Dr Amanda Dowd has helped to drive a huge expansion of WMG’s Masters programme at home and abroad.
Dr Dowd, who has been at Warwick since 1983, is Academic Director of Graduate Studies for the group.
When she arrived she was among a handful of people based in the School of Engineering and her remit was to use her electronic and computing background to support a new MSc in IT for Manufacture.
Since then the programme has mushroomed to the extent that there are now 1,200 WMG Masters students studying one of 10 different MSc courses. Four hundred of these are full-time, compared with just 30 in the early days.
Dr Dowd is now responsible for academic quality issues relating to the full-time and part-time postgraduate and post-experience courses – the latter for people already working in industry.
She also has operational responsibility for the collaborative overseas programme, which started in Hong Kong in 1990 and now covers other areas of China, Malaysia, Thailand, India, South Africa and, most recently, Singapore and North Cyprus.
Previous experience of both academia and industry has underpinned Dr Dowd’s role. She was educated at King's High School for Girls in Warwick and completed a BSc in Engineering and a PhD at Leicester University, then remaining at Leicester as a research demonstrator.
She spent four years at Leicester-based Rank Taylor Hobson, as an electronics design engineer and then as a software development engineer, before moving to Philips Business Systems in Cambridge.
Her initial role at Warwick was as a teaching fellow but she quickly gained a lectureship and has held her current post since 1995.
“For me, the industrial side has put a context to the theory,” says Dr Dowd. “I was never in manufacturing – I came in through design and special projects in a R&D function. However, having projects to do, decisions to make, and responsibilities to customers gave me a better appreciation of what I knew.”
Dr Dowd believes WMG is a leading player because of the flexibility and modular nature of the Masters programme. Ten titles are now on offer, including the traditional Engineering Business Management course and newer ones such as Electronic Business Management, Supply Engineering and Logistics and Programme and Project Management.
“A lot of the value here lies in the variety. A traditional university module might be delivered by one person but ours can be delivered by a number of people, which adds interest for the participants.
“We also have to seek out new markets and look at offering different methods such as internet learning.”
Dr Dowd acts as the main interface between WMG and the university on academic matters. She is secretary to WMG’s Masters Exam Boards and sits on Warwick’s Board of Graduate Studies and the Collaborative Flexible & Distributed Learning Sub-Committee and is chair of the Science Faculty Graduate Studies Committee.
She is also an active member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), having served on its Council and other committees, is currently a Trustee for IET Connect (the IET Benevolent Fund) and is an honorary fellow of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.