Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Themes and Issues

We have got together as a team to go through the different initiatives against the 5 themes that were created at the start of the project, and we noticed something very interesting. In each case although there would be one main theme highlighted by the initiative team, the initiative would often fit into three or more of the themes highlighted, that may not have been recognised by the initiative team . Is this due to the closed nature of the initiatives themselves and how we as a university manage them? We also realised that there were clearly two different types of themes emerging the first around the Curriculum Design and Development, the other change management. As each initiative was highlighted we were able to see 9 emerging change management themes, including issues around breadth and depth, stakeholder engagement, and silos. A full break down on themes and how they fit with the initiatives will be made available once the initial process mapping stage is complete.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

QA at Birmingham

By 10:30 I have already had some useful conversations around the Enable project, in particular I have now got 2 emails coming to me with regards to the process mapping. I have also got to send 2 emails out based on strategy, change, and communication. It appears to be that institutions have much the same issues, University Derby have offered to come and share their Pathfinder experiences, and some implementation they have done with regards to this project.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Supporting our Partners through validation events

As part of the partner work for Enable we had a successful partner validation recorded in the Ning community last week, with Stafford college. They were complemented on the working relationship between the college and the university, however they have been told to change their Award handbook, to be less Staffordshire University focused. This is interesting as the Award Handbook is a faculty document that is partially built from a template provided by the Student Office, however this template is purely for Staffordshire University, on-site, learners. I have spoken to our College partnership team and found that they don't provide anything so how do faculties handle award documents for colleges? What guidance (if any) do they get? This has now been raised in Ning and hopefully we will get some answers. As part of us understanding the partnership relationship I have also added a short quiz on the site around how much support partners perceive they get both from colleagues and the university, so far 100% of results is possitive about the support they get from both. In the meantime I have sent the relevant colleges the next spreadsheet for finding out the stage that the awards they told me about in January are now at.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Back from Easter

Well I have been quiet on the blog for the last month due to holidays and meetings, and for the next two weeks this will continue to be the case as I am out of the office with a friends wedding, a JISC day and our cluster meeting. I am also busy writing an assignment on Strategic Management and Change which has been presented to Gill Howland. I might post it, and the related presentation here if people are interested. As promised to Ashton I have finally had time to put their video up of them signing the consortium agreement.

One thing that has changed with the project is the slower that anticipated co-ordination of project partners. This is due to the very busy schedules both here at the university and at the colleges themselves. This may actually benefit the project as it will be able to involve the partners more towards the end of the project than initially considered.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Week of perspectives

This week has been very interesting, with the start of it at Warwick University for the HE in FE conference. Although I have not got a direct link with Staffordshire University partners, obviously partner input is vital for the project and the university as a whole. I found the different partnership methods used very interesting, plus the attitudes of some of the partner insitutions. I was surprised to hear that some partnerships are more competitive with others in the partnership than I would expect. I heard a fair bit around how universities should adapt to fit more of the FE environment (use their quality assurance rather than imposing second ones being the main issue), and when asked about adapting to a private, business, model they realised that they hadn't considered the impact of requirements of employers and the changing nature of HE in FE with the Fds as they perhaps aught. This then goes back to how flexible do institutions need to be to continue delivering learning in the emerging environment? Do we need to ensure that assessment boards etc run throughout the year? Should we be delivering learning throughout the year? Should we be matching private providers delivery of courses over a business 37 hour week? Is it even possible? Do changes need to be driven by government or can insititutions drive the change? A lot of questions, and not many answers. I am interested on how these questions get answered here at Staffordshire Uni, do they fit with the development of partnerships that we have in the University strategy? I would say yes, and a big part is the Enable project in enabling (sorry) these changes to happen. It is important not just for the partners but also for the university.