UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Getting to know....Fiona Wallace

1 June 2018

Fiona Wallace

What does your job involve?

As the Pre-sessional Co-ordinator I'm responsible for all aspects of course planning, course delivery and assessment, and for the team of Pre-sessional teachers.

It's been an extremely busy and exciting academic year on Pre-sessional so far. We have moved to a split timetable, which means we've been able to expand the programme, and are looking forward to welcoming some 700 students and 55 teachers this summer. A new suite of assessments has been designed, and I'm proud to say that we have moved from a position of having one excellent in-house course booklet last year to having excellent in-house materials for every skills area this year.

How long have you been at UCL? What did you do before this role?

Good question as I have worked here before some err, well years ago. Since then I have continued my freelance career in materials writing, which has included writing scripts for BBC English World Service Radio, exams for Cambridge English and bespoke English for Law materials for other universities. At the same time I worked at Brunel University where I went from mainly teaching to co-ordinating their pre-sessional programme. I've been in my current role at UCL a year.

What do you most enjoy about your position and why?

I most enjoy the contact with teachers and students and I'm looking forward to welcoming back familiar faces. My role sometimes involves supporting students going through extremely challenging personal circumstances whilst trying to achieve their dream of studying at UCL, and it is really rewarding to see them succeed.

What are you working on at the moment?

We are busy preparing for the arrival of the 12 week teachers next Wednesday, with around 240 students following hot on their heels.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

It was a very good moment standing in the corridor earlier in the week with members of the Pre-sessional team and looking through some of the recently delivered Pre-sessional booklets that we had all worked so hard to produce. I'm really proud to have initiated and driven forward the design and production of in-house course materials across Pre-sessional in a relatively short space of time as this will not only benefit students, but will greatly support teachers.

What's your favourite film and book?

My Dad took me to all the Bond movies as a child and I still find them fun.

Certain books resonate at different stages in life, and currently I'm devouring The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

The Vicar of Dibley and the Dibley Parish Council, and could you throw in Daniel Craig?

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I'm a qualified barrister.

What's your favourite place in the world (and why)?

Sitges, in Barcelona province. I lived there for a few years so feel instantly relaxed when I return to visit friends, and it's got even better since I joined the CLIE as it's popular with staff here too. I met up with two members of the CLIE and their families when I holidayed there last October, and we didn't mention work once!

Paul Hogan's question for you from the last newsletter: "Who would play you in a film?"

Edna from the Incredibles because in another life I'd love to have designed costumes.

What's your question for the next colleague?

What job would you do in another life?