Friday, August 24, 2007

Developing our faculties

I have not posted to this blog for quite a while. That's not for the want of things to say, just the weight of other things going on. Aside from holiday, August contained a number of workshops at Henley and I also took some time out to draft my application proposal to start my PhD. That's actually not yet complete, but it's almost there so I hope to post it off to Lancaster before the start of September.

One other interesting event was an internal three-day Faculty conference at the College at the start of August. It had been set up at the end of 2006, and there was pretty much a three-line whip to attend that was set by our then Academic Dean (knowing, no doubt, that you'd otherwise not herd faculty together in August any other way). Until he learnt better, our new Academic Dean, not cognisant of the call-up, was in awe of our enthusiasm and dedication when he saw the room full of academics!

The conference was very good. Amongst other things, we had two sessions led by external (US) academics; one on tools and techniques for encouraging participation in the classroom, the other on facilitation techniques. These were great for challenging our current thinking and seeding some new ideas. About two thirds of the way into the conference we suddenly changed track, and were presented with a task in teams to come up with a pitch to a client for some corporate work. The shift in emphasis from informal, languid, collegiate and bonding to more of the kind of task we like to set out MBAs when they come in to workshops caught me off-guard, but I'm glad to say that the subsequent interaction with my 'team' was very rewarding and turned out to be a continuation of the fun from the earlier sessions. Whether or not we produced professional pitches to the 'panel' from the client (which included our Principal), I don't know, but there was certainly a lot of fun and creativity that came out.

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