Welcome from the Dean

Professor Anne Murphy, Dean of School of Humanities

anne murphyHere in the School of Humanities – unlike in the rest of the University – we don’t teach obviously vocational subjects, so it’s fair to ask about the value of what we do offer.

My answer is that we are helping students to discover their passion and an idea of their future. Across the subjects we offer - English Language and Literature, Philosophy, History, Politics, Media and Languages - we will teach you how to think creatively, and how to learn.

This is a skill with lifelong value and is important in today’s world, where changing careers is very common.

I am a prime example of this. I am a historian, specialising in 18th century finance, but I used to be an investment banker. I came to university as a mature student and have covered all the roles in my nine years at Hertfordshire, from lecturer and now Dean.

Because of this I know how important it is to be adaptable and to develop skills for learning that will go with you through life.

Studying here you will be part of a supportive learning community, where we really live the University’s friendly, student-focused values. We’re also ambitious and enterprising! Many of our staff have pursued their discipline professionally – the academics teaching creative writing are writers, playwrights, novelists, even a prize-winning poet. Their passion for their professional practice is what drives their teaching.

All our courses offer work placements, such as at the British Schools Museum or spending a year at Disney World. Our graduates go on to work for companies such as Oracle and Vauxhall, to research roles in museums and in the House of Commons.

The School’s research strengths in history provide great opportunities for you to get involved in oral history projects with our local communities. Interviewing retired members of a local football club to create a recent Instant History documentary for BBC Radio 4 enhanced our students’ research skills but they also gained skills in presentation, professionalism and time management. It was a reminder of how Humanities are an important, and necessary, part of society.