Faculty of Engineering & Design staff

Sharing experience and best practice across the Faculty of Engineering & Design

Posts By: Emma Greeley

Seven questions with Andy Matthews

  

📥  Celebrating success, Staff experiences, Staff insight, Top tips

Last month I chatted to Andy Matthews who is a Senior Technician in the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering. Andy is responsible for the Undergraduate teaching labs, managing the risk assessment and practical needs of students undertaking project work. He’s also responsible for access and security in 2 East. I asked Andy seven questions relating (mostly) to his work here at Bath. Here they are, together with his response:


1. What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?

"I really enjoy working with young people who are at such an optimistic stage of their lives and who don’t see any limits to their horizons.  It’s great being in that environment every day". 

Andy Matthews in the Electrical Engineering lab

Andy Matthews in the Electrical Engineering lab

2. How do you prepare for a typical working week?

"I make a list and try to prioritise the items. I can’t plan too far in advance because issues can arise at the last minute, and I may need to adapt my list according to demand.

I always have a big breakfast!"

3. What are your tips for effective leadership?

"I try to understand the different strengths of each team member. I work with this and organise tasks in accordance with their strengths and comfort zones."

4. How do you resolve difficult moments at work?

"I’m always mindful of University policies, but flexibility is also important. If a student makes a non-standard request relating to project work I always try to adapt our services to meet their requirements - unless there is a health and safety issue. We can never compromise on health and safety."

5. What is the most useful piece of advice you have ever been given?

"Two pieces of advice spring to mind:

  • To value your friendships – which I try to do! 
  • To always have some sort of plan and never simply hope for the best."

6. Who or what inspires you and why?

"Students inspire me. The enthusiasm they have for their project work motivates me to try my best for them, and I never feel I don’t want to come to work. I usually finish each week with a real sense of achievement."

7. If you didn’t do this job, what would prefer to be doing?

"I’ve always been interested in aviation, and a job flying light aircraft for an aid agency or something similar would be a great alternative."

Thanks Andy!

 

 

MSc student induction: improving the experience

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📥  New initiative, Top tips

Our previous MSc induction events had taken the form of a one morning introduction to the Faculty with lunch, followed by a team building exercise during the afternoon. This year we decided to increase the number of presentations and include a social event to enhance the student experience. As a result our timetable expanded to accommodate three mornings, two afternoons and one evening.

We took our new students on a guided walk into and around Bath followed by a buffet supper. We wanted the students to have an opportunity to visit the City, ask questions from members of staff and get to know each other, in a relaxed and informal setting. We devised a treasure hunt around campus covering key areas of the University and got our students to post photos of themselves on our Facebook group.

Looking forward to next year

We plan to hold focus groups as an opportunity to reflect on the student experience. In the meantime, initial feedback both verbal and in the form of a survey indicated a very positive student experience.

3 key bits of advice for others planning induction activities

  1. Advanced planning and communication. We booked the venue for the three morning sessions when prompted by Timetabling. This was six months in advance of the event. Key speakers were invited at the same time and we kept them informed (reminded them of their commitment…) during the run up to the event.
  2. Steal ideas from colleagues and ask for their help. People are surprisingly generous with ideas and time.
  3. Never underestimate the lure of free food. We booked a restaurant for 120 people and every seat was taken.