students inside library

Sally Brooks

Deputy Director of Operations for Education, College of Arts and Law

About Sally

I started working at the University of Birmingham in spring 2017, and I was originally carrying out the role of Head of Communications and Engagement in External Relations. It was a really rich and varied role which I enjoyed very much.

Sally Brooks

I wanted to progress in my career within the University and felt that moving into operations – the day to day running of the educational delivery side of the institution – would give me that opportunity, as well as a chance to do something different. I originally took on the role I am in now as a six-month secondment in March 2020. In spite of starting the job as the Covid pandemic took hold, I really enjoyed it.

While it was a very steep learning curve, I was supported all the way by colleagues both inside the College and from other parts of the University. As a result, I applied for the permanent position and secured it, which felt like a real achievement.

Throughout the pandemic, the University adapted quickly and well, and we are now in a position where there is flexibility around working in a hybrid way. We are and will always be a campus University, but there is room for working remotely and flexibly alongside working on campus.

I am a single parent, and so I appreciate the generous annual leave offering. I actually ‘buy’ additional days of leave each year as well, which is really handy.

Like all organisations, the University is on a journey to ensure that work around equality, diversity and inclusion has a constructive and meaningful impact on every part of the University community. It is something that comes up in almost all meetings I have around our student provision, and also when I attend leadership events around the culture of the organisation.

As an openly gay member of staff I have always felt safe to be out at work, which I am certain contributes to my success and wellbeing. It’s great to be part of the staff Rainbow Network, and also to work intersectionally with other networks, such as the Women’s Network and the Race Equality Network. I feel like we’ve come a long way since I joined the University, and of course, there is always more to do. The key thing for me is that the conversation is happening and is ongoing.

I find working at the University of Birmingham to be really interesting. Due to the nature of higher education and the world of work we are all in, there is a lot of change, but with change comes opportunity. I feel I have been able to develop here, and I believe that I will continue to do so. Last year I was invited to be part of the Emerging Leaders Programme, which was a really positive experience.