Letters from a former Dean: Advice for students on navigating their studies to a successful career

Emeritus Professor Trevor Heath

"Trevor’s advice to me as a young student in a rapidly changing world was delivered in a clear and friendly manner along with an obvious depth of experience, knowledge and empathy. That advice has resonated with me over the years and guided my decisions at key points in my own career. I commend this book to students of today — and tomorrow. "
Professor Nigel Perkins, Head of School and Dean, School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland.

Trevor Heath has spent more than 60 years as a student, teacher, supervisor, mentor, researcher, and Dean at 8 universities across Australia and the US. His passion for helping students led to this inspiring, helpful and unique book. Written in the form of letters, Trevor sets out practical and thoughtful tips to help young students make the transition to higher study, then navigate successfully through their studies and onto the workforce.

Trevor describes the letters as ‘grist for the cerebral mill’ — providing a basis for reflection and consideration. They are guided by the principle that a small amount of help at a critical point in a young person’s life can have an effect out of proportion to the time and effort involved. Encouraging oneself to work towards a solution that works for them, to develop the wit and the will to solve problems, helps you to achieve objectives in your studies, profession and life.

The letters are arranged in a time-based sequence, starting with entering university and ending in the workplace and beyond, although there are some detours relevant to life in general. The letters can be read however in any sequence and readers are encouraged to dip into the book at any point, without having read previous letters.

This book is an invaluable addition to the library of any student starting out in higher education as well as those who have already entered their career paths.

About the Author

Emeritus Professor Trevor Heath is a graduate of the University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science who has gained national and international distinction for his work in animal health research and education. Professor Heath completed his PhD in 1964 at the Australian National University followed by two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco and a Lectureship at the University of Melbourne. After a period at Michigan State University as a Fellow in Medical Education, Professor Heath was appointed Professor and Dean of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland, a position he held from 1973 until 1980. Professor Heath was appointed an Emeritus Professor of the University of Queensland in 1999 and served as an academic consultant to Kings College from 1999-2019. Apart from his scientific contributions, what has marked Professor Heath’s career is his mentorship of veterinary students and young veterinary graduates who have gone on to make outstanding contributions to animal health in Australia and internationally. His passion and commitment to undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary students has led to an impressive body of work in veterinary education that stretches over 30 years and has made a distinguished contribution to veterinary science. He set up the world’s first longitudinal study of veterinary students, seeking information on their background, opinions and aspirations in 1985 and 1986. At intervals of 5 years, Professor Heath has resurveyed this cohort and this research has provided unique insights into career longevity and change in the veterinary profession.