Jane Challenger Gillitt is one of 26 people from the Higher Education sector nationally who have been nominated for a UCU-Endsleigh Life Changers' award. Jane will be presented with her award at a celebration evening in London on Wednesday 16 May.
Jane has been nominated for this award in recognition of her valuable work inspiring and nurturing students in the school.
We are very student-centred. We are approachable from the very beginning, so that if they feel stressed or in need of help, they know they can get help from us. The help and guidance we give them at the beginning, where they see their personal tutor every week, helps to support students who may not be from families with a tradition of going into higher education.
Jane is responsible for implementing this approach, working with the School’s student support and welfare tutor, who acts as a referral service for students. Strong retention figures in a difficult subject area suggest the strategy is working.
Gary McQuade was one student who benefited from Jane’s willingness to help. He started a course in Computing and Information Systems in 2000 as a mature student.
I went into a class of younger people who were fresh out of A-Levels and had a better grasp of some of the subject matter. I found it rather intimidating, just trying to stay afloat, and Jane was a good source of support.
No matter what the subject was, even if it was something she wasn’t an expert in, she would always take the time to find the information and then come back to you. She would never give you the answer. She would try and empower you to do it yourself, purely by allowing you to look at it from different angles and perspectives, or by taking a step back.
The time and effort Jane invested in Gary paid off. He graduated in 2004, and is now working for an oil company in Aberdeen.
Jane gave me the confidence to do a lot of different things. She made me realise the value of what I had to offer and the way that I expressed myself. She saw something that I didn’t, something that I had to offer, and she nurtured it and helped me to refine it.