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A Day in the Life of a Salford Uni Academic

Alex Fenton and Marta Rodriquez, Big Chip Awards

Me and my MSc student Marta Rodriquez, Big Chip Awards

As part of the University of Salford’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, staff and students are being asked to capture their thoughts and activities from a particular day in their life at Salford Uni. My day was 03 Feb 2017, so here are a few thoughts about what happened on that day. The day started with a coffee and a think about the plan for the day ahead. I’m currently working on my PhD in digital marketing and I am just in the process of writing up 50,000 words for the next assessment point which is the Internal Evaluation. It was quite exciting to bring together all of the chapters I’ve written so far and go on a mini conference tour of my findings so far before Christmas. This included a recent book launch, where I presented on the chapter I’d written. On Friday, I was going through a list of suggested changes from my PhD supervisor Chris to my document, so that it’s ready for the next person to review. Ideally, this should have taken the majority of the day, but life as a full time academic means that I am working on lots of things concurrently. To that end, I sent 52 emails on that day relating to those various projects and supporting my students at Undergraduate, Postgraduate, CPD and personal tutees.

PhD in digital marketingOn Thursday, we’re starting our Search and Social Media Marketing CPD Short Course again over at MediaCityUK. This is where companies come in for 10 Thursday evenings to learn more about digital marketing. I had to finish off the course materials and email all of the people signed up to the course and then communicate with them to get them started. I’m looking forward to the course starting again as you always meet some great and interesting people and it’s always fun.

Part of my role currently is as Associate Director for the Sport ICZ (Industry Collaboration Zone). The University has a new strategic vision based on building on our already excellent industry links and creating some exciting new partnerships and initiatives. One of these is around creating a community campus and recruiting 50 social coaches from the University. These coaches will inspire young people through sport and creative approaches. Next week, we are going to see Manchester Institute for Health Performance. We have an exciting new partnership with them and the Manchester City Group, so I was also making preparations for this visit.

One of the other projects associated with this is called Footy Fit. This is a project aimed to create a fitness app for fans of a particular sporting club. We’re working with some great sports clubs currently who are interested in the idea of fan engagement through social media and apps whilst becoming more aware of their Footy Fit Native app vs Responsivefitness levels through gamification. We are currently writing an academic paper on this project where we have taken an action research approach. In addition, on this day, I wrote an article for a website we write for called the Conversation. The article is on Football and Social media relating to Blackburn Rovers. My PhD is about Salford FC and digital media, but working with and writing about other sports clubs has also been enlightening.

With all of these exciting things going on, Friday’s jobs spilled over into the weekend and I managed to read and mark a couple of MSc final dissertations whilst travelling and then get a bit more done on the academic papers and my PhD on Sunday. It is true to say, working as a lecturer at Salford and studying a PhD whilst working in the ICZ role and supporting my students keeps me very busy. I love the varied nature of my role though and when things go well and you get recognition for that, it is really rewarding. I’m excited about the events I’m involved with this year, in particular our Innovating Future Ideas Competition with 5 investors and 15 Universities and our Creative Entrepreneur event in November at MediaCityUK, where we hope to have over 500 people. We’ve already started planning these and they should cap off an amazing 50th year! I hope this article gives a bit of a flavour about life at Salford, do drop me a line if you would like to discuss anything in this article.

 

Alex Fenton

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