Meet Saad Qureshi FAUA, Dean | SAE Institute UK | Career Stories

Saad Qureshi FAUA
Dean | Directorate of Academic and Student Services (DASS)
SAE Institute UK 


In my role, I am responsible for…a number of activities in the UK at SAE Institute, the world’s largest creative media education provider. I have institutional priorities to achieve a high quality student experience, deliver challenging and exciting two year accelerated degrees, develop new programmes, maintain the highest level of quality and meet regulatory requirements such as HESA and others. I’m responsible for strategic projects and enjoy making large scale impact.

My typical day…starts with a read of Wonkhe’s weekly morning briefing! It’s a great way to stay in touch with policy in the sector, as my role requires a lot more in depth understanding than before. I’ll already start planning my day from the moment I wake up and jot key tasks on my notes app. My phone is my life saver; I can check my calenda, and respond to important emails. You should have a work life balance though! But I give it my all during the week.

I chose to be an AUA member because…it is THE organisation which represents administrators and leaders in HE. Originally it was the AUA mailing group that enticed me, the opportunity to learn from best practice and others. Now it’s the great opportunities such as being given the chance to be a member of the Board of Studies responsible for the flagship PgCert, and also successfully joining the AUA Short Life Working Group reviewing AUA’s values. These are valuable experiences.

I would recommend colleagues to become an Accredited Member or Fellow of the AUA. I’ve written about how to write a reflective statement on my blog: www.thirdspacehe.com.

The best part of my role is… just being a Dean! I worked really hard to get to this position and people often ask how I became one of the youngest Deans in the country. I’m the only Dean at SAE in the UK and, given that my role is institutional, I am more like a vice principal for education. I’m learning so much and it will really enhance my career prospects. I learn as much as I can as quick as I can; that’s my motto. Every interaction is a learning opportunity. Being true about my own areas for development has also helped me. I’ve developed an inspirational and consultative leadership style as well as seeking out opportunities at faculty and institutional level such as sitting on working groups.

Interestingly, to get here, I took a step down in my career to become an Education Manager at King’s College London. It was still a crucial role but was less pay. I would strongly recommend others to consider this career move.

I also love the international dimension to my role. As SAE is global, with 57 campuses in 20 plus countries across 6 regions, I interact with my peers overseas. I’m responsible for harmonising the delivery of validated degree courses in 4 regions which is a significant undertaking! So I learn about transnational education. I recently travelled to Sydney for a week to meet colleagues and develop new ways to improve learning and teaching.

My back-up career would be…either a lawyer, recording artist, or charity worker! I love the law and the etiquette of the court and was about to pursue my law conversion course but enrolled on a PhD instead! I handled a few legal cases internally at my previous institution.

By night I perform! I’ve been making music since a young teen and have never shaken the passion. I record mostly for hobby now but have amassed around 100 songs. A few on YouTube.. a private channel.. sorry to disappoint!

I started working when I was 13 in a charity and gained so much from it. I’m a qualified youth worker and mentor and still volunteer so it’s not a back-up per se. I like to give back and have worked with ex-offenders. It’s a mutually rewarding experience.

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