Campus Questionnaire: Happy with a plateful of challenges

November 25, 2005

Name: Karl Donert

Age: Older than I look - I hope. Job: Director of development; I manage international projects and teach, research and publish. I am a National Teaching Fellow.

Salary: Much less than I should be getting.

Background: I am a geographer with a scientific background. I took my first degree at what is now Coventry University. I then studied at Imperial College London under Sir Colin Buchanan. I graduated in a year of public-service cuts so I went into school teaching. I moved to Liverpool Hope University 11 years ago.

Working hours and conditions: Teaching and research has to be fitted around the enormous range of things I do, including recruitment, enterprise and co-ordinating Socrates programmes, European Union funding and bids and fundraising.

Number of students you teach/staff you work with: I lead one undergraduate course with about 60 students and supervise postgraduate dissertations. I work with a small team setting up the university development office and also co-ordinate the research and administration of a large European geography thematic network.

Biggest challenge this year: A line manager who didn't respect me, my work or achievements.

How you solved it: After getting union support I complained to the management and moved to another area.

Worst moment in university life: Following a secondment, not being allowed to continue working in the geography department.

What is your working space like? I share a comfortable office near my geography colleagues, with excellent views across the beautiful campus.

What university facilities do you use? The refectory, the snack bar and the library, plus online resources.

Do you socialise with people at the university? I try to but there seems little time for this. I work and socialise with some wonderful geographers across Europe as part of my Socrates thematic network.

Who are the most difficult people you deal with and how do you cope with them? Those who promise the earth and then don't deliver. I try not to lower my expectations.

Best excuse for bad behaviour: "...but everyone does it!"

Do you interact much with other parts of the university? I have worked with most departments. I am project managing the implementation of a university-wide contact database.

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