Tuesday 5 October 2010

A great day with some great people...

I spent yesterday at Essex University with some (relatively) newly-appointed Heads of Department, Deans and Directors.

The VC Colin Riordan kick-started the day with a brief overview of the challenging times ahead given the emerging story of the coalition government's plans for HE.  As ever, Colin made sure this was a dialogue, not a monologue, and his optimism ensured it was thought-provoking and challenging rather than depressing...

Then we spent the day discussing various aspects of their new role: mind maps helped to illustrate the sheer complexity of it; syndicate work generated some rich discussion around the people management issues and options for them; a case study (based on an academic at another University whom I am coaching) stimulated some great discussion of  approaches to leadership; and further syndicate work helped generate rich strategies for communication - formal and informal, disseminating information and eliciting feedback.

I was asked to design it as a highly participative day (I did use one slide...)  and so most of the wisdom and ideas came from the participants;  and we also enjoyed the perspectives of a more experienced head, Maria Fasli who joined us for the day.

Although Universities face challenging times, with the commitment and passion of people like these, I am sure the best will continue to flourish!

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