Dr Fran Biley to be given posthumous Professorship from BU

Posted on Tuesday, January 29 2013

Last year Dr Francis Biley, an innovative and compassionate academic mental health nurse, very sadly died.

On 31 January 2013 he will be awarded a posthumous Professorship in Nursing by Bournemouth University, which will be received by his widow Anna in recognition of his achievement as a scholar and his trajectory towards a Chair.

Francis (Fran) Biley was born on June 13, 1958 in Swansea and initially trained as a mental health nurse (1977- 1980) then as an adult nurse (1982).

Fran was the embodiment of lifelong learning, going on to do a degree in nursing (1987), two teaching qualifications (1986 and 1992), a Master’s degree in nursing (1992) and then completed a PhD in 1995 at the University of Wales, College of Medicine. He completed his last qualification in 2008, a Postgraduate Diploma in Medical Humanities.

Fran moved from nursing practice into academia in 1991 and worked at the University of Wales (now Cardiff University) for sixteen years before moving to Bournemouth University in 2007.

Passionate about good nursing practice and care, Fran was a gifted and thoughtful academic who always had the person/ patient/ service user in the centre when teaching and undertaking research. His work as an educator was respected across the world.

He inspired many graduates who have since taken senior posts in Jordan, Brunei Darussalam, Nigeria, Greece, Switzerland and Germany among others. Fran was President of the Society of Rogerian Scholars from 2005-2008.

He was also active in the international nursing scholarship society, Sigma Theta Tau from 1994, making a significant contribution to the development of nursing as a respected academic discipline. He was appointed Adjunct Professor of Nursing at Seton Hall University, New Jersey in 2007.

In the same year, Fran’s academic interests evolved and began to focus more on novel qualitative research when he accepted a post in the Centre for Qualitative Research at Bournemouth University.

Professor Jonathan Parker, Deputy Dean for Research at BU, identifies that “Fran’s focus on reflection, the irreducibility of the individual, and the integrality of people and their environment suffused his research … and his inspirational teaching allowed the moment to unfold and learning to happen. He encouraged people to explore, to challenge and to develop.

“Fran never expected his students to follow him but to construct their own understandings and pathways to learning and practice. This made him a very special teacher and researcher, and one who will be sorely missed.”

Professor Sue Clarke, Director of the BU Department of Mental Health, described the celebration of his life that took place on November 16th as “the most beautiful and moving funeral that I have ever attended.

“I left feeling that I had a better understanding of what inspired Fran, and his sense of pride in his wonderful family. I shall never forget hearing his two sons talk lovingly about their father. And I was left with an enormous sense of our legacy as parents; when I witnessed his eldest son speak with such wisdom, compassion and humanity.”

Dr Biley died on November 3rd and is survived by his wife Anna and two sons, Mj and James.