Spotlight on Lizzie Vinton
6 June 2018
This week the spotlight is on Lizzie Vinton, Assessment Regulations and Governance Manager, UCL Academic Services.
What is your role and what does it involve?
Assessment Regulations and Governance Manager, Academic Services.
I am managing a long-term project to update UCL’s academic regulations. My main focus is taught assessment, but I’m working on a number of different regulations.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I’ve been at UCL for three and a half years. Before that I worked at the University of the Arts London – I started as an administrator at Chelsea College of Art and Design and then I moved to the university centre where I started working on projects to develop regulations and policies and to improve the student experience.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
I think being nominated for an Education Award for my work on the regulations.
UCL last reviewed its taught regulations in 2006 when the Higher Education landscape was very different, not least because tuition fees were considerably lower. In 2018, students have to make a significant, personal and financial investment to study at UCL, and are under enormous pressure to achieve a good degree.
When we speak to students, it is clear that they are committed to putting in an incredible amount of hard work to achieve good results. However they also expect UCL to be scrupulously fair in determining these results, and that’s where the regulations come in.
Our main aims have been to reduce as far as possible any variations for students on different programmes, ensure that decisions are made in a transparent and consistent way and minimise opportunities for potential bias in assessment processes. We have also focussed on making sure that we have effective processes in place for students who might be struggling with their physical or mental health so that they are supported throughout the assessment process.
I’d like to say a thank you to the members of the Academic Regulations and Quality Assurance Sub Committee for their endless patience in picking through the regulations word by word. It has been a laborious task and they have been fantastic!
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
We have just finished the assessment regulations so the next job is to help students and staff to understand the changes. This can be incredibly hard, as different programmes are affected in very different ways – one programme might already be doing something which is a big change for another programme. But it is a vital part of the change process.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
They’re always changing!
I’m currently reading books about roses and 18th century French interiors.
Favourite film is probably the Slipper and the Rose.
Novel is maybe Perfume by Patrick Suskind.
My current playlist has a lot of Glen Campbell, John Denver and Carly Simon on because they’re good to sing along to in the car!
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
It’s not a joke as such, but Victoria Wood’s Ballad of Freda and Barry (Let’s do it). I’ll never be able to look at a Woman’s Weekly in the same way again.
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Dick and Angel Strawbridge from Escape to the Chateau because they are such amazingly lovely people, he is a brilliant cook, she has impeccable taste and I have some serious chateau envy. Julie Walters is just wonderful. Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins because I share their silly sense of humour. Sandi Toksvig and Victoria Coren-Mitchell because they are clever and funny.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t let having a disability hold you back – you don’t have to settle for second best.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
Probably that my first degree was in Fine Art. I’ve had exhibitions at Beach Blanket Babylon and the Notting Hill Arts Club and my work was selected for City Hall on the Southbank when it was first built.
What is your favourite place?
Being in my rose garden in the sunshine with my cats.