Dr Laila Halani

Head of Department of Graduate Studies

I see my journey as one where the mother ship (in this case the IIS) facilitated and enabled my growth and journey as a GPISH student and doctoral scholarship recipient to my current stage where I have returned to my alma mater, enabling other students to realise their dreams.

Tell us a bit about your job. What’s a typical day like? 

As Head of Department, my role encompasses oversight of academic and non-academic aspects, and the academic standards and quality of our graduate programmes. As an academic, I teach, support students and engage with developments in learning and teaching in UK higher education. As a manager I work with a highly skilled and committed team, supporting them, guiding them and learning from them in equal measures. As a member of the Senior Management Team at the IIS I am involved in strategic planning, policy matters and engagement with internal and external stakeholders.

I wish I had a typical day (actually I am glad I don’t)! In a given day I may attend several meetings, review documents, and respond to unforeseen matters. The ideal but less typical day involves teaching, keeping myself abreast of developments in my discipline and my areas of academic interest, meeting students, and brainstorming with my team to identify ways of enhancing and strengthening the quality of student experience.

What was your path to your role?

I see my journey as one where the mother ship (in this case the IIS) facilitated and enabled my growth and journey as a GPISH student and doctoral scholarship recipient to my current stage where I have returned to my alma mater, enabling other students to realise their dreams.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Carving out time for my academic growth while juggling my numerous responsibilities. The other challenging part is to not only keep myself abreast of developments and changes to UK higher education but also reconciling some of the positive developments with the increasing commodification of education. In my view, education should ideally be a beautiful, uplifting and enlightening pathway to an enriching life rather than a commodity that individuals buy.

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