Professor Sally Jackson

Could you tell us about your contribution, Sally?Prof. Sally Jackson

My outstanding contributions were to external and professional engagement (E&PE) and academic citizenship and leadership (AC&L), with a significant contribution to teaching and learning (T&L).

I have a love and insatiable curiosity of people. I am quite extravert which enables me to interact openly and freely. I love everything about my role. However, I really enjoy the opportunities to engage externally, showcasing the work we are doing at Hallam, presenting at conferences and being part of “think-tanks” and policy development. I like creating and maintaining relationships and during my career I have had the pleasure of meeting some wonderfully interesting people with whom I have developed rapport.

My area of academic interest is coaching and mentoring so no surprise then that I enjoy interacting with people. I love helping people move from thinking “I can’t do that”, to realising “oh perhaps I can” to celebrating their achievement of “I did it”! I honestly get as much of a thrill as the individual does and it never diminishes. It’s fabulous; an honour and a privilege to support colleagues.

Just one example of work that I really enjoy is with Advance HE. Aurora is Advance HE’s leadership development programme for women. I am Hallam’s Institutional Champion as well as mentor, role model and guest speaker. I was very pleased when I was invited to sit on the Aurora Advisory Group.

What does it mean personally to you to be a professor at Hallam?

It is beyond my wildest dreams frankly and I am still pinching myself. My career trajectory has had many twists and turns as well as ups and downs and I am not a traditional academic. In that sense I regard my title of Professor as one for the team in professional services.

Tell us a bit about your career story so far.

My career didn’t have the start that I had planned. A car accident at the age of 17 ended my expectations of attending university as an undergraduate and it stalled my development and affected my confidence – for years. My injuries were extensive, and I needed a lot of surgery. A fracture of the skull affected speech and memory function.

I have had the fortune to work in many sectors. Private sector (NatWest Bank), Charity and Voluntary Sector (National Trust), Public Sector (NHS) and then higher education. There was a sense of “coming home” when I joined HE and I have worked in professional services, research and teaching and learning, and in a number of universities. I started at Hallam as an interim in 2017 as the Director of Human Resources and quickly changed its focus to be Organisational Development as much as the traditional HR. In 2019 I was made Chief People Officer and in 2022 had the title of Pro Vice-Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion added.

If you could go back in time and give yourself some career advice, what would it be?

Never give up!

Whilst none are us are the same and the way we make meaning of experiences is different, I really want to continue to help others with their careers and potential.

What’s next? How do you want to further develop your contribution?

  • Facilitate collaborative work with other universities and cross-sectors.
  • Enhance both the academic and professional services environment.
  • Confirm Hallam’s commitment to equity, equality, diversity and inclusion (EEDI) with policymakers and regulatory bodies such as Office for Students (OfS), UUK, UHR, CIPD and CMI.
  • Continue work in attracting a world-class, more diverse staff base.
  • Increase the likelihood of externally funded international projects.
  • Influence UK and International EEDI policy makers
  • Facilitate the representation of the University at national and international EEDI-related fora.
  • Strengthen the commercial case for EEDI related work.
  • Inspire students and staff from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds to strive for senior leadership positions.
  • Build influential relationships with potential donors.