A day in the life of... Simon Barrie

Simon Barrie

Professor Simon Barrie joined the University in January this year as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning Transformations). His role sits within the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic) division. 

Simon is responsible for leadership of strategic educational innovation and collaboration, shaping the University's commitment to ensuring our students fulfil their potential to become influential global citizens-scholars in a technology-enabled world.

Read on to find out what a day in the life of Simon Barrie entails…

Before Work

What do you have for breakfast and is there anything you do before you come to work?

My day starts early with a 5am coffee. I also check my emails and finish any reading for the day's meetings and make my lunch. By 6am I'm at the gym for a yoga class, if I can squeeze it in before work, then breakfast (I'm a muesli and fruit man), more coffee, then the joys of the M4 to Werrington – or bike and train if I'm working at Parramatta that day.

What do you do usually do when you first arrive at the University?

Say hello to anybody else who is in early – we are a small team and I rely on my colleagues a lot! I then get into the biggest thinking/writing task of the day before the phone starts interrupting.

At Work

Who do you work with?

Most of my work is with senior leaders across the University on strategic initiatives, teaching and curriculum. What that means is a lot of meetings and committees.

What are the two or three most important things you are currently working on?

Here are three things that are important, possibly for different reasons: I'm working on the final consultation stage of the new Learning Futures 2016 – 2020 Plan at present. It describes some of the exciting initiatives we will be working on to ensure we offer a genuinely transformative learning experience for our students. 

The work revising some of the University's (multitude of) policies is also important – as hopefully it will make life easier for everybody. I believe that policy is meant to help people provide a great education for our students – not get in the way of that. 

The other thing that's important to me is my own research. Currently that includes a couple of funded projects on doctoral education and early career academics, and my own PhD students – they are an amazing group and they keep my intellectual fires burning.

What regular meetings do you attend?

There are too many to list. I chair 10 University committees or working parties and I am a member of two dozen more. While committees take a lot of time, I actually find the work can be very rewarding and even fun – as long as it's a well-run committee. You get to make important decisions with your peers and can really influence the direction and life of the University.

What is something that can make a positive difference to your day?

Somebody stopping me to say hello and telling me yet another amazing story about this university.

After Work

What might we find you doing outside of work?

I love eating out nearly as much as I love cooking – and I'll be at the beach most summer weekends. However, my real 'down-time' passion is my garden – it runs in my family and I'll usually come to work on Monday sunburnt and still with some garden dirt under my nails.