We are the champions
Teraesa Ashworth is no stranger to moving. Since starting at the City campus in 1991, she has worked in a number of departments and buildings. In 2002, she was involved in moving the Faculty of Information Technology (as it was then called) from building 4 to building 10.
It’s no surprise then that Ashworth, School Administration Officer for the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology’s (FEIT) School of Software, has been nominated as one of 20 ‘move champions’ helping the faculty relocate into the new Broadway building early next year.
While the title ‘move champion’ conjures up images of cape-wearing super humans, Ashworth describes the role in more modest terms.
“I’m the relocation go-to person for the 32 people in my school. I’m responsible for passing information onto staff from faculty management and UTS’s relocation consultants MovePlan, as well as providing MovePlan with information from staff,” she says.
“I know this place inside out, which I didn’t when I first helped the faculty move into building 10, so it’s easier to coordinate and engage staff this time around. But this move is a lot bigger and will involve a lot more work as we get closer.”
2014 will see three new buildings open. FEIT will be the first cab off the rank, with the faculty’s 850 staff and research students moving between April and July. Following that, staff from the UTS Business School, Faculty of Science and Graduate School of Health will move into their respective new homes – the Dr Chau Chak Wing building and Thomas Street building – in time for teaching to start in 2015.
For FEIT, communication about the move officially kicked off with a faculty town hall meeting in July which Ashworth says, was “very beneficial”.
“Since then, I’ve also sent out a number of emails and put posters up about our clear-out drives.”
The biggest challenge has been getting people to start cleaning out their offices. “The office spaces will be smaller in the new building so a lot of stuff has to either be thrown out or taken home.
“People underestimate how many things they have and this tends to be at the bottom of the priority list, especially as the move still seems so far away. But we’re encouraging everyone to do a little bit each week to avoid the mad panic at the end.”
In an effort to reduce the number of books staff have in their offices, the School of Software has also launched a weekly book giveaway for students.
“This initiative is working well,” says Ashworth. “Students love it and academics like knowing their books are going to a good home.”
Ashworth is also happy to be working closely with MovePlan to minimise the impact of the move on staff.
“We know people are time poor and concerned about the disruption, particularly on teaching. We’re doing our best to accommodate everyone’s needs, including scheduling office clear-outs during the semester break,” says Ashworth. “Keeping staff regularly updated has meant we’ve alleviated a lot of anxiety.”
The next step though, “is letting everyone know where they are going to sit. Each school and department has been allocated an area and they will ultimately be in charge of who goes where. This is when the move will become real for a lot of people.
“Moving into the new building will also bring our whole faculty together under the one roof for the first time. It’s all very exciting.