Mrs Alison Sowerby, Undergraduate Programmes Officer in the School of Law, died suddenly on 20 December 2009.
Alison trained as a teacher and taught in primary schools in Kirklees and Wakefield between 1976 and 1989. She also gained a BA degree from the Open University during this period. Having decided on a career change, Alison completed a diploma with the National Business College. Appointed to a clerical post in the then Department of Fuel and Energy in August 1989, she quickly established herself as a capable and competent colleague, becoming Departmental Secretary and taking charge of the Departmental General Office. The wide and varied experience she gained in this capacity stood her in good stead when Fuel and Energy and three other departments combined to become the School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering (SPEME) in 1999. As a senior member of the new Schools Student Support Office, Alison took responsibility for setting up new systems for the administration of the Schools taught programmes, and for training other staff in the use of these systems. Admissions, registration, examinations and student progression all came within her remit. Alison took over responsibility for the management of the office as a whole in 2002, following the retirement of the previous incumbent. She was very highly regarded within SPEME for the quality of her work and her excellent organisational skills, which enabled her to respond quickly and effectively to the many demands associated with a highly demanding and constantly evolving role. She also enjoyed cordial relationships with her academic and administrative colleagues.
Between 2005 and 2006, Alison held short-term appointments in, successively, the Learning and Teaching Office of the Dental Institute and then the Faculty of Biological Sciences, where her post included responsibility for co-ordinating training in research skills for postgraduates and support for the Facultys taught postgraduate programmes. In October 2006, Alison was appointed to a newly-established post of Undergraduate Programmes Officer in the School of Law, with responsibility for advising undergraduates on personal development planning and improving their study skills. To this appointment, too, Alison brought a very high degree of proficiency and enthusiasm, and she was popular and respected among colleagues and students alike.
Outside work, Alison was an accomplished musician; in each of her teaching posts before coming to Leeds she had been responsible for the schools music. She played a range of instruments, including the piano and the flute, and was an Associate of the London College of Music. She was also a keen and talented singer and had a long-standing involvement with the Batley Gilbert and Sullivan Society. As well as taking part in concerts and productions both as a chorus member and principal soloist, she served the Society in a variety of other capacities, including spells as Vice-President and President. In April 1998, Alison was awarded the highly-prized Long Service Medal of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association for her twenty-five years service to the amateur stage.
The funeral of Alison, who is survived by her husband, Chris, took place on 5 January.
Published: 12 January 2010