Jon Renyard, University Secretary and Registrar at Arts University Bournemouth | Career Stories

I’m responsible for… corporate and academic governance, acting as Secretary to the Board of Governors, but also compliance with UK quality requirements – the alphabet soup of OfS, QAA, CMA, OIA amongst others.

My typical day is… one I have yet to experience, in the last fifteen years or so!  There are always plans for the day, but it never quite turns out like that.  A few meetings, a few dozen emails, a few phone calls, and in between that, grabbing a few moments to read a report, or draft the next section of the urgent paper which isn’t due until tomorrow so hasn’t quite risen to the top of the pile.  My typical day is one long exercise in reprioritisation!

My first job in HE… was as an Administrative Assistant (Academic Standards and Quality).  Since then, I’ve had at least two longer job titles!  It was a great introduction to working in HE.

The AUA helped me… by giving me the chance to meet people from all across the sector, in roles I had no idea existed; and by showing me that I was part of something far, far bigger – and full of fantastic people.  It showcased opportunity, just through its existence.

If I didn’t work in HE I’d be… working as a horse-racing commentator.  That was always the dream, anyway.  Probably I’d have ended up as a teacher.

The best thing about working in HE/ my job… is students.  And staff, but mostly students.  It’s such a pleasure to be working alongside, and for, such a vibrant, energetic, enthusiastic and intelligent group of people.  It reminds me, all the time, that this is why I do my job; it’s always worth it.

What surprised me about a career in HE…is to start with, how disconnected universities are.  As a student, you always assume everyone knows everyone and everything.  Then you realise that nobody in Finance has EVER spoken to anyone in Marketing, or the Halls of Residence.  What surprises me now is how brilliantly collegiate and supportive we are, despite all the many challenges and pressures.  Or maybe, that even the most intelligent people can have pretty serious blind spots… perhaps that’s less of a surprise!

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