Shona O'Rourke


Dr Shona O’Rourke

When did you join the RAU and what brought you here?

I joined the RAU in May 2016 and I was drawn to the University due to its small but friendly community in a beautiful part of the country.

What made you go into teaching?

I always wanted to be a lecturer in higher education.  I feel a great sense of accomplishment when a student has a “light bulb” moment and gets excited about a topic because my teaching gets them to see and understand it in a whole new way. 

What do you enjoy about it?

I really enjoy working with students every day – they offer a whole new perspective on the subjects I teach.  I also love the variety of my role.  My job offers me the opportunity to get involved in lots of different things – teaching, visiting businesses, research in the lab, attending meetings and conferences….never a dull moment!

What would be your top three tips for anyone thinking of....

  1. starting a UG/PG course?
  • Research the course well so you get a better understanding of the subjects that will be covered and how they will be taught.  

  • Attend open days where possible - it’s important to find the right course and campus for you that you will enjoy and be engaged with.

  • Speak to the programme managers - understanding the opportunities open to you after you complete your course is essential in helping you make decisions and find your future career path.

How would you describe life at the RAU/Cirencester?

Life at RAU is busy and interesting – there’s always something going on!  Cirencester is a lovely little town with plenty to see and do.  If you like the outdoors and rural life RAU/Cirencester is a great place to be.

What makes it distinctive/special?

RAU has a small but vibrant community which allows both staff and students to interact and engage with each other more than any other University I’ve worked at/attended.  

What’s your favourite spot on campus and why?

I love the tree-lined drive as you approach the University as it looks so beautiful (especially in the Autumn) and I also love the big automatic wooden double doors that lead to the courtyard as they remind me of Harry Potter!

What are your top Cirencester recommendations?

  • For great walks and activities – Cotswolds Water Park
  • For great cake – LBs at Swans Yard
  • For great coffee – Rave Coffee
  • For great food and interesting products – Cirencester Town Market