Having reported on the Vice-Chancellor's 30 previous departmental visits, as the team who organise the schedule, it was now our turn.
We ran through a familiar range of emotions. Initial nervousness at the glare of the spotlight evaporated as we saw the opportunity to talk directly with the Vice-Chancellor about what we do and to celebrate our achievements.
We have a wide range of expertise from market research to event management, so our aim was for as many of our colleagues as possible to talk to Dame Glynis. Our preparations shifted up a gear as the date approached: Gail Gillespie took charge of ensuring our work was on display. Laura, Wessex House Floor 4’s dedicated cleaner, had the place looking spotless.
Tim Kaner started proceedings with a snapshot of recent successes across the Department and plans to support the new Strategy.
First up were Imaging, Design & Print Services (IDPS) who in addition to managing the print unit, produce everything from exhibition stands to leaflets.
Louise Scattergood introduced Dame Glynis to the team who talked about planning for Open Day and, in between demonstrating - with the Vice-Chancellor’s help - book binding and the image library, described how they ensure they deliver 99.9% of 2 million items a year on time.
A major focus of our work is to help attract the highest calibre students, so CRM Officer Graham Hackney described how the tools newly developed by the Applicant CRM project team will enhance our communications with potential students and provide valuable insight to support recruitment. Marketing Officer Maree Perkins then outlined plans for the Departmental Open Days which were taking place the following Saturday.
Reflecting the importance of raising the profile of our academic research, Andy Dunne, Research Marketing Manager, spoke about the upsurge in authorship and readership of articles supplied by our academics for The Conversation and the Press team - Alison Jones, Vicky Just and Rob Breckon – explained how they work with external media to generate international coverage of the University’s activities.
The focus of the Public Engagement Unit is to support the academic community to engage others with their research. Helen Featherstone, joint Head, and Ed Stevens, Public Engagement Officer, discussed embedding this approach within the UG curriculum using the ‘Communicating Physics’ module.
Our Digital team then showcased their work to modernise the University’s website and make it more mobile-friendly. Richard Prowse, Head of Content, and Phil Wilson, Technical Architect, invited Dame Glynis to launch an upgrade to the website. Having been reassured that the website would still work, she was entertained by the enthusiastic roar from the diminutive Dragon of Deployment which greets every improvement delivered by the team. With advice from Miao He, Dame Glynis then posted an item on the University’s sina weibo page.
As we all regrouped for cake - to Dame Glynis’ delight ringed with Flakes - she said: “It has been fascinating to see the range of what you do. It is essential to do this and to do it well. Thank you, I don’t know where we’d be without you.”
We packed a lot in, but the chance to discuss our work directly with the Vice-Chancellor was something each of us valued, and hope you get to on your visit.