Spotlight on Manjula Patrick
6 December 2016
This week the spotlight is on Manjula Patrick, Centre Administrator, Deafness, Cognition and Language (DCAL) Centre.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am Centre Administrator of the Deafness, Cognition and Language (DCAL) Centre. My role includes day-to-day management of the Centre (finance, HR, the professional services team, etc.), as well as leading on special projects, often in areas like public engagement and widening participation. I'm also leading on the development of our online deaf awareness course.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I've been in my current role since 2006, but longer than that at UCL…! Previously, I've managed European projects, been responsible for course administration and managed a scientific journal.
I've been at UCL for a while and still think it is great place, full of wonderful opportunities and a mix of talented and dedicated people. I feel very privileged to work here.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
Being at DCAL from its very beginning and seeing it grow in to a centre of excellence is right up there on the pride list.
Another is the Discover UCL Summer School for D/deaf and hard of hearing students. UCL is the only UK university to offer this type of event for young deaf people, a group that is greatly underrepresented at university level. I have worked with UCL Widening Participation to run this annual residential summer school for year 11/12 students since it first started in 2014. We have a great team who put in huge efforts but it is immensely rewarding all round - we feel we are breaking down barriers and making a genuine difference to the lives of young deaf people who aspire to come to universities like UCL.
Tell us about a project you are working on now that is top of your to-do list.
Deafness is the third most common disability in the world and it's anticipated 1 in 5 people in the UK will have a form of hearing loss by 2035. Deaf awareness is about promoting the positive aspects of deafness and social inclusion - giving this group access to services across society (banks, transport, health, recreation) and enabling their equal participation in education and employment.
We recently launched an online course, Deaf Awareness: Working and communicating well with deaf people. This is an exciting venture for me and my colleague, Robert Adam, not only because this is our very first online course, but also because of its potential societal impact, by raising the awareness of professionals providing services to deaf and hard of hearing individuals. This is a joint venture with UCL Life Learning, who continue to provide us with a lot of support for which we are very grateful.
The current phase of the project is marketing the course; the UCL Provost and Vice-Provosts have endorsed it and encourage the UCL community to undertake this course. It also fits nicely with UCL 2034's key enabler 'Valuing our staff and delivering on equality and diversity'.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
Album: No favourite album as such, but like I like Seasick Steve, Toots and the Maytals (went to see them recently - amazing!) and Dr Feelgood.
Film: The Third Man and Black Narcissus.
Novel: William Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene are among my favourites for their ability to delve into the human condition.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
Woman to doctor: "Doctor, I've strawberries growing out of my ears".
Doctor: "I've got some cream for that".
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Rabindranath Tagore (I can see his bust in Gordon Square from my office window), David Attenborough, William Somerset Maugham, Michael Ondaatje, Michelle Obama and my uncle Ivor (who is witty, warm and full of great anecdotes… though his jokes do make the one above look sophisticated!).
What advice would you give your younger self?
Learn from your mistakes and don't beat yourself up about them.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
Not much! I am an obsessive gardener, keen bird-watcher (not a twitcher/birder), I dabble in photography and painting, and enjoy cooking and baking… I make six Christmas cakes every year… for family and friends, so one could argue I'm perhaps a bit obsessive about baking too! Oh, and we keep rescue chickens.
What is your favourite place?
Hmm… that's hard. Perhaps Andalucía around the Sierra Nevada mountains as we keep going back! The landscape is stunning and varies so much, as does the climate. There's also great food, history and architecture, and it's pretty empty too. And there are lots of birds!