Spotlight on Wendy Appleby
12 March 2018
This week, the spotlight is on Wendy Appleby, Registrar and Head of Student & Registry Services at UCL.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am the Registrar and Head of Student & Registry Services. The role entails leadership of a large professional service that provides student support, student lifecycle support from application to qualification, and academic and corporate governance. I am also Secretary to Council, UCL’s governing body.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I have been at UCL for nearly four years. Previously, I had a similar role at Queen Mary University of London where I was Secretary to Council and Academic Secretary/Registrar for eight years. UCL is the seventh HEI that I’ve worked for and this autumn I will be celebrating 30 years since the start of my career in higher education administration.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
At UCL, I’m incredibly proud of the progress that we have made in SRS to embed more structured and systematic approaches, which are designed to lead to a better student experience and make the things that should just work do so. Some examples are the full revamp of the Academic Manual, the progress on the academic model project (fixing Portico/SITS) and the delivery of the examination timetable at the end of February (earlier than ever before). I am very proud of the way that SRS staff actively work to engage with staff in academic departments, providing co-ordination, support and expertise. I never fail to be impressed with the volumes of work handled by SRS, for example, did you know that we received nearly 100,000 applications for admission last year and issued 48,000 offers or paid £85m in bursaries and awards?
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
There are a few key projects that SRS is currently working on, all contending for number one slot on the to-do list, a couple of which I’ve mentioned above. There is a whole raft of work happening to improve support to student wellbeing, particularly extending support for student mental health wellbeing. The SRS International Student Support team is delivering an International Festival with student societies from 19-23 March with food, stalls and music in the main quad on Tuesday 20th – do look out for more on this. The New Student Centre will open in 2019 providing a fantastic opportunity to improve the way we deal with student enquiries, giving students the answers to their questions. Also, I am working on a project to achieve university status for UCL while remaining a member institution of the University of London.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
A few classics:
London Calling by The Clash
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
I had to look in a Christmas cracker to answer this question – How did Scrooge win the football game? The ghost of Christmas passed!
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
I would invite a top chef and my close friends. That should have both the dinner and the party nicely covered.
What advice would you give your younger self?
What would it surprise people to know about you?
My father, two uncles and both my grandfathers were milkmen at some point in their lives, which would probably explain my love of cheese and early mornings.
Also, I would like to mention that I will be running in the Virgin Money London Marathon on 22 April to raise money for Sarcoma UK. Few people have heard of Sarcoma which is a cancer of the bone and soft tissue. If you would like to help me fundraise to improve awareness, support sufferers of Sarcoma and search for treatments, please visit my JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wendy-appleby
What is your favourite place?
There are a number of candidates, they all feature a beach and the sea sparkling in the sunlight. On 22 April, I may switch this answer to the finishing line at 26.2 miles (see above).