I started my new job as Customer Services Manager, Information Services at Heriot Watt University of 5th June. So far so good - I've enjoyed it and have made some progress or at least found out a bit about the place and the people.
The first day was taken up to a great extent with an HEA STEM Social Media Workshop (more about that in a separate blog post) which was a useful way of meeting various people but not having to absorb lots of information straight away about everything new.
My role involves managing the library service desk and the IT helpdesk and the staff involved in these areas - basically everything that is front line / first line - the customer / student interface. The library and IT services at Heriot Watt are converged into the Information Services directorate. I like this set up - I think it is really important that the library is connected to the technology and technical aspects and provision in order to get the support that is needed. Also vice versa, the customer service of IT helpdesks and IT support can often be improved by collaborating with library service desk staff who are experienced at answering enquiries.
My line manager has been great - very supportive and informative and I know how difficult it is when you're busy to find time for new staff starting.
My strategy has been to talk to as many people as possible to find out what they do and what happens in the team / directorate. I started with the library service desk staff and just asked them to tell me anything about what they do and about what happens on a day to day basis or anything that they think would be of interest to me. I explained that I'm looking for an overview to start building up a picture of what it's all about. A lot of the staff have been at the University for a long time and are very experienced. I was pleased to hear that they are quite keen on change but would like to know more about what is planned and more communication - so this is a fairly typical situation.
From the point of view of the helpdesk, I think this is the same opinion although I'm not unaware that lots of these changes are going to be easier said than done but I'm hopeful. I like finding out how places operate their service desks - it's a bit like a puzzle where all of the pieces are similar at different institutions but are different shapes and sizes in the individual jigsaws.
The other things I've done are to attend some meetings - there was a meeting about the new self service system that's going to be implemented in the library over the summer - very exciting.
I attended a session by one of the librarians from HW Borders Campus which was very informative and interesting for me because of the FE aspects. The campus is 'shared' with Borders College and HW supply the library service.
I went along to an Information Skills Group Meeting which I think is a subset or greater set of the Subject Librarians Group. They were discussing the sessions that they are going to be running next semester for students and staff. They have a wide variety of sessions and these are popular and well attended. They also mentioned induction sessions / library essentials sessions. Although this won't be under my remit, it was good to sit in and listen to what they have planned.
I've started to explore the campus - I wasn't sure how I would like a campus university as I've always studied at and worked at city centre universities but I quite like it. It's like a village or mini town with everything there. The grounds are beautiful and my office has a window that looks out onto the gardens - so far, very good.