Tell us a little about your career history so far.
I have spent the last 13 years working in Scottish education. Initially working for the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), before qualifying as a Modern Studies Teacher and then advancing to Further Education (FE).
2006 – 2009: Customer Contact Advisor, SQA
2009 – 2011: Business Development Consultant, SQA
2011 – 2012: Completed PGDE, University of Strathclyde
2012 – 2013: Modern Studies Teacher, Hyndland Secondary School
2013 – 2014: Modern Studies Teacher, Drumchapel High School
2014 – 2015: Business Development Officer, City of Glasgow College
2015 – 2018: Business Management Lecturer, City of Glasgow College
2018 – 2018: Senior Lecturer Administration & IT, City of Glasgow College
2018 – Present: Associate Dean: Business & Management, City of Glasgow College
In my current role as Associate Dean: Business & Management, I have responsibility for the college’s Administration & IT, Business and Legal Services courses. I have indirect responsibility for approximately 50 members of staff within the Business & Management department within the Faculty of Education & Humanities.
Why did you choose to study for the MEd in Educational Leadership?
My strategy to career development has always been to develop my vocational skills in tandem with gaining academic qualifications. I was interested in entering the management arena within education, so when I heard that the University of Strathclyde was offering an MEd in Educational Leadership, I felt the course would provide me with theoretical knowledge and understanding which I could apply to my day-to-day work.
Why did you select Strathclyde as a means to continue your professional development?
I was part of the last cohort to graduate from Jordanhill in 2012 after completing a PGDE in Secondary Education (Modern Studies). I thoroughly enjoyed the course, met some fantastic friends and had the benefit of being taught by some inspirational lecturers. The university’s central location also meant it was easy to attend lectures, as I worked right next door at City of Glasgow College.
What were you hoping to achieve from the course, prior to attending?
I was keen to gain a greater understanding of the issues facing the range of educational institutions across Scotland. During my period of study there were people on the course from primary schools, secondary schools, colleges, NDPBs and Community Learning and Development organisations. I also had the opportunity to engage and network with professionals at various levels including teachers, lecturers, principal teachers, faculty heads, depute heads and members of senior management. This diverse student base made it easy to achieve my aim and result in a rich and beneficial experience.
How did you find the learning and teaching style?
Enjoyable. I personally enjoyed the lecturer-led sessions, however, there was also ample opportunity to engage in professional dialogue with fellow students. We heard from a number of guest speakers and subject experts and were assessed by a range of methods including presentations, essays and my personal favourite, a work-based project.
How did you manage to balance the course with your working life?
I know it may sound a little cliché, but the key is to effectively manage your time. Having worked in education for well over a decade, it has been essential for me to develop good time management skills and prioritise when necessary. I ensured that I attended well and made sure that assessment deadlines were always met. There were periods of time when things were intense, but by planning well in advance, I kept things ticking over nicely and never put myself under any real pressure.
What did you take away from educational leadership?
Essentially, organisations are people powered. If you want to get the best from your staff, you must challenge them appropriately, recognise their professionalism and help to develop them at every opportunity. A team of individuals who are happy in their workplace will go the extra mile, so being kind, compassionate and demonstrating emotional leadership, is the first part you need to get right, in order to create a working environment where individuals can flourish and exceed organisational objectives.
How has this manifested in the workplace?
I work hard to ensure that my direct reportees feel supported and get the opportunity to drive improvements within their teams as they see fit. I believe in open lines of communication and, as much as I love a good natter, I understand the importance of effective listening and am determined to learn from the wealth of experience that exists in the Business & Management Area within the Faculty of Education & Humanities.
Will you look to gain any further qualifications to enhance your learning in the future?
Yes, I am currently looking in to the possibility of undertaking the Doctorate of Education (EdD).
What are your ambitions for the future?
I was only promoted to Associate Dean: Business and Management at City of Glasgow College in November 2018, so I still have much to do in my current role. That being said, I am an extremely driven individual with a passion for education and its role in delivering opportunity for all and social justice. In the future, I would like to secure further promotion and play a leading, strategic, role in developing opportunities, both vocational and academic, for the workers / learners of tomorrow.