Anil works closely with the School's Head, Professor Rebecca Ivers, in the role of providing strategic direction for the school and advocating to Faculty and Senior Management on resourcing the school’s operations and funding new initiatives.
Anil has a Bachelor of Science and Masters in International Development. Before joining UNSW, Anil worked for non-government organisations and community organisations, sparking an interest in core development work. She joined the School in 2008 as a lateral move from the Faculty of Science, where she was School Manager, seeking to take herself out of a comfortable position and challenge herself. Anil is currently focused on student recruitment, and ensuring that the school meets the enrolment plan set for 2020, a task that COVID-19 has made highly atypical. She is also currently helping to develop the School's new strategic focus and expanding its Bachelor Degree program.
What has been a highlight in your work with the School?
The highlight of my work has been the opportunity to get involved in various projects including the Human Resources for Health Knowledge (HRH) Hub, the Yunus Social Business Health Hub (YSBHH), and the inception of the Future Health Leaders program. Working at SPHCM gives me the opportunity to be involved in domestic and international health-related projects.
As Administration Manager, what’ve been some post COVID-19 changes to the way the school and its staff work? How different does your average working day look?
Traditionally, SPH, being a large teaching and research school, has staff physically located in the school and working from their offices. The two floors of the Samuels Building was a hub of activity with lots of people interaction, both organised (meeting and seminars) and impromptu (staffroom interaction, corridor conversations). The School has a strong culture of being open, communicative, and interactive. On a normal day I would have a line of people popping in to see me to ask questions or for advice, or just to say hello.
My average day now involves connecting by email, phone and lots of Microsoft Teams meetings. Work still happens, but sometimes it is hard to gauge the pulse and to read colleagues’ body language. Having said that, the admin team is quite connected and we have weekly team huddles (changed from monthly) and continue with fortnightly one-to-one meetings. The team better understands the roles and responsibilities of their colleagues and everyone feels they can contribute.
How has COVID-19 impacted the school's enrolment/recruitment process? What sort of difficulties are you encountering?
The bulk of programs offered by the School are in the postgraduate space, and with delivery in both modes – face-to-face and online. COVID-19 has really enhanced the importance of Public Health and Training in Public Health among the general population, resulting in extraordinary demand for our programs from the domestic market. My role is to try and manage the applications so that we maintain our high standards, while also remaining within the allocated quotas and available resourcing. In the scheme of things, this is a good problem to have!
Although international recruitment has declined due to the travel restrictions, some students are enrolled and studying from their home countries until they are in a position to travel. The advantage of enrolling in any of our programs is that it they are offered in dual modes, and we have over 25 years’ experience teaching online, so students overseas can still graduate with a degree without having to be on campus.
What motivates you in your work in public health, and how has COVID-19 changed your perspective on its importance?
I always knew that public health work is important, but COVID-19 has taken the importance to a new level. As a school we have now built better relationships and connections with agencies like the World Health Organisation and NSW Health, and we contribute positively to all the public health response-related activities around COVID-19. My main motivator in my work is the accomplished and dedicated people I work with.
What advice would you give to those considering a career in public health research and administration?
My advice is that if you want a rewarding, secure, contemporary, and valuable career with lots of challenges, then higher education administration is definitely an option. Working in a school/faculty/centre that either relates to your academic qualifications or aligns with your interests is even more rewarding.