Andrea Siret

Head of Community Engagement, Oxford Brookes University
Regional Representative

Andrea has worked in community relations since 2007, initially as Community Communications Officer and over the years she has established the Community Engagement team at Oxford Brookes. At times the role has incorporated other areas such as in 2016 when she became Head of Alumni & Community Engagement and in 2019 when she was appointed Head of Community Engagement & Social Responsibility. Although there are aspects of work that align in these areas and cross-team working is essential to deliver the University’s strategy, the main vision for the team remains community engagement.

Responsible for university community relations Andrea oversees the management of concerns raised by local residents. She has managed the team through turbulent times and has introduced various campaigns and initiatives, such as the Student Community Warden Scheme and the House Champion Scheme, to help build positive relationships with University neighbours. Working in partnership with local agencies Andrea has led the University’s involvement in a joint case management approach in dealing with concerns regarding off-campus student behaviour. These initiatives have evolved and have reaped great rewards in recent years with a shift in attitude from local residents, resulting in the University reporting a notable reduction in complaints in 2023.

Andrea has a passion for helping others and supports students and permanent local residents in resolving conflicts. Eager to learn new skills to complement the work in this field Andrea gained her ILM Coaching and Mentoring Level 5 Certificate in 2017. The tools gained have been invaluable, not only for helping to resolve disputes, also using coaching techniques as manager has proved very useful. Now studying for her certificate in mediation, Andrea is keen to learn more ways to help students in conflict and hopes to apply these newly obtained skills by implementing further initiatives.

The University is also a supporting partner in Oxford City Council and Thames Valley Police’s new NightSafe Oxford network, which works to help keep people safe in the nighttime economy. Andrea is responsible for the University’s contribution to the partnership and seeks proactive ways to promote the network to staff and students, arranging regular personal safety events on campus and encouraging the use of the various interventions available through the network. As a result Andrea volunteers as an Oxford City Angel to help people who feel vulnerable and find ways of getting them home safely.

There has been a stronger focus for the Community Engagement team recently on development of the University’s campuses and the impact this may have on the local community, as Oxford Brookes moves from three campuses in Oxford to one. Andrea is the University contact for local residents and community groups, she works with colleagues to keep them apprised of university strategy and direction, plans for future development and how this may impact the surrounding area. She works with the community to help alleviate any concerns they have with any work taking place or planned.

Andrea hopes to continue to build on the recent successes by improving and expanding the initiatives and campaigns to help strengthen the University’s reputation with the local community.