Our people – Dean’s Office Team
As we commence a new academic year, let’s meet the Dean’s Office Team to find out what they do and how they work with colleagues across the School.
Who’s who? From left to right:
Chris Kiely, Academic Development Manager
Clare Kane, Deputy School Secretary
Karen Harris, Head of Quality Assurance
Tina Clark, Executive Assistant to the Dean and Community Engagement Lead
Cathy Youthed, Governance Manager
Helen Wood, Executive Assistant to the Dean
Richard Frost, School Secretary
Alex White, Data Manager
How long have the team members been at the School?
Richard: We have a full spectrum, from 18 months to over 20 years! Cathy, Clare, Alex and I initially joined the School to work in different teams, which I think gives us a helpful perspective on how other parts of the business operate.
What does the Dean’s Office team do?
Richard: Essentially, the team has two parts. Tina and Helen provide executive support to François, while the rest of the team has a regulatory and governance focus. They use their specialist knowledge and expertise to ensure the School meets the many regulatory, governance and legal requirements it needs to adhere to. We work with colleagues across the School to make them aware of the regulatory environment and ensure the School is operating accordingly.
Clare: There are many parts to this – we facilitate the School’s governance arrangements, supporting the committees that are responsible for determining the strategic direction and the academic standards of the School. We also oversee and ensure the integrity and accuracy of the many external data returns the School is required to complete, and facilitate audits with external agencies.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
Helen: When we discussed this as a team, there were two common themes – that we all enjoy the variety of our work and that we engage with so many colleagues across the business. I’ve come to understand the School really quickly in my 18 months here, as I connect with so many people through my work.
Clare: I enjoy being ‘behind the scenes’, working in support of the School rather than for a specific department or business focus. I really enjoy working with our legal advisors and commercial experts on specific projects – I learn a lot from their perspectives.
Tina: The School gave me the encouragement and freedom to develop my idea of a community engagement programme. As a result, I have this incredibly varied, unique and interesting EA role. Thanks to the support of the amazing volunteers from all corners of the School, the Community Action Group celebrated its tenth anniversary in May 2019.
Alex: I enjoy connecting the data and regulatory dots across the School. It’s like a really awkward jigsaw puzzle, where external organisations define what shape our puzzle pieces can be. Finding an efficient way to package our data into those shapes can be really satisfying (once you get over how frustrating it is in the beginning!).
Karen: I enjoy looking at what we do and how we do it, and thinking about how we could work differently to deliver different outcomes.
Working so centrally to the School’s administration, you must have some fun facts?
Alex: I’m not sure if this counts as fun but we oversee a lot of data across the School, which is something I never appreciated when I worked with one department’s data. For example, annually we have seven HESA returns, four accreditations, 12 ranking submissions, six presentations to the Board of Examiners, over 100 Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, five Governing Body meetings and much, much, more!
Cathy: You get all sorts of FOI requests. The weirdest I have had was a request for the number of exorcists the School had used across its sites that year. Reassuringly, it was zero!
Helen: I worked out that François gave over 130 speeches last academic year, speaking at everything from School Meetings to student conferences, from Alumni Reunion and R4NA to welcoming Executive Education participants. I think he shook over 1,500 hands at Congregation this year!
Who do you collaborate with across the School?
Tina: As the Dean’s diary EA I work mostly with his Senior Management Team but with my Community Action Group hat on I connect with just about everybody! That’s been a bonus of volunteering – I’ve built up relationships across the School I may not have done otherwise.
Helen: My role is to manage François’ speeches and communications, so it’s a big list! My workload follows the School calendar, so recently I have been working with the programme offices on François’ welcome speeches at Orientation.
Cathy: The FOI and Health and Safety remits mean that I work with colleagues right across the organisation, gathering data and ensuring comfort at work. I support the Senior Management Team and work closely with Advancement to build relationships with our donors and governors.
Clare: I work closely with my colleagues on Management Committee and I chair the Health & Safety Committee and co-chair the Data Leads Working Group with Alex.
Karen and Chris: We mainly work with Degree Education, particularly the Programme Offices and Assessment Team.
Alex: Everyone and anyone! The world is becoming more interested in data. Ensuring the governance, integrity and accuracy of that data is becoming increasingly important as people want and rely on more every year.