Who's Who - Doug Little, Project Manager
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
The "Who's Who" series focuses on introducing you to key members of the International Student Mental Health project. Today we're talking to Doug Little, Project Manager
Tell us a bit about yourself
I'm Doug Little. I'm based in Derby, where I was born and raised, but I've worked and studied in universities across the UK. I studied politics at the University of Essex and then the London School of Economics. It did not take me long to figure out that I didn't want to be a part of any of the political parties.
After graduation, I began my career in the HE sector working in professional services within Birmingham City University and then Canterbury Christ Church University before heading back up and joining the University of Nottingham in 2019. I held various roles in programme administration, partnership development and international relations and senior management positions.
I enjoy swimming (when they reopen my pool again) and the usual stuff – I like films and binge-watching series. I enjoy reading, and I'm a bit of a gamer and think I'm the only person who owns a Nintendo Switch without Animal Crossin.
My main life goal has been to get a dog, and after badgering breeders everywhere I've succeeded - meet Mable (the puppy)!
What do you do?
As the project manager, I work partnership-wide to ensure to support all partners in fulfilling the objectives of the project overall. I manage the projects overall progress plan, the budget and the various strategies related to a successful project. For example, our communication management strategy, risk and issue register and other project documentation.
As a senior member of the team, I also play a crucial role in championing the project in the sector, representing the project with the Office for Students (our funder). This work also includes speaking at events, meeting with key people in universities, students' unions and beyond, and working with the media to promote the project and student mental health more broadly.
One of the best parts of my job was, before the outbreak, I got to travel and meet with the partners but also to visit other UK University campuses to see how they best support international students on their sites.
Why did you get involved in the project?
I've worked in international offices previously, and from there you see the value that international students bring to university communities, but also the challenges that many of them face in coming to study in a different country.
Working in a range of universities, who managed international student support differently, it became clear that some aspects worked better than others and I think what's great about this project is we're looking at what universities are doing now, on the ground, to support students and celebrating these. The project is focussed on impact and practice.
I also care deeply about mental health and wellbeing. I'm honestly overjoyed that, as a society, we're beginning to grow more comfortable with talking about mental health and illness and that, I hope more and more people are seeking help from friends, family and professionals. I saw this project as a key for me to support that progress.
Tell us about your header photo
The photo is from a holiday I took visiting one of my best friends who was living in Brazil at the time. It's of the Iguazu Falls which sits on the border between Brazil and Argentina. The collection of falls make up the largest in the world. My friend organised us to travel there as a birthday gift and I recommend everyone to do it.
Working in Partnership
The project is nation-wide and we're making a real effort to engage with everyone interested in international student mental health, including universities, mental health services, students unions, sector bodies, charities and organisations such a private student accommodation.
The project is led by the University of Nottingham, in partnership with the University of Nottingham Students' Union, University of Leeds, Leeds University Union, SOAS, SOAS Students' Union, Student Minds and Campuslife Ltd.
Project funded as part of the Office for Students Mental Health Challenge Competition.
Owned by Doug Little