With the festive season fast approaching and having just reached the two-year mark in post, my initial thoughts, like many I expect, were where the time has gone? Having allowed myself a little time to reflect upon the past couple of years, it struck me just how eventful and stimulating a period it has been.
This past year in particular has seen significant change following the implementation of the new faculty strategy at the end of the summer in 2018; particularly within Faculty Professional Services (PS). This saw us embark on a transformation programme, with the principal aim of delivering professional service excellence through a new structure.
As well as responding to the needs of the students and academic colleagues at the faculty, this functional structure promotes the sharing of cross-university best practice, allows us to be clearer about service expectations and, crucially, enables improved training and development opportunities. It also identifies clearer career progression pathways, which had been flagged as an area of key importance to our PS colleagues. This exercise has not been without its challenges and I am grateful for the patience and support received throughout this process and remain confident in the improved services that this new structure will deliver as it begins to firmly embed.
To complement the development of coherent and responsive PS teams, we have also redeveloped aspects of the physical environment to better support the student journey, including the redevelopment of the Academic Centre on the 18th Floor of the Guy’s Tower, which was completed in September 2019. This space now brings together the majority of Education-focussed PS staff into one large open and welcoming space to provide a single and comprehensive point of reference for students.
Continuing on an estates theme, a crucial factor in the success of the faculty is its ability to attract and retain outstanding staff. With numbers increasing, we have also recently completed the refurbishment of the former distance learning and host microbiome spaces to provide 50 desks in a light, spacious and modern open-plan environment, fit for a leading university in the 21st Century (and, arguably, with the most enviable views of the London cityscape!)
Finally, on a personal note, I am very grateful for the cooperation, support and enthusiasm I have received since joining this faculty. I am especially proud to work amongst such outstanding colleagues –academic, professional services and of course those in our partner NHS Trusts. Genuine thanks for your help this year in making it as successful as it has been.
I wish you all a very enjoyable and restful break and look forward to the year ahead, which promises to be just as exciting!
Ms Joanne Kirner
Faculty Operating Officer
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