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Meet the Principal

Alumni Stories, Health Sciences News.

 michael-blog-photoAn Adult Nursing graduate, Mike Sonny is now at the helm of London Waterloo Academy. We asked the former health professional what life is like in the Principal’s Office.

Can you tell me about your time at City?

I graduated in 2004 with a PG Diploma in Adult Nursing. The lectures were informative, interactive, well-structured, challenging and fun at the same time. We had plenty of opportunities to practice in clinical placements thanks to the faculty. I loved the engagement of academic literature, research and the science of nursing.

All in all, this course was an amazing experience, particularly having to attend lectures in various locations around the city. Not easy at times but it was like an adventure locating the various sites.

What happened after you graduated?

I went into clinical practice and a turn of events took me into teaching in Further Education and Higher Education (FE/HE) colleges – I was actually headhunted! Whilst at City, I had always had this feeling that I would end up in the teaching, research and training UK workforce.

From lecturing, I became Director of Studies for several years. In 2007, I was appointed Principal of London College of Management. I had also obtained an MSc in Public Service Management from the London South Bank University, and so the desire to combine management and leadership was irresistible for me.

During that year I was also invited to Bangladesh by the UK awarding body OTHM, to launch their flagship qualification (Level 4-7 QCF). That success led to my being conferred a Fellowship, followed by another whilst Head of Establishment of Scott’s College

In 2009, I held the position of Associate Professor – Marketing Research at Schiller International University, London, before they relocated back to Florida, USA. Since 2010, I have settled down as the Principal / CEO of London Waterloo Academy; providing education and training to the UK workforce in Dental Nursing, Health and Social Care, Management, Airline Cabin Crew, languages and Corporate Training.

What was the transition from teacher to principal like?

I was actually headhunted again for the position of Principal. For me, the transition was challenging but I had to get stuck in because I was already the Director of Studies across the FE/HE College and leading a team of lecturers and other staff members. This involves upholding quality assurance, leading institutional accreditations, maintaining standards, international student recruitment and maintaining Home Office regulatory requirements.

What has been the biggest challenge?

Keeping up with the breath of regulatory changes across the HE/FE sector has to be my biggest challenge e.g. upholding and maintaining institutional accreditation from regulators like (QAA, BAC, ASIC, ISI, Home Office) all of whom continue to have an impact on leading higher education in the UK. Another huge challenge is maintaining student satisfaction, achievements, retention and funding.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

I would say student satisfaction and achievement. I was again privileged to participate in our 2016 Graduation ceremony and I was moved when children of our graduating students came up to me and requested to wear my graduating hat.

Every year, I see the smile and gratitude from students, parents, friends and families as they graduate. That’s rewarding for me. It means that the Academy under my leadership has added value to their lives and that we have enabled them to achieve what they set out to do when they joined the institution. I most also mention the wonderful and fantastic colleagues I work with.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?

It’s difficult to say. For me, it is to enjoy doing what you love. Be flexible and adaptable to changing times in your skills and training. This is inevitable due to external factors beyond one’s control. Finally, I pray a lot. That’s what has kept me going.

 

Finally, it’s the quick-fire question round!

Favourite place in London:  The view from Waterloo Bridge in either direction
Favourite holiday destination:   Disneyland Paris
Must-check everyday website: Any one my email throws up
Dream travel destination:  Island beach
Cheese or chocolate: Chocolate for me

 

 

7 Responses to Meet the Principal

  1. Anna says:

    We are very proud of your leadership and achievements at the Academy for staff and students. You are a role model. Well done you deserve to be celebrated.

  2. Dr. A. Babayemi says:

    Very interesting insight into the journey…well done. Clearly an inspiuring story line and a true one too!
    i’d like to be like you when I grow up…:)

    • Mike says:

      Ha haha my learned friend and colleague you’ve grown big like me.

  3. Kezia says:

    Congratulations Prof. Mike Sonny.
    Thank you too for all the lectures while I was a Master’s Student at Schiller International University, London Campus.
    I wish you all the best and may God keep blessing you.
    Thanks & Cheers
    Kezia.

  4. Ann says:

    You’ve got a great rapport with your students and with people in general. I think your inspirational journey will inspire your students on journeys of their own.

  5. O Raji says:

    Congratulations Mike. Very inspiring and insightful. Wishing you the best in your future endeavour. This deserves to be celebrated!!

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