Julia Janiszewska – A Day in the Life

Who are you?

My name is Julia Janiszewska. I work in China Joint Colleges Office (CJCO). I am a programme manager for Chang’an Dublin International College (CDIC). I am a huge multi-culture, languages and music aficionado. 

How did you get here? What was the journey to UCD?

My adventure with Irish education started when I arrived in Ireland 15 years ago. I managed to get a part-time job in private education sector, from there I moved to Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and then almost 11 years ago I started my first job in UCD which was Assessment Administrator in CDL. After approximately 1,5 year I moved to Registry where I had different roles, but most of my time there I worked as a College Liaison. Eventually, in November 2020 I joined China Joint Colleges team.

What is your role within UCD, and what are your main responsibilities?

My main responsibilities are building good relationship with our students, our partners in China, UCD academics, Colleges and Schools that are involved in our programmes, making sure that our students have good experience, and they are treated fairly, also managing CJC websites, CDIC programmes assessment, GAP preparation and many other tasks that sometimes are unpredictable.

Could you briefly describe what a typical day looks like for you?

Due to time difference between China and Ireland (seven hours in summer and eight hours in winter) very often I start working around 8am to allow the time to meet with colleagues in China or reply to the issues that arise during their working day. I try to answer all questions and catch up with my colleagues before they go home, otherwise it feels like we lost one day for solving an issue. It is a typical part. The rest depends on the period of time. There can be a lot of time spent on converting the grades and uploading them to the system or exchanging the grades with our partners, preparation for Academic Committees or grade approval process, making sure that majors are built accurately and all assessment strategies on the modules are correct and in place, collecting the information about CDIC students coming to Dublin in summer or for whole academic year, updating China Joint Colleges websites, helping our lecturers and students with their queries.

What are some of the most interesting or challenging tasks you encounter on a regular basis? Why are they unavoidable?

With the pandemic break and lack of possibility to travel we didn’t have a chance to build a proper relationship. Culturally the best way to build trust is to have face-to-face conversations. We only started to travel recently. Because of the cultural differences and language barriers it requires more effort to achieve agreement. Another challenge: for the first time we will have stage 4 on our two programmes Automotive Engineering and Transport City Planning & Environmental Policy. It is almost like starting two new projects. On one hand, there is sort of fright if everything goes well, on the other hand we have a lot of experience running stage 4 of Civil Engineering Infrastructure so I am sure it will help.

Are there any specific projects or initiatives you or your unit are currently working on that you would like to share?

Connectivity is a big issue in China. Using Google is illegal thus it is difficult to find a way around. We are teaming up with UCD IT Services to find the best solution.

Is there a process or element of your work that you would improve or change? 

To avoid human errors my dream is to have one system that would allow better transfer of data between Chang’an University and UCD, example grades exchange or student registration data.

Could you share a memorable experience you’ve had while working in your role?

The most memorable are always meeting with the students, being able to participate in their after-class activities, to see their passion, energy and commitment. I find thrilling to hear that their classes inspire them to follow their dreams. Recently, I chatted to a student who got inspired by one of the classes run by UCD lecturer. The class was about sustainable development from automotive engineering perspective. The student got so excited that after the class he started looking for the internship in this area and he found a Sustainable Development Goals focused company, joined one of their projects and already managed to present on one of the local professional industry events. It is also very satisfying to meet our lecturers and feel their passion for teaching and hear their stories. We have lecturers from many different countries so there is a lot to share and learn from.

Is there a particular skill or expertise that helps you in your role and what advice would you give to someone joining your unit?

I love learning from other cultures, looking for differences and common points. It teaches me patience and allows to be more open and understand the world better. This is a job for someone with open mind and patience as a bit of chaos is expected and unavoidable.

How do you collaborate with other teams or colleagues in your day-to-day work?

I collaborate on daily basis with UCD Schools and academics from Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Architecture, Planning & Environmental Policy and my colleagues from Registry. It is mostly exchange of information, looking for advice or support also constantly working on some improvements.

Are there any common misconceptions about your role?

It is not really about my role, but most of the time when I say I am in China Joint Colleges Office people think we are based in Confucius Institute. Well, we are not. We are in Library, James Joyce Building, on the 5th floor.

How do you see your job changing over the next ten or twenty years?

All depends on the global situation. I hope it will be less manual and there will be a lot of time to build relationships with our students, academics and administrative colleagues.

What is an achievement big or small you’ve had while in this role?

The big achievement is still to come! I hope! Without perfect reports that were needed I had to learn how to build reports outside UCD system. It was very useful to learn that. 

If your job had a theme song or soundtrack, what would it be [and why]?

What comes to my mind is Black Thunder by the Hu with Serj Tankian & Daniel Laskiewicz. It is a very eclectic piece and has very oriental flavour. It gives me great energy and if there are chaotic or stressful situations it helps me to calm down. Well, both albums of the Hu are powerful, and their live shows are breath-taking. Their music is something that truly inspires.

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