Annie has worked in HE student support since 2004 when she held a graduate internship at the University of Sheffield. She started at the University of Brighton in late 2005, first as a Project Officer where she developed Student Services’ marketing strategy, and then as the Student Equality and Diversity Adviser. This involved developing the institution’s response to the Equality Act (2010) as well as a number of bespoke projects improving access for particular student groups.
Annie is motivated in her work from having seen how university support can have a lifelong impact in determining a student’s personal and career trajectory. At its worst, the support journey can feel bureaucratic, pedantic and can undermine a student’s personal confidence and academic progression. When it’s done right, students feel empowered to explore their academic discipline, to demonstrate their abilities without prejudice or external limitation, and to build their intellectual and social capital. She has been working as a Disability Support Services Manager (DSSM) at the University of Brighton since 2013 and she has seen a lot of changes to the service. These have included local changes such as the digitisation of our paper systems, revised team structures, developments in Inclusive Practice and our current switch to the use of Accessibility Manager to manage the Learning Support Plan process. It has also included national changes like the Quality Assurance Framework for NMH (who were a pilot institution for audit in 2016) and, more recently, seeing how the service has adapted to the Covid-19 restrictions.
She enjoys thinking strategically to improve systems and processes that impact the disabled student experience and to reduce student hesitancy in accessing appropriate and timely support. She often uses the NADP network to benchmark her team with good practice in the sector, or to generate and sense-check new ideas. Annie holds an MBA in General Management as well as a BA (Hons) in French and English. She would describe herself as coming from a policy, project and service management perspective. She really enjoys coordinating a team of specialists, each very knowledgeable about their discipline, to provide a polished service for students. As well as staff/volunteer management experience, she also has skills in events and project management, marketing/communications, web development, budget management and staff training. She also sits on her university’s ‘Cause for Concern’ safeguarding panel.