Friday 25 June 2010

And Another...

The final day of HASS Faculty Futures at Newcastle yesterday.

A very interesting day, with Peter Reynolds taking us through some exercises using his expertise in drama, helping us to explore the different roles we play and how to be effective in them - particularly speaking persuasively: Once more unto the breach and all that.

In the afternoon, participants found creative ways to reflect on, communicate and celebrate their learning.  As so often, they exceeded my expectations, with a TV chat show, some expressive origami made into a story, some free writing morphing into art, and some interesting narrative artworks.

In the evening we had a celebratory dinner, with some of their managers, mentors, and other guests.  Liz Kemp and Gigi Herbert of the Staff Development Unit were rightly recognised for making the programme such a success - as too were Charles Harvey and Gerry Docherty, the senior academic sponsors and animators of the programme.

The participants seem to have had a really good year; fun and challenging, and full of learning and laughter,  and I am sure will stay in touch with each other beyond the programme; and the learning - and the fun - will continue.

Saturday 19 June 2010

Another Ending

It's that time of year: year-long programmes coming to an end.

Yesterday we had the final day for the Essex Futures Programme.  Participants were given some time to reflect in pairs or threes on the journey they've been on - and the one ahead.

Then we challenged them to work in teams to develop creative ways to express this, and as ever, the teams surpassed our expectation.

One team developed a University Challenged quiz, with the VC Colin Riordan, co-opted into the role of question master, and handed the questions to ask.  His respondents were all glove puppets.  It was well-scripted/improvised and very funny - and towards the end even addressed the question of what people had learned.

Another team presented the filming of an advertisement for Essex Futures, with people being rudely interrupted by the Director, asked to repeat things with more passion or sincerity, and so on.  Again, very funny and got some good learning points across.

The third team made an investigative documentary examining this waste of public money, with a wonderfully prejudiced reporter putting loaded questions to his interviewees and summarising outrageously what he wished they'd said.  Once more, laughter and learning went hand-in-hand.

Throughout the day, we had a team from East 15 filming the proceedings, and with lightning quick editing, they presented a documentary of the whole day for the assembled guests at the course dinner.

All in all a great end to a great course - and we are already planning next year's....

Friday 11 June 2010

Research Leadership

A good ending to this year's Research Leadership Programmes.  On Wednesday, Cohort A benefited from a fascinating discussion with Diana Woodhouse PVC (R) at Oxford Brookes, as well as exploring strategies for leading without formal authority (influencing skills etc), and ways to manage cultural change through the organisation.

On Thursday, Cohort B heard from Angelo Cangelosi from Plymouth, who shared his experience and learning from major interdisciplinary research projects he is running, and we also explored Emotional Intelligence as applied to Leadership very fruitfully.

The two cohorts have different agendas, as they design their own programme at the start of the year, which ensures both relevance and buy-in.

The final review suggests they all found it very beneficial: I hope that the University has the wisdom to see that and to re-run it next year...

Thursday 3 June 2010

Guest speakers

I'm always impressed at people's generosity with their time, when invited to contribute to training for others.  For next week's Research Leadership events at Northumbria, we have Diana Woodhouse coming up from Oxford Brookes, where she is PVC (R) and Angelo Cangelosi who runs robotics and things (Artificial Intelligence and Cognition) at Plymouth.