Paula specialises in student services, student wellbeing, mental health, community building, student experience and residential life. She is an excellent communicator who enjoys working in partnership with staff and institutions to identify opportunities for investing in a shared vision.
Paula joined SUMS in 2022, bringing a breadth of experience in Higher Education which she gained after completing her PhD focusing on community building utilising religious myths via patriotism.
Paula’s extensive experience in Higher Education has always been supporting students through a variety of leadership roles, focusing on enhancing student experience and wellbeing. Instigating and leading service transformation through innovative practices, and proactive support services to meet increasing mental health requirements and respective environmental circumstances.
Most recently, as Head of Student Support, Wellbeing and Inclusion at Staffordshire University, Paula had a wide remit including counselling, disability, inclusion, student wellbeing, international student support, support and guidance, chaplaincy, GP practice and student hub. Paula implemented the strategic transformation of individual services to a cohesive team structure through staff co-creation. This included the introduction of ‘single session therapy’ delivery for mental health and wellbeing services and re-locating the GP practice to within Student Services. At the same establishing a working partnership with the local NHS mental health services for a joint referral process. This work transformed the service, delivering timely student support while creating better cohesive team working conditions.
Previously, as Head of Residential Life at Manchester Metropolitan University, Paula led on the strategic development and implementation of a proactive Residential Life team, promoting student’s ‘sense of belonging’ and student community building. The transformation increased student retention for students living in university accommodation, and student satisfaction.
Paula’s passion for wellbeing and sense of belonging can be seen in her personal life. Leading couch-to-5k running groups at respective institutions and sharing her love of running for wellbeing.