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Diane Jacks

We are very sorry to report the death, on 20 June 2005, of Diane Jacks, formerly Assistant Director (Administrative) of the School of Continuing Education.

Malcolm Chase, Chair of the School, and a longstanding friend and colleague, has contributed the following obituary:

"A graduate in English of the University of London, Diane Jacks came to Leeds in 1966 where she studied English language and medieval English for the degree of MPhil. In 1968 she took up the post of Departmental Assistant in what was then the Department of Adult Education and Extra Mural Studies, and with it the Assistant Wardenship of its Adult Education Centre in Bradford, a post she held until 1973. Concurrently she did some tutoring in the School of English.

Diane was an important force in consolidating and extending the Universitys work in Bradford and soon captured the respect of departmental colleagues in Leeds itself, whom she joined in 1973. She was mainly responsible for the organisation of the Departments Liberal Studies Division, and increasingly involved in the management of its programme of part-time courses (some 180 annually) in a huge variety of venues across the West and North Ridings. She also developed, with considerable success, an extensive programme of day schools, drawing on the academic expertise of staff from across the campus as well as from outside the University.

During the late 1980s Dianes involvement in the management of support staff and financial systems, across what had become a large, varied and complicated department, increased. The importance of her contribution was recognised in 1992 when she became one of the departments two Assistant Directors. Nominally, at least, responsible for administration, Dianes influence and energies extended into the development of policies and systems to support many aspects of continuing education at Leeds, notably the Schools pioneering initiatives in the field of what would now be called widening participation. Far-sighted and shrewd, her excellent advice was greatly valued by her senior colleagues, so too (albeit perhaps with the luxury of hindsight) her occasional bracing criticisms. She continued in the Assistant Directors role until her retirement in July 1999. Typically modest, she refused the offer of any formal valedictory presentation.

Diane set herself and expected of those with whom she worked the very highest professional standards. The self-discipline and focus she brought to her work lightly disguised a dry sense of humour, distaste for pretension of any kind, and a caring and compassionate friend to any colleague confronting difficulty. She believed passionately in liberal adult education and her commitment to the Departments mission and its students was legendary. She continued to take a detached, critical interest in events at Leeds but her retirement to her native Shropshire was sadly dogged by ill health.

We offer our condolences to Diane's husband, Stephen Meyer."