Sunday 9 December 2012

Cardiff Futures

Following its success at Newcastle and Essex Universities, it was not surprising that Colin Riordan, the new VC at Cardiff, should launch the Futures Programme there more or less on arrival.

It was, after all, his brainchild at Faculty level in Newcastle (where it was shortlisted for Times Higher Award in 2008, and where a programme for professors using a similar philosophy and approach has just won a THE Award this year); and it was he who ran it at a University Level at Essex.

Despite this history of success, both he and I were aware that Cardiff would be different. For a start, it is a much larger institution than Essex (or Newcastle's HASS Faculty), and also much more diverse.  Previously we had had delegates almost entirely from a humanities background: this time we are including medics and scientists.

So we were delighted to see the consolidated feedback from participants for the first module, which was as positive (or indeed more positive) than any we have previously seen.

We have just run the second module, focussing on Finance: that always has the risk of being a bit dry, but thanks to great presentations from our guest speaker Gill Ball, FD of Birmingham University, and participative sessions run by Cardiff's own FD and the Deputy VC, all participants seemed to engage and find the topic both relevant and interesting.

We also launched the Action Learning Sets, which form an integral part of the programme, and they seemed to go well, too.  Due to time constraints, we use what I would term Brief Action Learning, but the methodology stands up very well even in very short sessions.

Needless to say, I await the feedback summary from this second module with interest.