My SDF story with Adam Tipple
Where do you work and what is your role?
I work for Middlesex University as a Staff Development Adviser (IT) in Organisational and Staff Development
When did you join the SDF?
Why did you want to join the SDF?
Being relatively new to staff development, I thought it would be a good pathway to learn more. My colleagues have a strong background in staff development and HR but still seem to learn so much from being involved with SDF. They often seem to bring back ideas from SDF events or connections.
What’s the best thing about the SDF?
While my colleagues have been great, being involved in the SDF means I can now broaden my education beyond the excellent introduction they’ve given me. Widening the influence on my understanding will hopefully broaden my skills and increase the tools I can use.
What are you working on at the moment?
We’re started incorporating more blended and mixed learning to our training, mainly, but not exclusively, via Moodle. When I started on it, it was something we hadn’t made much use of previously, so I’m still expanding the training, resources and support we provide online while assisting colleagues to use it. As it grows, I also improve the navigation system I created to make content more accessible.
The university student information system is in the process of being tested prior to an upgrade. The interface will look quite different while navigation around it has changed considerably. I’ll be involved in the testing and reviewing our training for it.
In response to feedback from departments for this review, I’m working with colleagues to incorporate more context in the content for the training aside from the technical and we can do this prior to the new system being rolled out. I’m most of the way through writing a new online module for the Student Life-cycle which should help, I just have a couple of things to add once I’ve got a more thorough understanding from relevant departments.
We are due to roll out our online appraisal forms next month so I’m testing and working with our supplier on the forms and their allocation in the test site. There are some large changes to the forms and the technical side so it’ll mean quite a bit of checking in a short time frame as well as producing a completely new user guide. With regular allocations it usually takes a month and we’ve about a week left.
We’ve just rolled out Windows 10 across the university so I have been providing support for that and rolling out courses updated for MS Office 2016 that comes with it.
What does a typical day look like?
If I’m delivering training, I’ll get to work early to set up and check everything works. Even if I’ve been able to set the room up the day before, I still need to connect and check everything works and is running before people arrive.
If I’m not training, I like to begin the day with routine tasks to get me started. Picking up emails is fairly routine and means I can adjust my day if priorities need to change. Getting something simple out-of-the-way like updating attendance on our management system or adding my workshops to our booking calendar can also be good for getting used to the idea that I’m at work. I also find first thing can be a good time to catch people at their desks here so I try to make any calls then too.
I tend to be more productive and creative later in the morning and afternoon, so I’ll devote that time to the projects I’m working on that require me to think a bit.
Early afternoon, I’ll pick up any support requests on our online appraisal system. It’s another routine task that I used to get my brain in gear again. I’ll also use that time to prepare any materials and registers for training if there’s any the next day, as people can register up until then it makes sense to make sure we’ve got firm numbers before doing this.
I’d say about a third of my day (or longer) can often be spent supporting something someone else is doing. We try to be pro-active but there do seem to be a lot of last minute external demands in a short time-frame. As we’re quite collaborative, when something like that happens we will support each other. As one of the longer serving members of the team, who knows our systems and processes it usually makes sense for me to be involved, which I quite like.
Tell us about an event that altered the course of your life/and career
I was a librarian for most of my working life, so it was probably the winding down of public library services.
The person who has influenced you the most is
My parents obviously, I wouldn’t say I am as hard-working or conscientious as they were but it set me a bar. Mainly though my daughters. I find that they are the ones I learn the most from about how to be a better person.
Work life balance – what leisure activity you enjoy the most?
I have a few but being outdoors mainly especially near water. I’ve always found nature fascinating so exploring that probably.
Something about you people would find surprising
I’m scared of moths but only indoors. Outdoors is fine and I’m pretty at peace with them but indoors they seem like fluttery, in-your-face zombie butterflies
What’s your greatest fear?
Like most people my greatest fears are for my family. Moths don’t even come close on that one.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Eddie Jones; Malcolm Gladwell; Kathy Burke; Ru Paul; Yanis Varoufakis; Catherine West;
What would your super-power be?
I think about this a bit because as I get older being able to run like I did when I was 20 or not having to get up in the night seem like super powers and I’d be pretty happy with them.
What’s your favourite/least favourite food?
Favourite Bacon and Egg/Least Favourite Liquorice
What’s the worst job you ever had?
School cleaner was pretty grim, hell has nothing on 4th year toilets, but leafleting was by far the most soul destroying for the least reward.
What thing would improve the quality of your life?
What’s coming next for you?
More eking out a living doing something I kind of enjoy but really care about