Who got that job?

April 9, 2004

Kathy Wiles, 35

Director £35,251 - £39,958
University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Job advertised in The Times Higher , August 29 2003

Kathy Wiles came home when she got the top job at the Centre for Academic Development. For two years she had commuted from Newcastle to York, where she was e-learning adviser to the Learning and Teaching Support Network generic centre. Now it's a 15-minute journey to her office, from which she manages a team of 22.

The vacancy attracted applicants from all over the world - Australia, India, Poland and South America, according to Cathryn Harvey, head of external relations.

The unit, set up to oversee Newcastle University's teaching and learning strategy, was only a year old when its first director left.

Harvey says: "We wanted an all-rounder, a strong manager of people and of budgets, someone who could work collaboratively. A lot of our work is around student employability, skills development, community volunteering, enterprise and widening participation. For instance, we have students tutoring in local schools. The person needed to know national strategy and have a good grasp of what we were doing."

Wiles had reached a turning point. The LTSN's future was uncertain, with the launch of the higher education academy, and she wanted to move out of project management - she'd previously run a national project at Abertay Dundee University for the Scottish funding council - into longer-term strategy. "The main attraction was the chance to apply things I'd learnt in my national role in an institutional setting. I was going around the country talking about e-learning strategies, and this gave me the chance to put one in place.

"Before I was preaching about change - here I have to make it happen."

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