Messages to LEaD

I thought it would be a good idea to use my newly revitalised blog to post messages for staff in LEaD. This will also make me responsible for posting regularly! So messages will appear here. I have to credit Melissa Highton for the inspiration for this (passed on by Julie Voce – thank you!).

Update: 31st July 2020 (a bit late but with reason!)

As those of you will know that were around at the Directorate meeting on Wednesday, Hester, myself and Sandra were on campus. I wanted to post this update once I had written my reflections. So now I have finally had time to do that. It was a really interesting experience to go in and has informed a lot of my thinking as well as kicked off some work this week across the University on the teaching spaces which some of you may be involved in.

Julie introduced the idea of a “praise shout out” for members of the team this week which I really liked. She would like to thank ETT for their work, I would like to thank Hester and Sandra for coming in on Wednesday and Olivia who helped with the live stream and James who fed into the prep work. I’d also like to thank everyone who contributed to Develop@City and the Learning and Teaching Exchange last Friday.

I’d also like to announce that Academic Learning Success have decided to change their name to the Academic Skills Team to reflect more accurately the work they do with students and staff to build the skills and confidence students need to study successfully. Comms will be going out on this next week.

Next week at the Directorate meeting we have the new SU sabbatical officers coming. Do try and come along to meet them as they are very enthusiastic and passionate about working to improve the student experience. Meeting them as an SLT I felt really inspired about working with them and their values and objectives are clear.

I am on leave next week so will be leaving you in the capable hands of Pam and Julie. Have a wonderful week and see you on 12th August.

Update: 24th July 2020 (a couple of days late!)

So this is now week 17, maybe it is time to stop counting. The fact that I am posting this late demonstrates what a crazily busy week it has been.

We’ve launched the new LEaD offer form to request specialist support for programme and module design and checking for September. We’ll be liaising closely with schools on this and keeping a track of how much demand comes through this route. Thanks to everyone who fed back on this and are working through the support.

Various projects are progressing around web accessibility and learning analytics with new posts being advertised this week. Thank you to Julie and Mimi for progressing this.

In terms of September preparation (I’m not sure any of us need a reminder of the number of weeks before September), the main issues are timetabling. The essential and desirable activities have been run and the situation is still being worked through but it looks positive for being able to fit everything in. Now we need to consider what the broader picture of student life looks like as well as specific health and safety measures. Hester and I are going onto campus on Wednesday to start working through some of this. Thanks to everyone from LEaD, especially Hester, James and Olivia, who have fed into this work and this will carry on over the summer.

We’re also working with OD and Student and Academic Services on staff and student focus groups for preparing everyone for the return, what anxieties there are and how we can prepare and support students and staff.

Earlier in the week I participated in the Executive Team Town Hall meeting on tackling racism. It was a challenging and saddening meeting about the experiences of staff and students of colour at City. There is a lot of work to do, as many of us know. I can share more information via Teams but we will be engaging with City’s Network for Racial Justice (previously named the BAME staff network) around issues raised and how we can all work to change the culture at City. We’ve already started some of these discussions in LEaD and can do more.

I also sat on Academic Promotions Committee on Tuesday and it was noticeable how many more staff are engaging with HEA Fellowship and what a difference this makes. The NSS results also came out last week and although disappointing, they demonstrate a real need for us to support educational development practice in some areas. Discussions with some Schools have already started on how we can do this.

And lastly, this week was Develop@City. As I write this the Learning and Teaching Exchange is taking place. I hope you were able to attend some of the sessions and I know there was a great LEaD presence, thank you to Dom and Jane for Chairing and for the great advice on recording video on Teams. Jane and I ran some Marketplace sessions on play, I saw Sally and David and other ALS staff running Marketplace sessions too. I attended the session yesterday on Coping with Caring Responsibilities which was great. Slightly ironically I ended up giving my intro to the Learning and Teaching Exchange with my youngest child, Antonia, on my lap, thereby highlighting quite nicely the point I was trying to make in my intro about not aiming for perfection but aiming for authentic practice!

Update: 15th July 2020

We’re into week 16 (I think but is anyone still counting?!) of home working (I was going to say lockdown but we’re not really in that anymore either) and well done to everyone for getting this far!

More guidance is coming out on social distancing and health and safety, both from the government with the announcement about face masks in shops and also from the University. This has placed a new lens on the use of the campus and what the learning and teaching experience will look like in the Autumn. Learning Environment Committee will be working with us and City Learning and Teaching Committee on guidance for socially distanced teaching including an initial on-campus visit, with staff online too.

Related to this is that we will be producing a checklist to support School Taskforces thinking about the balance between online and on-campus activities in the case of there not being enough on-campus space available. This paper went to Education and Student Committee today.

In other news, I received some fabulous feedback from the Business School about the support from LEaD and others they had received in moving teaching online for term 3. Was lovely to hear such positive comments and another acknowledgement of the importance of the work you are all doing. These kind of comments of are great for including in our portfolio of evidence for demonstrating our impact which we discussed at the Directorate meeting. So do collect them where you have them 🙂

Watch out for a variety of LEaD events at Develop@City next week.

Update: 8th July 2020

A short video in which I give an update in true award ceremony “I am sorry I couldn’t be with you” style from underneath my children’s bed on some exciting news about increased resourcing for LEaD to support the delivery of education and the student experience for the academic year 2020/21, including our new service model, start to think about what the return to campus might look like and our hopes and fears about it, and trailer next week’s Directorate meeting on thinking about our impact.

Update: 1st July 2020

Hello LEaD!

Bee house in the garden

This weekend we “celebrated” 100 days in lockdown. Congratulations everyone for making it this far.

In the Directorate meeting there were some lovely garden photos shared, thank you for cheering me up on a rainy afternoon. We also welcomed our micro placement students Emma and Sabina – its great to have you working with us over this critical period, thank you.

Education and Student Committee was held later in the day and there is still concern about timetabling. Hopefully information will be complete this week so we can have a provisional timetable out later this month. Student communications were approved and our update on Educational Technology will be scheduled at the next meeting when we have all information from Schools. We’ll know more about student numbers in August and will also follow up about the communications to replicate any face to face sessions with online learning.

Develop@City will be the week of 20th July and there will be a number of LEaD events including ETT workshops, ALS drop-ins and a playful learning session.

Hester and Colin have also created a new channel for LEaD socials where you can sign up for short taster learning sessions and regular lunch slots if you want to drop in and have a chat. Do check this out on the teams channel.

Katie also linked to her live band performance and Jane shared her wonderful courgette!

If you have anything you would like to discuss or ask next week do post a comment or let me know.

Thank you for all the work you are doing to support the Schools getting to September successfully. It is very much appreciated across the University.