I am responsible for the learning, teaching, quality and student experience in our Business School, where I lead on curriculum development, employer engagement and our employability strategy.
I also oversee the quality of our provision and ensure our students are having an outstanding student experience. I manage our Faculty Office (student administration), our Student Engagement Team, and the directors responsible for learning and teaching, and quality. Although I have a management role, I also supervise students for their projects and lead a first-year module on ‘Food and Drink Tourism and Events’.
I also have a number of University-level roles which include co-chairing some of our staff inclusivity networks (Black, Minority and Ethic, and also the Women’s Network). I am also chair of ARU’s Inclusivity Champions’ Action Network which champions inclusive practice across the entire university. It used to be called the Disability Working Group and I am proud to say that this group helped introduce a wide range of inclusive practices including new document templates, mentoring schemes, and new processes.
Every day is different which is what I love about my job. From working with our international partners, to designing new courses, to liaising with employers, to introducing new projects and challenging traditional ways of doing things. I work closely with students which is why I came into the university sector in the first place. One example of this is co-chairing our Student Advisory Board where students come together to discuss faculty strategy, recommend new initiatives and work in partnership with the senior team to drive forward positive change across our University. Another example is working with students who are on our award-winning Intern Scheme - the pride I feel when I see students overcoming confidence issues, securing competitive placements and working together is often overwhelming.
My role contributes to the success of students because I am a passionate educator, who believes in providing opportunities for all by utilising innovative and inspirational approaches to enhance learning through meaningful collaborative partnerships with students.
I have seen our student performance improve dramatically year on year, and the employability initiatives my team have put in place (new modules, new conferences, intern schemes, and mentoring) have helped our students secure professional jobs and careers. I am driven by a commitment to provide inclusive, active and participatory learning for all and work with students, for students.
In my role, I am always seeking to engage, enthuse and inspire others and have been fortunate to have a team which shares this vision and commitment. My role at ARU has allowed me to transform the student experience in numerous ways, these include: raising awareness of equality and diversity through innovative projects; championing curriculum development in partnership with employers and students; advancing practices in assessment and feedback; driving forward effective employability initiatives; and advancing pedagogy.
I have worked on so many great projects that I am proud of whilst being here, there are almost too many things to name! However, there are two things which have been nationally recognised which I am delighted about. Firstly, the Student Engagement Team that I lead won a Vice Chancellor’s award and a national finalist award in 2016 from the Higher Education Academy for the Intern Scheme it runs for our students (work experience, mentoring and training). The Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) recognises outstanding teams and we are all proud of this scheme and the team. It has transformed the lives of its student participants and each year I well up with pride.
Secondly, I was delighted to have been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for my work in 2017. This is a prestigious award and I owe ARU a debt of thanks for having faith in me to try new things, pilot projects and work with students to drive forward change. This award was given for what was regarded as an 'extraordinary contribution to the improvements made at a Faculty and institutional level' and for a 'highly innovative approach in teaching, with dynamic and highly effective leadership of enhancement in relation to learning and teaching and the student experience', so I am obviously very proud of that!
If I could offer one piece of advice to students, it would be that opportunities and success will always come to those with perseverance, positivity and passion.
I will always say that to stand out you must be brave enough to try and have the courage to fail, and I have been supported to do this at ARU. As a consequence of a positive-looking attitude, we have developed some of the most innovative and sector-leading initiatives which are focused on supporting, empowering and nurturing our students. Everyone at ARU works together to make a difference to society and students; this is what makes me feel #ARUProud.