null In the Spotlight: Lidia Sloutskovski

Lidia Sloutskovski is the Academic Office Manager, who started her service for the organisation in February 2021. The position has been newly created to reflect the organisational objective of becoming a higher education institution. At Academy she is in charge of the organisation of the academic affairs, including the coordination of the online course programme. She is also collaborating closely with the Academic Dean on the development of the department towards becoming a higher education institution. A propitious moment for a conversation with Lidia on her motivation and aspirations in her new job.

Amélé Ekué (AE): Lidia, you started a few weeks ago as our Academic Office Manager. What do we need to know about you?
Lidia Sloutskovski (LS): I am personally motivated by education. It's something that I have continually strived for in my own day-to-day life, and so the opportunity to assist others improving themselves is both satisfying and rewarding.

AE: Would you share a bit about your educational background and your professional experience prior to joining
LS: My educational background is in Business Administration combined with a project management certification. Previously I was working in the health sector, coordinating various educational activities for the healthcare professionals.

AE: Would you like to share with us your motivation to join and how you hope to make your expertise and experiences fruitful in this new professional setting?
LS: As just mentioned, personal development through education has always been a personal motivator, so when I saw the job description at - it's like it was written just for me. Life itself is a learning experience, so everything that I have learnt from all my previous jobs and colleagues continues to add value and I hope to continue sharing and building on that with the team here. If I had to choose one aspect then it would be my experience with managing complex educational activities within an international setting.

AE: Is there anything that stands out for you as a specific feature regarding the organisational culture of
LS: Everyone is so encouraging and positive, and I already felt this amazing atmosphere during the recruitment process! I really enjoy our weekly team meetings, especially the upskilling and reflection ones. These are the meetings when one chosen department shares something from their area of expertise; not only does it help us to develop new skills, but also learn more about their work activities! It's a very engaging and amazing opportunity to learn something new.

AE: What does a usual workday look like at the moment?
LS: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are currently working remotely. I prefer to have a clearly defined, yet flexible, plan for the day.  Usually I start with going through my emails and managing priorities for the day.  In the afternoon, we have zoom-meetings with colleagues, and live-sessions with course instructors and students.

AE: What tasks have you prioritised so far?
LS: What I see as the most important currently is a successful run of the current courses and working on a constant improvement of them!

AE: We are living in exceptional times, with a global pandemic holding us in firm grips. How does this affect your work – and where do you see the main challenges and opportunities for higher education and particularly for online education?
LS: In some fields, online solutions have peaked or become saturated as everyone is now offering online solutions. It's therefore the quality and convenience of our online solutions that will continue to make the difference. These are both challenges and opportunities. We want people to come to us because of our reputation and record of accomplishment of delivering quality education.

In addition, I think the main challenge is to stay motivated while you are not connected to others as while studying in a classroom. For this reason we developed a various live-events (webinars, orientation sessions, online-sessions with instructors), to make students more engaged in the learning process and to enrich their academic life.

AE: Has there been any particular highlight so far – an event, a personal experience at work or a dossier?
LS: Perhaps the Blue Table Webinar on Ethics and the Pandemic. We were privileged to have distinguished speakers from different corners of the world sharing their perspective on the pandemic. This was very thought provoking and showed me that is indeed global and unique organisation with the most valuable resource – our people, partners, faculty and students.

AE: You have joined in a unique phase of the organisational development. What do you hope to be able contributing?
LS: I hope to contribute to the accreditation process and to the development of the new educational activities. I would also be very interested in working more with our students, for example, by opening an alumni association and organising regular meetings and events. I believe it would be beneficial to our students, knowing that they belong to a global community and providing them with an opportunity to strengthen their own network.

AE: Every new professional endeavor also comes with aspirations and dreams. What would you hope to achieve in the next period to come?
LS: To be part of the team that takes online education to that next level, which adds value and garners external interest. That, alongside satisfaction and recognition will be my reward.

AE: Thank you, Lidia, for having opened a window to your perspectives on your work at through this interview. It is a pleasure collaborating with you and to sense that we can build something meaningful together.