I gained Fellowship of CILIP in 2019. In the spirit of open practice I am happy to share the structure of my portfolio. Preparing and collecting the evidence for my Fellowship portfolio has been a great way to evaluate the impact I have had on the organisations in which I have worked and on and the wider profession. I am a senior manager with 20 years’ experience in the Higher Education sector. I have held increasingly senior posts in three major universities: University of Leeds, University of Oxford and University of Edinburgh.
I am Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services and Assistant Principal for Online Learning at Edinburgh. We are increasing use of digital services and systems in support of an improved student digital experience and holding a leading position as one of the largest UK providers of MOOCs and online learning at Masters level. Information Services at Edinburgh is a converged service comprising IT and libraries. I am part of the senior management team reporting directly to the Senior Vice-Principal and CIO.
In preparing for CILIP fellowship I have looked at each of the areas of professional knowledge and skill outlined in the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB). I feel that my skills have developed over many years of professional practice. In each of my roles I have been able to transfer skills and build upon experience to learn from what has happened before. This has given me a broad range of opportunities to apply and extend my interests in information management.
For each of the areas in the PKSB I have provided in my portfolio links to evidence of developing and improving my practice and widening my sphere of influence. I have evidence to show my work at a very local level and across the sector through contributions to conferences, published case studies and hosting of major initiatives over many years.
I structured my portfolio and gathered evidence to support my fellowship application under the following headings:
Ethics and Values
I am committed to promoting access to information, knowledge, ideas and learning. This can be seen through my championing of Open Educational Resources (OER) at a local, national and international level over many years. I have established university-wide OER services at Oxford and Edinburgh. I have also convened and hosted conferences and events.
I am committed to the ethical values of equality and diversity in the workplace. I have established a programme of work at University of Edinburgh designed specifically to promote gender diversity in our IT services. After three years this work is now delivering positive impact and I am able to report on metrics for improvement and use data driven decision-making for management practice. I have also won a number of national awards for this work in taking intersectional approaches to promoting diversity in the workplace.
I lead projects which enable visible role models for women working in STEM careers, and in developing the digital skills of women and girls. My successful initiative at Edinburgh is hosting a Wikimedian in Residence (WiR) with a specific remit to engage women in creating and publishing new content online. Our WiR is now embedded as part of the core team working on information literacy and digital skills in my organisation. This has also been an opportunity to further develop my own digital skills.
I have established a scheme whereby cohorts of learning technologists are supported to achieve their professional certification from the Association of Learning Technologists (CMALT). In the last two years we have gained 15 fully certified colleagues through this route. CMALT requires colleagues to reflect on their practice and present a portfolio of evidence. As part of the scheme I have worked alongside them to update my own CMALT certification to Senior level in 2018.
In my role I shape the ways in which our services support the business objectives of the university. I am responsible for the long-term aims and objectives in our University IT strategy and plan and significant budgets in delivering these. I currently have a team of c. 120 people including staff, contractors, interns, apprentices and work placements. With my executive team I am responsible for the operational, financial and legal management of the division. To ensure that our services meet the needs of users we have regular and appropriate engagement with all our stakeholder groups including academic user groups, university committees and unions. I have communication officers who work with me to ensure that the messages we are sending and hearing are part of a cycle of continuous improvement.
I continue to develop strategies and skills in using all types of knowledge and information in my work. I have led on several large projects around the recording of lectures and podcasts in the universities of Oxford and Edinburgh. This has involved the creation, curation, sustainability and management of large collections of digital materials. There are complex processes for the governance, legal and copyright policies which support the development of these collections for students to use in their learning, for archiving and retention and for public sharing and engagement.
My commitment to information literacy skills training is longstanding. I have been responsible for staff and student digital skills training at Leeds, Oxford and Edinburgh. I have an ongoing commitment to the LILAC Conference, having keynoted there in 2009 and supported the conference and awards over the years.
In June of 2019 I will welcome the ICEPOPS conference to Edinburgh. One of my staff will provide the keynote address, covering the OER work, ‘Playful Engagement’ and ’23things’ courses we have developed at Edinburgh.
All of this evidence combines to show my long and ongoing commitment to being part of the information profession in higher education as it grows and changes.
And the reviewers were very kind:
Congratulations on achieving Fellowship, the very highest level of our profession which is only awarded for outstanding contributions to the profession.
You have built up a creditable set of personal skills with a clear eye on the environments that you have been working in e.g. devising a Collection Management policy which was strategically designed to meet your customer needs and further organisational goals, championing the cause of information literacy. You could have aligned the skills you highlighted more with your PKSB assessment but you have reflected well throughout your portfolio on your progress and how you have been able to make best use of it.
Contributions to organisational strategy is a very strong area for you and you have been prominent in devising and implementing strategy in your organisations with a strong Equality and Diversity focus and goals aligned to the objectives of the university. You have clearly worked at a senior level for many years and worked across team boundaries for the good of the organisation, making sure that libraries, IT, HR and Staff Development worked together for the greater good of the organisation.
You have achieved a very high profile throughout the profession with your speaking engagements at conferences and other high profile events and the impact that you have made across sectors. By championing the cause of women in high profile positions you have demonstrated that you are a leader and a great example for the upcoming generation of information professionals.