Vice Principal, Professor Jenni Bolton – internationally renowned researcher and educator retires

Professor Jenni Bolton retires this month as Vice Principal (Postgraduate Studies and Research) of the University College which she joined in 1983.

Jenni gained her PhD from Southampton University in 1975 and her MA (Research and Development in Higher Education) from University College London in 2000. After three years as a Post-Doctoral Research and Teaching Fellow at first Harvard Medical School in Boston and then the University of Southampton, she lived for four years in New Zealand where she worked as a Scientific Officer at Princess Margaret Hospital, Christchurch.

It was in 1991 that Jenni joined AECC University College (the then Anglo-European College of Chiropractic) on a full-time basis as Senior Lecturer. With her involvement and contributions expanding quickly over the years, she was promoted to Director of Research and Postgraduate Studies in 2001 and to Vice-Principal in 2012. Jenni was the first in the European chiropractic community to be awarded the title of Professor in 2001.

Jenni was instrumental in the development of postgraduate educational provision at AECC University College which included the Advanced Professional Practice MSc degrees, the innovative Postgraduate Certificate for new chiropractic graduates, and in 2008 postgraduate education and training in diagnostic ultrasound.

Jenni held a great number of external appointments, which included the Presidency of the European Council on Chiropractic Education (2002-2009) during which she was responsible for a major review and publication of the Educational Standards against which the quality of chiropractic education and training delivered at European and South African educational providers are assessed and judged. She also worked closely together with The Royal College of Chiropractors, particularly in the early stages of the Royal College’s development. Jenni has positions on the editorial boards of a number of professional and scientific journals and holds Honorary Fellowships from The Royal College of Chiropractic, the British Chiropractic Association and she is a Founding Fellow of the European Academy of Chiropractic.

Dr Dave Newell, Director of Research at AECC University College said: “From my early encounters with Jenni way back when I first joined the then ‘College’ in 1988, we initiated and maintained a 25 year habit of intense interest in research within the profession. Jenni has been both a mentor, trusted colleague and over the years has become a close friend whose impact on myself and many other individuals interested in engaging with research and intellectual exploration has been lasting and career changing. Her original research culminating in the development and validation of the Bournemouth Questionnaire (BQ) a multi-item outcome measure and one of the first to explicitly acknowledge the biopsychosocial model of musculoskeletal pain has been translated into many languages and is routinely used to collect data in practices all over the world. But probably most people’s lasting memories will be her personal influence on their thinking and intellectual development through multiple supervisions at undergraduate projects and postgraduate Masters and PhD level. In this she will have polished individuals’ thought processes, enabled their careers and multiplied the opportunities afforded to them by the study they undertook under her guidance. Her impact on the chiropractic research community then is deep, historically unique and profound. Jenni was one of few who first pushed those small boats out toward the far larger horizons that contemporary chiropractic researchers now search and explore. Pioneer is a big word and its use should be limited to those truly worthy of such a title and in Jenni’s case it is the very most appropriate description of her influence.”

Dr Budgie Hussain, Head of School of Medical Ultrasound said: “I had the privilege to work with Jenni in the development of the Master’s programme in medical ultrasound and a number of short courses leading to validation by Bournemouth University in 2007 and accreditation by CASE (Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education) in 2008. The success of the Centre of Ultrasound Studies (CUS) and now the School of Medical Ultrasound (SMU), can be attributed to Jenni’s unwavering commitment to diversify postgraduate education and training at the AECC. Her vision became a reality in 2008 with our first intake of healthcare professionals from many disciplines, such as midwives, sports physicians, rheumatologists, GPs and chiropractors.  Jenni can look back with pride of her contributions to the success of the SMU as a leading provider of musculoskeletal ultrasound education and training.”

Professor Haymo Thiel, Principal, said: “Jenni has helped and contributed to steering the University College through the many changes that have transformed it into the excellent learning and working environment it is today. I thank her hugely for her efforts linked to us being granted Degree Awarding Powers and University College Title, her daily work and support at executive level, and for her unwavering dedication to making the institution an open and forward-thinking higher education establishment. Her contributions impacted in so many ways, both at individual student and at profession-wide levels, nationally and internationally. Her legacy will live on for many years to come.”

On her retirement Professor Bolton remarked: “AECC University College has been a massive and hugely important part of my life for over 30 years. As you can imagine, I have witnessed enormous change over this period, worked with interesting and varied colleagues, many of whom have become close friends. I have also come into contact with many, many students, and it has been a pleasure and a privilege to teach them and support them in gaining their qualifications.  Throughout my time at AECC University College I have been given many opportunities to make a difference to the organisation for which I am very grateful. These opportunities have allowed me to interact with the chiropractic profession nationally and internationally, and although I am not a chiropractor I have always been treated by the profession with warmth and respect. I hope to be able to contribute to both AECC University College and the profession in the future in some small ways in my new role as Professor Emeritus, conferred by the Principal on my retirement-thank you Haymo. All that remains is for me to wish AECC University College and the chiropractic profession every success in the future.”

All of us at AECC University College wish Jenni well in her retirement, and thank her greatly for her contribution over the years.