UCL News


Spotlight on Rebecca Payne

5 July 2016

This week the spotlight is on Rebecca Payne, Student Experience Officer, UCL Bartlett Faculty Office, UCL Bartlett.

Rebecca Payne

What is your role and what does it involve?

My role is Student Experience Officer in the Bartlett Faculty Office. I've been here since February 2016 and am loving it so far.

As 'the student experience' can mean many things to every different person, my role can relate to pretty much everything… which is great because it means I get to work with lots of different people from across UCL and always have very varied days. There are few other designated Student Experience Officers at UCL so it's also kind of unchartered territory, making me a bit of a tentative trailblazer.

Essentially it's my job to research and improve all aspects of students' time here, from applicant right through to alumni. This can include making guides to life in London, reviewing our provisions for particular groups of students e.g. part-time or mature, boosting volunteering in the department, exploring relevant extra-curricular activities, promoting interaction amongst students in different Faculty schools, analysing survey results, running engagement workshops, working on careers events, e-learning initiatives, running StARs forums, mapping the location of cheap wine bars...the list goes on.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I've been at UCL since 2013 when I completed an MSc in Urban Studies. Before UCL Bartlett I also worked as a note-taker for the disability service, and as a research/engagement officer for Mapping for Change (a social enterprise based in the Pearson building).

UCL is a very unique and eccentric place. I can understand why people stay here for so long - there are a lot of fantastic characters and always something new to throw yourself into. My favourite place is the Archaeology Library - great plants.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

In my last role I organised a series of 'walking workshops' with the National Trails. The walks brought together local volunteers to collect information about the accessibility of different trails for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Together with many enthusiastic volunteers, we ultimately mapped over 25,000metres of trails across England. I had no idea how popular the 'walkshops' would be, so it was really exciting to collect so much information. Plus I love walking, so it was a really fun project to coordinate.

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

Induction week! It's fast approaching and there's a lot to organise. As well as the standard timetabling and faculty talks, I'm designing a series of new materials and initiatives to familiarise students with the Bartlett and wider UCL area including tailor-made induction tours, an online self-guided Bartlett tour, and an 'alternative welcome pack' which will include (amongst other things) lesser-known historical anecdotes about our buildings.

Something new we are implementing this year is Meet the Researcher - a Connected Curriculum initiative which gives first year undergraduate students the opportunity to interview a member of research staff from the department. We have over 230 first year undergraduates across the schools of Architecture, Planning and Construction Project Management, and research staff from across the faculty will be involved. I'm really excited about Meet the Researcher as I think it will give students a great chance to meet peers from different courses and work collaboratively across disciplines from their first week here, but also to meet researchers from diverse and unfamiliar academic fields and get a real insight into what it's like to work in academia.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

Album: the PhD student I sit next to advised me to 'pick something obscure', so I'll go with In the Heart of the Moon by Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate. It was recorded on a balcony overlooking the river Niger in Mali, and listening to it makes you feel a bit like you're reclining into a warm tropical pool with a glass of wine.

Film: Local Hero or Brassed Off.

Novel: Although this is technically a short story, I would say Alice Munro's Family Furnishings, OR the Atom Station by Halldór Laxness…or The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

There was recently an explosion at the local cheese factory.

All that was left was des brie.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Brian Blessed

Matt le Tissier

Amy Sherman-Palladino

Laughs (laughs, and more laughs), great goal memories, and Gilmore Girls anecdotes - what more could you want?

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don't wear anything embarrassing with chains or skulls on it, and put the eyeliner down; it really doesn't look good.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I have a grade 5 certificate in drumming! I haven't played for ages but I would love to get started again if anyone wants to form a band…

What is your favourite place?

Eskdale, the Lake District.