During my studies at the Department of German Language and Literature at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) I spent a semester in the RUB, Germany, and I started teaching German. After receiving my Degree, I began working as administrative staff at the AUTh, having served at the Offices of Rectors and Vice Rectors for a total of 18 years. Relatively soon I realized that I wanted to improve my performance at my job and I studied for a Master’s degree in Marketing and Communication (Athens University of Economics and Business). My thesis focused on the evaluation of quality at Universities, a subject that emerged at the time. Following a 4 years on external secondment at the Delegation of Greece to the OECD in Paris, France, I was assigned the administrative responsibility of the newly established Quality Assurance Unit (QAU), in parallel with my duties as PA to the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs and Personnel.
Today I also hold the position of the Head of the Department of Studies.
The Unit’s main task was to introduce the aspect of quality in the fields of teaching and research and to support the academic Units and the faculty in implementing Quality Assurance Processes. The goal was and still remains ambitious, since Quality in Higher Education is multifaceted and concerns mainly a change of mentality.
Which aspects of your work/function do you appreciate the most?
Working at the Quality Assurance Unit (QUA) gives one the opportunity to be more creative, more flexible and to take more initiatives compared to other administrative units.
In our almost 15 years of service we were assigned the very difficult and challenging task to create, plan and implement all processes and tools regarding Quality Assurance, according to the general guidelines of the EU and the relevant National Agency.
Since the terms “Quality” and “Quality Assurance” in Higher Education were (and still are) rather vague for the majority of the academic community, our Unit had to convince all internal stakeholders about the importance and potential benefits of all new processes, as well as to persuade them to participate.
All the above demanded a lot of time and personal effort and communication, rather than following strictly specific legislation. However, seeing that our ideas, our initiatives, our processes and our IT tools contribute to the self-awareness at our Departments and to the improvement of the quality of education and research is extremely rewarding and encourages us to continue our hard work.
Do you think appreciation is important at work? And in which form?
Receiving and giving appreciation is the main motivating factor at all types of work. Especially, when working at a public University, where the terms of work are specific, and possible incentives are not “tangible”, recognition and appreciation by the superiors, among the colleagues and by the members of the University affected by our work, contribute to our satisfaction, to good team spirit and lead to better results.
What aspects of your workplace do you perceive as supportive in order to be motivated?
As I mentioned earlier, the fact that a public University has not the possibility to offer incentives, moral support and satisfaction we receive, constitute the main drivers to keep up the good work. This satisfaction derives mostly from the good working conditions, collaborations and relationships, the respect and understanding among all stakeholders, the recognition of efforts, fair treatment, non-discriminatory attitudes, sense of responsibility, not punishing behavior.
What would your ideal workday look like?
An ideal workday would be the one where everything would go as planned, without the need to adapt constantly to interruptions, to new instructions, guidelines and legislative changes deriving from various stakeholders. The constant changes do not permit efficient planning and constitute an obstacle to the implementation of new processes.