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Behind the scenes with Deborah Keith

Hear from colleagues who are taking time to contribute to graduation week, find out about their role and what they enjoy about it. It's a chance to see some of the activity that goes on behind the scenes to help make graduation week a success.


Behind the scenes with...

Deborah Keith
Independent member of University Council

My usual role involves…
I sit on the boards or governing councils of a few different organisations around the UK. They range from publicly funded bodies through to start-ups. The role is very varied in terms of the people I interact with, and each organisation has a different set of challenges that I contribute to solving.

At Warwick, I am an independent member of the Council, which is the trustee body responsible for the overall financial health and good conduct of the University. I am currently the Council representative on the Institutional Teaching and Learning Review (ITLR) Steering Group, which oversees the review process that all academic and academic service departments are involved in at the moment. This gives me the opportunity to see the whole spectrum of the University’s education activities, so it is a fascinating role – especially when I get to see the culmination of successful teaching and learning at graduation too.

During graduation week…
As an independent member of council I attend the ceremonies and either have lunch or dinner with an interesting group of fellow attendees - senior University staff, honorary graduands, civic dignitaries, award winners and their guests.

I really enjoy…
being part of the day.

Graduation week is unique because…
It is a culmination of several years of hard work by students and teaching staff, and support from families so a reward for all. The build-up, the ceremonial aspect, the academic robes and attendance by eminent guests makes this different from many other ceremonies.

If I could change one thing about graduation it would be…
I would like a little more certainty that people will not trip and fall down the stairs. From the front row there are some frightening moments with heels, pot plants and steps! Many wonderful shoes though so wouldn’t like to see them go!

What would you say to colleagues considering getting involved?
The day is so important for students and their families and the positive energy so great that it is very rewarding being a part of it.

What invaluable tip or advice would you give graduands?
Keep learning, experiment with different roles!

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