Introducing Professor Sally Everett: ANTF committee member and Vice Dean (Education)/Professor of Business Education at King’s College London Business School
I think there was an inevitability about me pursuing a career which focuses on learning and teaching! I have been fortunate to have several role models and mentors in my life. The first of these was my primary school teacher. Even at ten years old, I was energized by her passion for teaching and I found her enthusiasm for self-directed learning infectious! I remember she set us a task to produce a project on a country and I ended up filling two giant scrapbooks of notes, reflections, postcards, and information on Malaysia (my mum’s home country) – it must have taken her hours to read! I adored researching countries, people and issues and this was all before we could just type it into Google!
Skipping forward a few decades, to 2019 I now find myself as the Vice Dean (Education) and inaugural Professor of Business Education at King’s Business School. This came after an enjoyable period as the Deputy Dean for the Faculty of Business and Law at Anglia Ruskin University. Before joining Anglia Ruskin, I was the Head of Department for tourism, marketing and hospitality at Bedfordshire University. But, like so many of us, I have had several different jobs and have been a tourism lecturer and researcher, marketing and development officer, student advisor, and even a gardener in Australia!
My various university roles have allowed me to transform the student experience in numerous ways, these include: teaching tourism, raising awareness of equality and diversity through innovative projects; championing curriculum development in partnership with employers and students; advancing practices in assessment and feedback; and driving forward effective employability initiatives. As King’s College London’s inclusive education lead, and as the Committee of the ANTF’s Equality Officer, I do everything in my power to ensure barriers are removed to learning and to ensure that all students are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Being asked to look at these issues for disabled students opened my eyes to the challenges our students face and I was delighted to give the keynote at the Equality Challenge Unit conference (now Advance HE) (see photo below) and share ideas about creating an inclusive campus, in the Times Higher. My focus is now on reducing the BAME attainment gap and ensuring our faculty composition reflects that of our students; this is an argument I raise in a recent blog about the work business schools need to do in this space.
As the first person in my family to attend university, I have experienced the transformative power of higher education – it has opened some amazing doors for me. I was thrilled to receive my National Teaching Fellowship in 2017, and to become a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2014 and be team lead for a HEA Collaborative Teaching Excellence (CATE) Finalist Award, 2016. These accolades provided recognition of our work to champion pedagogic practice in terms of internationalisation, employability, and inclusive learning, teaching and assessment.
If I could offer one piece of advice to my younger self, it would be, where possible: surround yourself with positive people, and the opportunities will come if you have perseverance and passion. Don’t worry about what people think, just do what feels right. I encourage my mentees to say ‘yes’ to anything that sounds exciting, as this can lead to amazing journeys! I always endeavor to encourage students and colleagues to be brave enough to try and embrace the possibility of failure; and I will always support them in this adventure.
My priorities – aside from spending as much time as possible with my wife Em and dog Obi (see #Obiwalks) and running charity fun runs in silly costumes (see image!) – are driving forward innovation and creativity across the business curriculum, diversifying and improving assessment and feedback, fostering student-staff partnership through constructive collaboration, championing inclusion, equality and diversity, and providing leadership for those seeking to pursue an education-focused career. I also try and keep my tourism research alive and well!