Meet Alison Franklin

Alison Franklin Profile Pic outside with bright scarfAcademic Registrar Alison Franklin has been supporting students from admission to graduation throughout her ten years working at college. In this interview, first published in the 2022 issue of Observatory magazine, she discusses her role, changes in college and more.

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I was brought up in London, one of four children. As a young teenager I knew that I wanted to study languages. I eagerly took part in all the school exchanges on offer. My parents encouraged us to travel; as a result our house was always full of friends from different parts of the world. I’m sure I was influenced by that. I completed a degree in French, German and European Studies in Nottingham, during which time I spent a year in Strasbourg teaching.

You then continued to live across Europe?

Indeed. I went on to spend a year teaching English in Brussels. I fell in love and moved with my partner, now of 30 years, to Sicily. I spent six years overseas in my 20s, and I have very fond memories of living abroad, learning how to fit in, establishing support systems, improving my languages. When we moved back to the UK, our first daughter in tow, I worked in the European department at De Montfort University, supporting academics teaching languages, European culture and diversity.

How did that lead you to Green Templeton?

We moved to Oxford and in 1999 I joined Blackwell’s Book Services, working in academic library supply to university libraries in France and Germany. After ten years there, I needed a change. I returned to a role in education and worked in a private business college in Oxford, which was the stepping stone for me. I joined Green Templeton in late 2012 as Student Administrator. It was wonderful to move back to an educational environment and specifically to one which was so international at heart. That’s something that consistently spurs me on, the next best thing to living abroad. I was promoted to Academic Registrar in 2018.

What are your main responsibilities and challenges?

As Academic Registrar I run the College Office, which encompasses everything from admissions to graduation, and everything in between! One of the biggest challenges is at the beginning of the academic year. With over 300 students arriving every year on a multitude of different programmes, we strive to be welcoming, reassuring, informative, to help new students establish a stable, happy environment to which they feel they can belong, build memories and thrive. The numerous events we put on at the start of each year are a real team effort, involving individuals from right across the college. Throughout the year, the College Office team strives to meet the needs of our students: whether with academic concerns, or issues relating to welfare, health or other life experiences. Working in a welfare role means that I have had to learn when I need to drop everything to follow up on a concern. I’m on my toes all the time! There is always that fear of missing that student who isn’t able or doesn’t know how to ask for help.

The best things?

Meeting a student who I had worked closely with at a recent degree ceremony with their family. I was reminded of the significant impact that a member of staff can have in helping individual students get to that point – that’s where I get part of my job satisfaction. And of course, working with such a super supportive team!

How has college changed during your time here?

There has been a real growth in student numbers and there are, rightly so, high expectations of the whole Oxford student experience. With the growth in numbers comes the demand on resources. We have seen, for example, since 2015 a significant rise in the number of students declaring disabilities. I think the college’s sense of identity has become clearer during my time here, and we are nailing it down through the work on the strategy. It’s really helpful to have a tangible grasp of the essence of Green Templeton and where we are heading. I believe the college has something quite unique to offer.

How do you relax outside work?

I do plenty of things from coastal walking, to running to silversmithing. I love ‘active’ holidays, cooking and being with my family. I burn the candle at both ends and try to live life to the full.

Created: 25 April 2023