A day in the life: Tim Vorley

The close-knit executive team at Oxford Brookes Business School has missed those watercooler moments

How long have you been in your job?

I started my job on 1st June 2020, and so I have only been to the office on campus a handful of times since starting, because of Covid-19. That said, I have probably met more people through virtual one-to-one meetings than would have been possible on campus – 174 and counting!

What is it about your job that gets you out of bed in the morning?

The thing about my role is that it is incredibly varied. There is no such thing as an average day. With my university hat on, I might be talking to colleagues about planning in the Business School, then focus on cross-university issues of enterprise entrepreneurship, or working on more strategic issues as a member of the senior management team for the university. As an active researcher, I regularly engage with a variety of different government departments – providing insight and evidence to inform future policy and programmes.

What’s the first thing you do when you get into work?

In days gone by, I would say check my email but, working from home, the reality is that I’ve done that with my first coffee of the day! If I’m not straight into a meeting, then I’m probably preparing for the next one. It certainly feels like life in lockdown has sped up, and it doesn’t feel like it is going to slow down any time soon.

Who are the two or three people you talk to on a daily basis?

There is at least one point every day where I touch base with my executive assistant, Pam, who, as the guardian of my diary, makes sure everything is scheduled and that I have time to get things done! In leading a close-knit executive team, I normally have ad hoc catch ups with them, as we try to recreate a watercooler moment to chat while largely working from home. I am also in regular contact with the research teams, businesses and policymakers on the various projects I’m responsible for.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The job is hugely varied, with a range of opportunities to work with smart staff, students and stakeholders. The thing that really excites me is the potential that Oxford Brookes Business School has to make a difference through our teaching and research, and I see my role as enabling that.

And the worst?

Although I haven’t had to do it many times, the worst thing about my job at the moment is the commute! I really do need to start looking for a house in Oxfordshire…

“It certainly feels like life in lockdown has sped up, and it doesn’t feel like it is going to slow down any time soon”

Your number one most vital prop/tool/piece of equipment?

I would probably say my iPhone, although perhaps that is a bit clichéd! Despite being shackled to my computer most days, it is always near to hand.

How did you get into your job?

As an inquisitive mind, I’m not surprised I became a research professor, although I’m not sure I ever anticipated leading a business school! Over the years I assumed a range of portfolio and research leadership responsibilities, and the opportunity at Oxford Brookes brought these all together in a job that looked exciting – and it is.

What is it about your personality that makes you suitable for the role?

I think it is probably my energy and enthusiasm, my vision is to increase the reputation of Oxford Brookes Business School and realise our potential.

Which five words sum up your typical day?

Inspiring, challenging, varied, engaging, energising.

If you weren’t in this role, what would you be?

In my old role!

Tim Vorley is pro vice-chancellor and dean of Oxford Brookes Business School


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