UCL News


Seven questions with Rebecca Allen

20 March 2015

This week we put seven questions to Rebecca Allen, Student Experience Data Manager, Office of the Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs).

Seven questions with Rebecca Allen

What does your role involve and how long have you been at UCL? What was your previous role?

I manage the institution-wide student surveys here at UCL, including the National Student Survey (NSS) and Student Barometer, and monitor and analyse the responses. We use this to make major decisions about policy and work towards improving the experience of being a student at UCL.

I've been here for about three months, and previously worked as a safety manager in the railway industry, so this is quite a change!

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

At my last job on the railway, I helped to run an award-winning public awareness campaign to tackle unsafe behaviour among passengers, which was causing a lot of avoidable injuries.

I used accident data to target the specific groups, causes and locations where injuries were most prevalent, and over a year successfully reduced major injuries by 50%. Using data effectively can impact change in a very powerful way, which is something we are aiming to do here with the feedback we receive from student surveys.

Tell us about a project you are working on now that is top of your to-do list?

I am currently working hard to promote the National Student Survey to UCL students! We are over halfway through the NSS, which is open to all final year undergraduates until the end of April, and is your chance to tell us about your experience of being a student here.

We take your responses very seriously, and in previous years we have used feedback from the survey to extend library opening hours, install internet access in all student residences and achieve universal standards on providing assessment feedback.

The survey takes about five minutes to complete and can be found at: www.thestudentsurvey.com.

What was your first job straight out of university?

I took a temporary job as an assistant for an antiques auctioneer - it was honestly one of the most interesting jobs I've ever had. I helped to run the auction sessions, displaying the items and packaging them up once they were sold. It could be anything from musical instruments to jewellery, furniture, paintings, crockery and books.

The most unusual thing I sold was an ivory music box which went for about £4,000. I ended up working there for a while as the office manager after the temporary job finished, which then led to an amazing job on a franchise bid team - you just never know where an experience will take you.

What is your favourite and least favourite thing about London?

I moved here about three years ago and I absolutely love London. The range of things you can do here is almost infinite - museums, food, historical sites, live music, festivals, theatre, outdoor cinema, ice climbing, taxidermy courses… I can't ever imagine being bored here! It is so diverse, so multicultural and at the forefront of so many exciting things happening in the world today.

I don't love that you essentially have to take out a mortgage for a coffee here, and navigating rush hour is not exactly the highlight of my week. The good bits far outweigh the bad though.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

There are plenty of people I admire hugely who I wouldn't necessarily want to have sitting at my dinner table, so for what I'm sure would be a hilarious evening, I would invite Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Miranda Hart, Aziz Ansari, the Obamas, Rob Delaney and Mindy Kaling. I'd need a bigger table though.

Describe your perfect evening (or weekend) after a long week.

It would definitely involve friends, Netflix, wine, food and board games. I'm pretty sure that's exactly what I'm doing on Friday night actually.

Useful Links