Meet the academic: Professor Anke Winchenbach
We sat down with Teaching Fellow and PhD research fellow Anke Winchenbach to chat about her time at Surrey and the world of Tourism Management at Surrey
What were you doing before you came to Surrey?
Before joining the team at the University of Surrey I spent most of my career managing travel teams in Germany and the UK. For more than 20 years, I had the pleasure forging a successful career working at large travel retail chains affiliated with Thomas Cook, TUI and Lufthansa City Centre, as well as at the boutique hotel expert Mr & Mrs Smith. What I loved most about my time in travel was working with talented colleagues to create memorable customer experiences, planning and holding events, developing new products, as well as an opportunity to travel the world. Of course the business side of things had their exciting aspects too, but for me it was the colleagues and clients that I cherished most.
After completing a Masters in Tourism, Environment and Development, I then moved on to working in consultancy, which I very much enjoyed for its fast paced and varied working environment. I first managed the innovative 'Total Impact Measurement and Management' (TIMM') project for The Travel Foundation in partnership with PwC, which measured TUI Group's holistic impact in Cyprus. Following this I spent some really insightful years at NEF Consulting (the consultancy arm of the New Economic Foundation), working on mostly non-tourism related projects, supporting a diverse range of clients from private, public and third sector organisations on their journey towards a new sustainable economy by developing an understanding of value for money that includes social and environmental outcomes alongside the economic costs and benefits. My key responsibilities spanned across evaluation & impact assessment, training & capacity building and strategy & culture change. My favourite parts were holding workshops on Measuring Wellbeing, Evaluating Social Impact and Theory of Change, which, like all previous experience, is very relevant to my teaching.
How would you describe your time at Surrey?
It’s great to teach on a wide range of different subjects, which keeps teaching always fresh and interesting. I also find personal tutoring and supervising master’s students very rewarding, and seeing students develop and thrive is the best part of my job here at Surrey.
What about Surrey do you find the most inspiring?
There is a strong sense of collegiality amongst the team, and I often feel inspired by fresh perspectives from students.
Why should students come to Surrey and study your subject?
Students often comment that they greatly benefit from the case studies and industry examples I weave into my teaching, which makes understanding abstract concepts so much easier. The way I teach is student focused, and I encourage and offer many opportunities for active participation and knowledge sharing. You’ll find that much of what you learn at Surrey will stay with you well beyond the actual lessons. Expect to become a more critical thinker and engaged citizen, on top of gaining a degree from one of the top universities in the world!
What does life outside of academia look like for you?
Pilates, walking and running keep me fit and sane, and I recently re-discovered puzzling as a great way to relax and unwind. I have a big heart for animals, and our adopted oldie Ernie is probably the most cuddled feline in the world, especially since working from home.
What has been a standout memory from your time at Surrey?
The pride I feel when seeing my students at graduation has to be one of the most special moments.
Discover more about the School of Hospitality and Tourism here