An interview with our president, Mary Curnock Cook

We caught up with our recently appointed Honorary President, Mary Curnock Cook, for a quick fire interview on the AUA, the state of the higher education sector and her beginnings in HE.

What does your appointment as Honorary President to the AUA mean to you?

I am really looking forward to the opportunity to connect with and share expertise with other professional administrators in the sector.  I hope I can add value through my own experience at the helm of UCAS, one of the oldest shared services in the sector, and no doubt learn a lot myself through the AUA network.

What do you think is the role of the AUA in the sector? 

As well as recognising professionalism in administration, the AUA provides an instant network for members to share experience and learn from one another.  A professional network is probably the most powerful learning tool that anyone can have.

What drew you to take a role within the HE sector?  

As a late starter in higher education (I didn’t go to university until I was in my 40s) I spent the first half of my career feeling I’d missed out.  Little did I know that I’d end up working in HE or the extent to which I’d be inspired by it.

What piece of advice would you give to someone just beginning a career in HE administration and management?

Decide whether you are there for the ride or whether you want to shape the ride. Shaping things can start in small ways, but managers always notice the people who are genuinely motivated and prepared to volunteer to get involved with new initiatives.


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