Teaching in Higher Education

Today I have been taking part in the Teaching in Higher Education short course at university. It’s been a really interesting day, sharing ideas with people who are teaching all over the university in a variety of departments.
Today we mainly focussed on planning and discussing ways of dealing with different situations.
I can’t wait to apply some of what I have learnt to inductions and training. It wouldn’t be a bad exercise to produce aims and learning outcomes for the various things we do. It would be a far better use of our time than faffing with screenshots!
I’m hoping this will all help to inform my National Teaching Fellowship.

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Google Wave

I was lucky enough to be invited to Google Wave back in October and have to say I didn’t really get its usefulness but that may have been because I only had my sister to wave at!

About a fortnight ago some colleagues were invited, suddenly it all makes sense! Katie, Sarah and I are planning the quiz for the staff party using it and it is excellent.

We can exchange files, pictures and chat. It is all recorded so we can review it and while we can chat live we can also post things when we are the only person waving.

Occasionally it is a bit slow but I can see the potential for collaborative working.

Welcome to the wonderful world of libraries …

These have been a turbulent few months at my library which have made me reflect a lot on my profession and my future as a librarian but in a week a new dawn is coming which we hope will bring calmer waters.

I love being a librarian. I believe libraries are the key to any successful university and should be valued but I do get frustrated sometimes that change can be stilted. I’m sure I’ll reflect on this more in the coming weeks but I have been a subject librarian at the University of Brighton for 7 1/2 years. In many ways I love the job, the contact with students, the involvement with courses and the chance to be innovative. However that brings me to my major frustration – I want to innovate and do with great success in my own subject areas but there are people who seem to want to block any innovation and change.

I don’t think this is a unique problem, I encounter it in conversations everywhere with other librarians but it is a huge problem for the profession.

Other professional careers have a clearly defined CPD requirement, an expectation of development and also clear possible career pathways so every job provides people with the skills to move on to the next rung of the career ladder. Why don’t we? Why do the naysayers often get to dictate what is going on?

I understand in many cases the jobs have changed a lot from the jobs people signed up for but how do we balance that with the needs of younger eager professionals who I see countlessly becoming demotivated and frustrated.

I feel at a stage where I need to move forward but when I apply for jobs I am told I don’t have the relevant experience, management often. I do have management experience from running my own business but because it isn’t from inside libraries  it appears it isn’t enough. How can I get the experience when my peers say adding management will take the job away from the one they applied to. My colleagues in assistant positions see that  I am getting frustrated and wonder if I can’t move on how will they?

I’ve always seen two potential avenues for my career, management or academia. I’ll continue plugging away at the management path, I’ll take courses and continue applying for jobs. I know I am a good manager, I have respect of colleagues, I try and listen, I can see the bigger picture and the experience I have from running my own business is unique.

The academia plan is now my real focus, I am resurrecting research ideas from previous bids which I was perhaps not experienced enough to progress. I’m networking and hoping that I will have two super mentors to help me. I’m going to look at the National Teaching Fellowship as my ultimate goal.

I am eligible for the National Teaching Fellowship because I was lucky enough to win an award for Teaching Excellence in 2005. (The only Information Services member of staff to do so – yet it is strangely unrecognised in the department).

So onwards and upwards! Hopefully this blog will record my adventures in the world on Brighton University libraries.