It's been 15 years and 3 months since I started working in Higher Education. For 9 years and 4 months of those, I've been a member of the SROC committee, but I've been a member of the SROC community for even longer than that - my very first SROC was at the University of Bradford in 2009. Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought that 13 years later I'd find myself its Academic Registrar.
Suffice it to say that this humble practitioner group has been a huge part of my professional life. One year as a local organiser (York 2015 - Best SROC Ever TM), five years as Social Media Co-ordinator (twitter was only mediocrely evil then) and 3 years as Committee Chair. Now, again, if you'd told me I'd be taking over the reins of a national conference bang at the start of a worldwide pandemic, I'd have said you're definitely making it up, but there we were.
Nevertheless, not to be said that administrators don't find solutions to problems, we pulled up our sleeves and in 2021 delivered our first online SROC with the University of Huddersfield, to a record 1,000 attendees. Then we had a nice cold pint and waited for all this to blow over. Fast forward to 2023 and SROC was back for its first post-pandemic conference in beautiful Edinburgh.
If you were there, you may have heard my speech. Three years as SROC chair I only got to do one speech so I put in extra effort (I wrote it just before the dinner). I said that night, that people don't leave SROC, they leave the sector. This is the case for me, as I take a break from Higher Education to go on to different adventures. Sadly, that means I leave SROC behind.
At the time of the conference, I knew I was stepping down as chair, but I didn't know who would replace me. I'm now thrilled to announce that Chris Carpenter is taking over the role. Tom Moody replaces him as Deputy Chair. We also say hello to Gabby McLaren as committee Secretary after Mark Jones’s departure. I'm sure they and the rest of the committee will keep driving SROC forward, bigger and better.
It's been an absolute pleasure serving on this committee and seeing everything this community has achieved with good humour, creativity and endless determination over these three decades. To once more paraphrase the great Piccolo Daimao, every student records officer has made the impossible possible many times over. Whatever came before you, you will surpass it. Now, let's begin!