemporary culture, and realises that for his career to move forward, higher education is highly valued.
“I recognised that higher qualifications are necessary for my profession. As an adjunct lecturer at university, being enrolled in the PhD program means that my qualifications are viewed at a higher level,” he says.
Being based in the United States, one would question why he chose to study with a university that is so far away. With the tyranny of distance, it’s admirable that he anticipates submitting his PhD in 2017. “I chose JCU as they offer an incredible approach to external learning. Their capacity to provide resources and support for distance learning seems unsurpassed. My advising, and my access to resources, has been exceptional,” he says.
Studying externally no doubt has its challenges. It can feel particularly isolating to be a research student, especially one studying overseas. Brett acknowledges the support of his supervisors and staff at JCU as being key to his successes. “I found my advisors to be exceptional practitioners in their field, and to be accessible and knowledgeable in helping me achieve my learning goals. They’ve made strong efforts to help me engage as part of the research community.”
Alongside the support of the staff at JCU, the access to additional learning resources, library and computing services has contributed to making his research journey an enjoyable one. “I really value the additional programs created to make opportunities to share ideas and build skills. In addition, it’s extremely easy to access the library and computing services.”
Brett has a keen interest for continual learning and believes in the value of self-development. This is evident in his passion for his research and drive to make the most of on-going professional development.
“Being able to return to university to study has been one of the highlights of my career. I believe JCU’s ability to make this possible has contributed immeasurably to my ongoing professional development and increased opportunities,” says Brett.
“The best advice I would give future students is to apply. JCU seeks motivated candidates, then works with them to create individual learning opportunities. As an external student, I could not feel more positive about how the University structured my learning program or about how inclusive JCU is regarding creating true opportunities to achieve.”