M.A., B.A.(Hons), Cert.IEP, V.T.C.T.
I originally started work at the former University of Glamorgan in August 1997. Initially, I worked in the University library whilst undertaking a part-time research degree but gradually became aware of the wide range of support staff roles that make up an institution and started to think about how I might develop a career within those spheres.
Having also undertaken bouts of volunteer work overseas (India, Mongolia, Indonesia) I realised that I had developed an interest, and skills, in cultural exchange and was keen to apply this to my working life. In 2005 I was lucky enough to gain in position as the Assistant International Student Adviser in the (as was then) International Support Unit (Student Services). I undertook considerable professional training in immigration advice and international student support, including the Certificate in Professional Studies in Education for International Educational Professionals via Nottingham University and UKCISA and was made a full International Adviser in November 2006.
The team has undergone several transformations since then, becoming the International Student Support Service first in the Commercial Services Office and then the International Office. In late 2010 I was delighted to be appointed Manager and have seen us through our latest incarnation as the Immigration & International Student Advice (IISA) team within Marketing and Student Recruitment. The move to MSR has allowed IISA to consolidate the important role that they play in supporting student recruitment and conversion and to build crucial relationships with the teams responsible for this.
My personal skills lie in specialist professional immigration advice; cultural awareness; generic international support/induction and UKVI compliance. I inform wide ranging University policy and procedures from an international perspective and have excellent knowledge about cross University systems and processes . I have been instrumental in successfully steering the University through 3 UKVI inspections and have been key in maintaing the University’s Tier 4 Sponsor Licence since 2008.
I lead the team in running 2 high quality International Welcome Programmes per annum. These contain around 135 activities across a 7-9 day period and have a combined attendance of around 600 students. Student feedback shows 100% of attendees feel the IWP is of benefit and would recommend to incoming students.
I also have a significant drive for innovative and diversification and have divised and instigated several projects to improve student experience since becoming the IISA Manager. Most recently I have developed the USW1World Project which is built around the philosophy that students who have a clear sense of community and place, plus the opportunity to expand their horizons (both physically and mentally), have a truly increased chance of better personal and academic success. The project encompasses outgoing Global Opportunities as well as social and community outreach programmes.
The University takes part in the International Student Barometer survey and the last results indicate that the Immigration and International Student Advice team is rated 8th in the world for international student support.
I am known for my passionate attitude to my work and the students and promote a friendly, professional and ‘can do’ attitude through the Immigration & International Student Advice team.
I have recently been elected National Co-Chair of the Association of International Student Advisers (AISA). This is a considerable honour and show of faith from colleagues in the sector who believe in my ability to represent them both positively and knowledgably. That institutions nationally have chosen to be represented by the University of South Wales shows the important place that IISA/the University now hold in the international student area
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