In profile with… Christina Cunliffe, Dean of BPP University School of Health and Principal of McTimoney College of Chiropractic
Name: Professor Christina Cunliffe
Job title: Dean of BPP University School of Health. Also Principal of McTimoney College of Chiropractic
Study Centre: Abingdon (Oxfordshire)
What is your education background (i.e. where did you go to university etc.)?
BSc (Hons) and PhD from Manchester University
Diploma in Chiropractic from the McTimoney College of Chiropractic
What is your professional background?
After gaining my BSc and PhD from the University of Manchester, I first worked as a research scientist with Rank Hovis McDougall, before moving into the scientific, technical and medical (STM) information industry, becoming the Editor of a number of biomedical journals. My interest in emerging electronic media led me into publishing, where I became Publishing Director of an international, intergovernmental, publishing company responsible for producing one of the first scientific CD-ROM database products in the world. In a change of direction due to a blossoming interest in health, I then decided to qualify as a chiropractor.
As a Chartered Biologist, I am a Fellow of the Institute of Biology and a Fellow of the Royal College of Chiropractors (and until recently was an officer on its council). I also sit on the regulatory body for chiropractic, the General Chiropractic Council (like the GMC), and am a member of its Education Committee.
A well published researcher, I also lecture at a number of other universities and medical schools and I was awarded a personal chair from the University of Wales in July 2010.
Alongside all my academic work, I am also a practising chiropractor, and run a six room multidisciplinary clinic near Oxford.
How do you think this experience has assisted your teaching at BPP University?
What it has done is given me real life experiences which I can then bring into the classroom when I am teaching my students. Clearly, my knowledge of chiropractic is directly relevant, but also my knowledge and experience of the world of business including how to set up and run a multidisciplinary clinic, is invaluable.
If you could give one piece of advice to your students for their future careers, what would it be?
Nothing worth achieving comes easily, so you need to commit to your studies and see yourself as a professional in training throughout your studies. What you learn will fit you for practice, but your attitude and professional behaviour are the essential foundations of a successful career.
If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why?
I have travelled all my life and already seen much of the world, but a place I never tire of returning to is India, where I was brought up. Because I was there for my formative years, I regard it as my second home.
Have you been motivated by an influential figure, if so, who?
It was a choice between Mother Teresa and Neil Armstrong who both made an impression on me in different ways.
I met Mother Teresa when I went with my mother to visit the poor in the villages around Calcutta, which opened my eyes at a very early age to the importance of social responsibility and the moral imperative to give back to society if you succeed.
I listened on the radio to Neil Armstrong landing on the moon while camping under a clear night sky, and that experience influenced me to realise that we can do anything if we set our minds to it. He motivated me to aim for the stars, and as a result, I actually applied to be the first Briton in Space!