The Chair of SROC blogs about the Kent Conference.
Many of you will know me, more probably don’t so, so a bit of background. I’m a graduate of Leicester and before stepping into a HE management career, at Derby, I worked for a multinational food retailer as a project manager implementing computer systems into carious part of the business. When I moved ‘over’, the thing that struck me most about the job I was asked to do was the diversity and range of work I was asked to look at - and this remains a feature to this day. I was struck at the collegiate nature of the sector, in industry I would not have talked to a rival firm under nearly any circumstances. This collegiate atmosphere is under threat with increasing fees and competition authorities keeping a watchful eye but it is what gives the sector it’s strength and SROC more than most is the embodiment of us working together. That is why I became a committee member and now Chair.
So what of this year’s conference? Well an unusual one for me personally as I was still recovering from a broken ankle and for the first time in my life, I was off sick for more than a couple of days. Whilst I was able via email to assist, this meant that even more than normal the committee team pulled together with a local organisers Paul and Jane to carry out all the work needed to make the conference happen. It was also my first conference as Chair.
Together with a number of committee colleagues I arrived down on the Sunder to cover last minute arrangements. Monday was busy with dealing with SROC matters regarding changing over key roles with the bank and squeezing in a committee meeting alongside supporting the local team. From Monday night onwards it all seem a bit of a blur - no not alcohol but the pace of things. there were the inevitable urgent things springing up on my work Blackberry - the calls to my wife and two daughters and ensuing that I was clear about the plenary welcomes, the SROC welcome presentation, delivering the HEAR breakout sessions, the conference dinner speech, the Q&A session and the conference close session. Phew. I think next year there probably needs to be a little less of me on stage.
The plenary from Andy Youell of HESA and the breakout session from Paul Travel - The Forgotten (Student Records Officers) both gave me a look of food for thought and both in the same area - Student records is going to get real important - real quick. I also had the opportunity to go around the exhibitiion and scout out if there was anything I should be considering for the future. The conference dinner on the Tuesday night went very well and with great food - of course I missed not being able to dance - a relief to some of you but there is always next year!