April Member Spotlight | Katie Allan
The April member spotlight is on Katie Allan, Faculty Education Officer at the University of Bristol and Network Coordinator for the AUA’s Departmental Administrators Themed Network.
Why do you do it?
I have been a member of the AUA for more years that I care to admit publicly, but it was only when I became a Network Co-ordinator in 2015 that I really began to engage much more proactively with the range of opportunities offered by the AUA.
I’ve learnt so much through my engagement with the AUA and through the guidance and support I’ve received over the years from colleagues at other universities. I’ve also met many inspiring colleagues along the way who are helping play a leading role in a sector experiencing rapid and unpredictable change over recent years.
What has been the best bit so far?
A highlight for me was planning and organising a one-day network conference for the Departmental Administrators Network which took place in Edinburgh in November 2017. It was a real challenge and such a rewarding experience to be able to bring together almost 100 colleagues from across the UK to hear some exceptional speakers. The keynote lecture was provided by John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and the country’s education secretary, whom I invited to speak with little expectation that he would be able to do so, and it was such a great feeling when he accepted the invitation and was then very generous with his time on the day.
More recently I gave a paper at the AUA Autumn Conference held in November in London and this was the first time that I had delivered a session at an AUA event without a co-presenter. The Royal Society was an amazing venue, but the most rewarding part of the experience was the opportunity to speak to delegates following my paper about their own experiences and career challenges.
Would you recommend the role?
I have no hesitation in recommending the role of Network Co-ordinator. It provides a huge range of opportunities to engage with the sector in ways to suit you and your circumstances. I have benefitted enormously from the increased confidence that comes with opportunities to stretch yourself and step outside of your comfort zone and to meet and be inspired by colleagues from other universities. My experiences have taught me the value of networking and learning from others, and I have also been able to use these experiences to support and develop colleagues at my home institution.