School Administrator, School of Criminology and Sociology
School Administrator, School of Media and Communication
When was the last time you thought about what being a School Administrator involves? Yes, you probably see us on a regular basis and yes, you probably stop and have chat with us – some will just take us for granted. Irrespective, I/we wonder how many of you really know who we are and what we do?
The School Administrator role is very varied and focuses on all areas of operational tasks. This can include but isn’t limited to:
- HR administration
- Research administration and support
- Recruitment and website design
- PA etc.
However, from personal experiences, it can also be quite isolating as we are usually the only person in the School with this role. The colleagues in which we share offices with, mostly focus on programme administration, and so there was a real need to create a support network for school administrators.
In 2019, Laura Nevay set up the School Administrator Network to offer exactly that. Primarily, the focus was to support School Administrators within CSSAH. However, over the last few years due to the success of the network, it has expanded massively and currently has 52 members. As the network grew, the membership has expanded to include a variety of operational roles at grade 5 and 6 and is now inclusive of the whole University.
As one member put it:
“As a lone administrator in a niche area of the university, I have found the admin network to be invaluable. It has been a great way to connect with others and increase my sense of belonging in the organisation. I have learned a lot from the network, and I am also grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge and help others with their professional development.”
As a result, the Network has evolved significantly and now includes individuals with a wide array of roles and responsibilities. Consequently, the previous name, “School Administrator Network,” no longer adequately represented the diverse membership. Since August 2023, the Network underwent a name change and is now the “Operations Administrators Network”.
One of the first initiatives when COVID hit in March 2020 was to set up a Teams space where members were free to ask questions about their role. Not only did this provide support but it also allowed the possibility of collaboration between members and share ideas about good practice. To this day, the network remains active and responsive to members in the group.
In addition, we have arranged various training sessions. These have included an end of year financial training program and a session from the tax office about HMRC and tax codes. This enabled members to feel more confident when they come to do this work. For people who are more familiar with the processes, they acted as a useful refresher.
In addition to the tailored training programs, we also introduced a set of dedicated library resources. I would like to extend a special appreciation to the School’s Matt Tonkin, who, after the library rejected our initial request, stepped in and funded books aimed at helping and encouraging self-development for staff.
At our meeting in August this year, several exciting initiatives were discussed and subsequently approved. These included the start of data collection for participation in next year’s Citizen’s Awards under the Team Category along with planning an Away Day scheduled for April 2024. Both initiatives aim to not only showcase the remarkable contributions of OAN members but also to foster stronger bonds within the team and the broader community.
However, looking ahead, we have high hopes that this Network will continue to expand its reach and provide support to colleagues. Moreover, we hope the OAN will aid colleagues in their career progression and personal growth.
Next time you wonder what exactly we do, now you know.