A Django site.
July 14, 2011
» Publication of the REF2014 Guidance on submissions

HEFCE have today published the following REF2014 documents: • Guidance on Submissions: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/research/ref/pubs/2011/02_11/ • Guidance to panels: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/research/ref/pubs/other/guide/ • Equality briefing for panels: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/research/ref/pubs/other/equality/ The guidance on submissions sets out the general framework for REF2014 and also provides guidance to … Continue reading

March 22, 2010
» HEWs, CHEWs and HEFCWs – getting to grips with being a learner governor.

Welcome to my blog.  I’m very glad you’re here.

In the autumn term I took up the role of elected staff governor on the University’s Board of Governors thanks to the many colleagues who voted for me.  As I said at the time, I was deeply touched about the level of colleagues voting – thanks again.

I’ve been trying to work out with the help of William Callaway who, as well as Academic Registrar, is the Secretary and Clerk to the Governors, what’s the best way to feed back to staff on what the role entails.  So the blog might be the answer, but I’d be glad to know your views – please let me know. This is my first blog.  The way I understand it is that they act as a kind of personal internet journal – but this means I’ve got a bit of catching up to do since my blog’s been a bit late in arriving as a result of some techy changeovers at the University.  And my apologies for this gap in time.

Early days – when does it stop feeling like ‘early days’? I’m still waiting to find out!

At the end September we (that is new governors) had an induction session with William and John Andrews (Chair of Governors) and this was really valuable.  It started to make clear that the fundamental role of the GB (Governing Body) is to be that of a ‘Critical Friend’.  The GB isn’t there to manage, or to ‘do’: there are skilled, responsible people there to do this.  But it’s to question, probe if necessary, kind of hold up a mirror to plans and recommendations made by the Uni’s Executive team.  And if that means running a risk of asking a naïve question, then fine!  I’d say ‘ask away’.  After all, even though anyone undertaking this role is anxious about not looking like a proper nit, there are only things we know and those we don’t.  So if I need to know an answer or have some information or guidance then that’s the bottom line.  When I voiced this anxiety to a member of Directorate at this early stage he kindly said “you’ve got to remember that you know a mass more than other lay Governors.  They’ve been appointed for other reasons but you already know and understand the University – so you’re miles ahead”.  That helped a lot with a quick and much needed wee boost of confidence.

The other bit that helps in this early, green stage is the training sessions offered.  Colleagues in William’s department help out with this and send us an information pack, and information about sessions organised by either the Leadership Foundation (http://www.lfhe.ac.uk/) or by Higher Education Wales (HEW).  I went to a session in November, in Cardiff, organised by HEW which was useful for new governors.  It was led by Andrew Wilkinson (Chair of ‘Chairs of Higher Education in Wales’ – CHEW) and Phil Gummett (Chief Executive, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales).  But, like all things of its kind, it’s at least as useful for meeting other people and exchanging points of view as it is for its primary purpose.

While we’re on the point of HEWs, CHEWs and HEFCWs…and a bag full of others like them, it’s worth just coming to a full stop here and, in Churchill fashion, remember that “broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all” (why didn’t Churchill mention acronyms?  That acerbic wit could have dealt with the wretches!).  In the short months since taking on this role I’ve started to feel enormous sympathy with the non-specialist, lay governors who, considering the language used in HE (oops, there’s another one!) they must think they’ve woken up in another country.  My point here is that I don’t really think that induction and training for new governors starts off at quite the right level.  For sure, governors each come with their own substantial basket of skills and experiences but they’re probably even less comfortable with their HEWs and CHEWs than I am!  And there’s just a chance that, as they’ve landed on foreign shores not speaking the language, new governors may quietly and discreetly contribute less until they are partially fluent (if ‘partially fluent ‘isn’t an oxymoron!).   I’ll do some thinking about what, specifically, I would have found useful but I don’t think it’s necessary for it to be another session out of the office, but perhaps it’s a resource of some sort – even a person.

I’ll post again soon – please feel free to comment; I’d like to hear from staff.

April 29, 2008
» GWELLA@Glamorgan

As I mentioned in my first post on this topic Higher Education Institutions in Wales are now engaging with the GWELLA programme as part of their response to the HEFCW Enhancing learning and teaching through technology strategy.

Today Glamorgan holds the first meeting of its Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) steering group to explore the TEL project by which we will take forward the GWELLA programme. The Higher Education Academy has appointed a support team to work with institutions during the programme. Paul Bacsich who worked with us during the Blended Learning Benchmarking project and the Blended Learning Evaluation will be the Academy’s ‘Critical Friend’ for the current project.

Today’s steering group meeting will look at our outline proposals for development and enhancement to receive guidance and feedback from our critical friend as to the way they meet the requirements of the HEFCW strategy and to develop an operational plan for implementation.

Watch this blog for further updates on the way the TEL project is progressing at Glamorgan.

April 9, 2008
» Technology Enhanced Learning in Wales

On Monday (7th April 2008) the Welsh Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCW) launched its new Strategy for Enhancing learning and teaching through technology

The strategy outlines HEFCW’s intention to cut through the complex range of terms used in the sector (Blended Learning, E-Learning, M-learning, Online Learning etc.) and describe the whole of the use technology in learning and teaching as TECHNOLOGY ENHANCED LEARNING. This is in line with the approach which has been advocated for some time by The Association for Learning Technology (ALT):http://www.alt.ac.uk/ and should bring some clarity to discussions in the area.

To support the implementation of the strategy a team from the Higher Education Academy will be working with Welsh HEIs under the project title GWELLA – a GWELLA blog has been created to share information and I’m sure those involved in learning and teaching enhancement at Glamorgan will be keen to read what is being planned.

More on Glamorgan’s plans to respond to the HEFCW startegy will appear on the Learning Zone blog shortly.