Jane L Phippen, Taught Programmes Manager at the Faculty of Engineering & Design, reflects on her involvement in forming a cross university networking group and hosting the University’s first Taught Programmes Administration Networking Event.
February 28 may have been the last day of the month, but it saw the first Taught Programmes Administration Networking Event hosted by the University of Bath.
During the summer of 2016 the Undergraduate Managers visited the Universities of Birmingham, Exeter and Oxford-Brookes to ascertain if there was any interest in forming a networking group with the aim to share best practices and experiences, create a forum for discussions, understanding different processes and organisational structures. We were enthusiastically welcomed and it did not take long to realise that there was indeed huge interest in this initiative.
Over the next few months we established the common areas for discussion and the event was planned.
On the 28 February we welcomed support staff from the three Universities to a networking event in The Edge. During the course of the day 38 people participated, including our own colleagues from Bath. The day consisted of group discussions and demonstrations of processes around the Curriculum Management Information System (CMIS), BSS Boards, Student notes on SAMIS, exam preparation on Moodle and we saw the iPhone Student Apps that Exeter have developed. The conversations were lively and enjoyed by all and my highlight was to witness the open, animated discussions taking place.
So what is the next step? There is certainly an appetite to continue with this type of engagement, whether it takes place here again at Bath is uncertain; we would like to encourage one of the other Universities to host the event – watch this space!
The Faculty Professional Services team held a Celebrating Excellence event in December which aimed to reward and recognise everyone’s amazing achievements over the past year.
As part of this, the team were given opportunity to nominate and vote for colleagues who they thought were particularly deserving of extra recognition. What better way is there to tell someone that you think they’re awesome?
Awards were made across three categories:
Working well with people
Random Acts of kindness
The team was asked to complete a short form, telling us why they thought a particular individual had gone above and beyond what was expected of them in their day to day work being sure the actions related specifically to the category criteria to ensure parity among all nominees.
Nominations were then anonymised and voting commenced, three very worthy winners were identified, who will remain anonymous to keep the spirit of this special type of celebration going.
The event also focussed on outcomes from the Staff survey. We welcomed Sally Palethorpe (Inspired Partners) and Sue Johnson (HR Business Partner) to help us begin a new path in working with and enabling ourselves through ‘change’. An end focus looked at positive outcomes from change and improvement for future change challenges.
Steve Egan popped along just before lunch, and found out a few interesting things he didn’t know about our local successes in Engineering & Design. I think Steve will agree he found out a great deal about the team’s fantastic work and understood fully why we were celebrating.
Our final activity focussed on collaboration and what that meant for the team. We generated a lot of food for thought and looking forward we will be focussing more on communication, working closely together, understanding all our roles and greater engagement.
Everyone left the event with a full belly from the amazing food catered for by The Edge and a Golden Duck – keeping our 50th anniversary celebrations alive.
Remember to focus on your weekly team positives – for the future is going to be great. I will be popping round to check on your notice boards, three positives a week is the aim.
The Faculty Professional Services are vital to the academic and student success we achieve. Without the dedicated team, who are enthusiastic, supportive and creative, many successes would not have been achieved. We are in extremely exciting times with Postgraduate developments and our International agenda, the team are ready and geared up to support and make our new avenues even more successful than our past.
To ensure we all focus on the same goals and objectives I have developed a shared mission statement.
Our shared mission statement for the future is:
Collaboration, communication and planning between teams and the wider community
- Increased collaboration and service sharing amongst our faculty teams.
- Stronger and more integrated planning on local approaches to support our academic and student requirements.
- Reduced duplication through service delivery efficiencies.
- Improved coordination of decision-making and investment in our infrastructure, facilities, and equipment.
- Increased accountability, as users and management will be better able to evaluate the performance of each faculty service.
- Stronger services, benefitting from the collective strength of the faculty to meet common needs, and plan for the future.
Communication achieved by:
- creating awareness
- imparting knowledge
- projecting an image
- shaping attitudes
- stimulating a want or desire
Collaboration achieved by:
- fostering innovation
- supporting the development of a team
- creating more appropriate and effective outputs
- building enhanced legitimacy and creditability