I had the privilege to spend a day learning all about the work that the admissions’ teams do at BU by shadowing some of them. Matthew Clarke, one of the admissions coordinator kindly organised this for me following the values workshop that I delivered for them a while ago.
Reflecting on my experience I decided that I would write this post to demonstrate how the UK and international admission teams live our BU values so I’ll go through them and explain.
The first thing that I noticed as I joined the teams was a really positive energy. I was expecting a lot of noise but that wasn’t the case at all. Everyone was concentrating in their own job but still found time to support each other and I heard words of encouragement between them and lots of kindness. Clearly their managers know their teams well and have spent time getting the team members to work with each other.
I was shown some of their jobs that seemed quite complicated to me yet each one of them did it very smoothly.
They have a positive mind-set and a caring approach. Their attention to detail is excellent which had to be, given the amount of data they need to process. I named them our key holders when I first meet them and I feel they are; they go through each application with the same dedication and a willingness to make things happen. They know the tariff points, are well conversed with course requirements and can identify trends. The job they do is amazing!
For me the fact that they call every prospective applicant a week before their interview to reassure them is the best example of how they excel.
Everyone was busy doing their job and still I didn’t feel in the way (even though I am a wheelchair user). I was welcomed by everyone with a smile and they were all warm and friendly. These colleagues are very self-aware and it is clear that they are used to dealing with people of different cultures and backgrounds. I noticed a type of sensibility and a fined tuned ability to empathize with others that is sometimes is missing when people are busy. The admission teams have it in bucket loads.
This is a big one! I learned each member of the team needs to have knowledge of the whole admissions process which is much more intrinsic that I first thought. Sometimes as an academic you take for granted that students turn up but it is a big and long journey before that. Members of these teams need to check qualifications, personal statements, references and will have contact with each applicant more than once. They need to organise interviews in many formats and try to accommodate applicants and staff to make this happen with a lot of creativity. I evidenced all of this with a smile on their face and a lot of positive reinforcement between them.
Given the complexity of their job the admission teams must find creative ways to manage their workloads and keep on track whilst dealing with prospective students. They have certain deadlines depending on the time of year. one way in which I noticed they do this is by working as a team and sharing the task led by their team leaders who are actually doing the same role and therefore role modelling and leading by example.
Overall I was so impressed by these teams. They are experts in their field and represent our brand with pride. They know that their job can change lives and take on this responsibility with kindness and professionalism. What a fantastic group of colleagues, we are very lucky to have them!
Dr Camila Devis-Rozental (DProf, SFHEA, PGCE, QTLS)
Senior Lecturer Service Excellence
CEL Learning and teaching fellow