Room with a (distracting) view

September 28, 2007

Name : Hugh Jones

Age: 39

Job: Registrar and secretary, Goldsmiths, University of London

Salary: Yes

What's your practical training/education? BSc (Econ) in Philosophy, LSE; MA Higher and Professional Education, Institute of Education; fellow of the Association of University Administrators. Three previous universities, a stint in local government, and life as well.

What are your working hours? About 50 hours a week, I guess, plus reading/ e mail/writing time in the evenings and at weekends.

What's your department like? Big. My current remit covers all of the support services within Goldsmiths, which is about 300 people, covering everything from alumni to widening participation.

What is your office like? I have a panoramic view of the green field at the back of the college, which can be really distracting. My office has more chairs than you can shake a stick at and an antique meeting table which expands and contracts using a winding handle.

What's your biggest challenge this year? Mine is a new post, leading a unified administration. There are high expectations within the college about the benefits that a unified service will bring, and I have a shrewd idea that people are looking to me on this one.

And how will you meet that challenge? With a little help from my friends and colleagues. There are lots of talented people in the administration at Goldsmiths who are really keen to make a success of our new structure, and I need to make sure that I don't stand in their way. Also, I'm told I have a winning smile, so I plan to smile at people.

What's the worst moment of your university career? When I realised, at a previous institution, that I'd forgotten to apply for additional student numbers for years two and three of a degree programme. I occasionally have nightmares about this one.

Do you socialise with people at work? I firmly believe that lunch is about much more than refuelling.

Best excuse you've heard for bad behaviour: I've had someone try to blame the crisis in capital for their failure to get a committee paper to me in time...

Who are the most difficult people you deal with? The ones whose minds I can't read.

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