UCL News


Seven questions with Dr Ruth Siddall

29 October 2015

This week we put seven questions to Dr Ruth Siddall,

Seven questions with Dr Ruth Siddall ucl.ac.uk/student-mediator" target="_self">UCL Student Mediator.

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

My job involves trying to fix problems for students before they get worse. I can only help with informal complaints, so what I can't do is change your exam results or progression, but I can help a lot when communication breaks down between a friend, a lecturer or supervisor - or even the institution as a whole. 

I have been at UCL for more than 25 years, first as a research student and then I was a lecturer in UCL Earth Sciences for almost 20 years. In the past 10 years, I have also worked as a warden in student residences, as Dean of Students (Welfare) and now in my current, full-time role as Student Mediator. I have seen pretty much all aspects of student and university life over this time. 

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

I'm proud of a lot of my experiences working at UCL. I have taught some really great students who have gone on to do amazing things. Also in my day-to-day job, I'm trying to help people every day. When I can easily solve a problem for someone, that's a good feeling.

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

I'm working with UCLU on promoting their Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment Campaign. Some people may think this is a non-issue in academia, but it isn't. There are a lot of cultural changes needed. In terms of my to-do list, I really need to update my website!

What was your first job straight out of university?

I worked for a contractor for the oil and gas industry, recording geological and geochronological data from exploration wells in the North Sea.

What is your favourite and least favourite thing about London?

I love London, all aspects of it, the fact that you can buy anything any time, see great exhibitions, its multiculturalism, history, architecture, food. It's a pretty good city as cities go.  

My least favourite thing about the capital is listening to other people moan about it!

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

I'm not really a dinner party person, if I'm honest, and I think my worst nightmare would be sitting around a table listening to a bunch of egos pontificating. 

I think I would either zone out or try to talk them round into seeing each other's point of view. Boring though it sounds, an ideal dinner party for me would just be with friends and family.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

Good question. I've been around UCL a long time, so a lot of people know about me and I don't have many secrets… Maybe people don't know that I am a walking tour guide in my spare time.