Meet Rachel Dodd | AUA Career Stories


Rachel Dodd MAUA
Head of Professional Development

We are delighted to announce that Rachel joined us in the AUA office on 1 April 2019, as our new Head of Professional Development.

How long have you worked in HE and what was your first position?
Nearly 20 years (ouch!) and I started as an Assistant Alumni Development Officer at the University of Newcastle.

 What three words best describe the AUA?
Relevant, open and connected

What advice do you have for prospective AUA members?
Get involved! There is something for everyone and, if you want to see something new, let us know and we can make it happen together.

What do you value most about working in HE?
The possibilities to influence change, even in the current environment of challenge and change. This can be on an individual level as well as a much grander scale, and the importance of making an impact on someone’s career or a student’s experience and their future opportunities should never be under-estimated. I value greatly the people I’ve met during my HE career, and the influence and impact they’ve had on me.

If you could do another HE job for a day, what would it be?
An early career academic lecturer to experience the sector from their perspective.

What do you think is the most overused phrase in HE?
“Engagement” as it’s used without real meaning attached to it. What do we mean when we ask colleagues and teams to “engage”? “Reaching out” is another one…have we stopped simply talking to one another?

What does professionalism mean to you?
Someone once told me it’s doing the right thing even when no-one’s watching, and I’d agree with that definition.

 What can’t you start your day without?
A big mug of tea and my bullet journal. I am a new convert to this way of organising ideas and plans, and I love it!

 What work accomplishment are you the proudest of?
I have worked with numerous students over the years and seeing them through their academic and student journey right up to graduation, having their achievements recognised, is brilliant. Supporting colleagues, particularly those early on in their careers, to realise their potential has also been hugely satisfying.

What is your personal philosophy?
I’d have to borrow from Glinda the Good Witch in “The Wizard of Oz”….”you always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn for yourself”. I firmly believe we have all our capabilities within and they sometimes need a nudge to get them out there. As a runner, the mantra “deal with the mile you’re in” is just as applicable to a tough day at work as it is to a long run!

Where is your favourite place to be?
Outside, preferably by the coast. If there’s sunshine too then so much the better.

What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?
The power and reach of the internet, particularly social media, is undeniable although I do wonder if something has been lost as a result.

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
Don’t listen to the careers advice you’ll get in sixth form and do it anyway….I was meant to be the next Kate Adie!

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