Mike Wray, 36
Job advertised, THES, January 17 2003
APU, National Coodinator
The National Disability Team was seeking an additional coordinator to support its expanded remit in getting universities to better understand their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act, Part 4.
Director Mike Adams said that given the "esoteric nature of the role", the field of candidates was small, but those shortlisted had strong transferable skills: experience of project management and policy development; knowledge of disability in higher education; and an ability to persuade institutions of its importance.
"The role required a move from 'poacher' to 'gamekeeper'," he said. "The most daunting experience would be talking to senior managers."
Appointee Mike Wray had previously managed a disability project based in Manchester's four universities. "I now oversee 23 of the 54 projects in England and one in Northern Ireland, so my level of responsibility has increased considerably," he said.
"I'm still based in Manchester, but the projects are in the Southwest, Southeast, East Midlands and London, so I travel a lot."
Having the confidence to deal with senior managers and being well prepared were his biggest challenges when going into institutions, Wray said.
"The NDT works on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and so people can be wary of you. Our main aim, though, is to offer advice and support to disability project managers and staff.
"The projects are split into two strands - 31 projects are at small or specialist institutions, such as drama, dance, arts colleges, and 24 projects focus on improving teaching and learning for disabled students."