Annual HE Conference: 7 July 2016
Staff Student Research: 'In the Service of Scholarship'
The steering group for this year’s event was chaired by Dr Graham Stevens (Dean: Scholarship and Research) and the membership comprised of Clare Lamkin (Events Manager), Helen Farrar (Research Associate), Sam Messam, Clare Dodsley, Matthew Bentley (Scholarship and Research Coordinators). The theme chosen (see title above) referred to a particular issue that the college needs to develop further and is in harmony with many national initiatives, including employability and the focus on student scholarship closely interwoven with staff expertise and research. (Cf. our definition on scholarly activity and the part played by research led and research informed learning, teaching and assessment). The prelude to our musings opened with this ‘warm up’:
‘…at the higher level the teacher is not there for the sake of the student, both have their justification in the service of scholarship…’
Von Humboldt 1810
An evocation that was followed throughout the day and picked up in the learning model expressed thus:
We should: ‘Encourage and enable students to learn in ways that are parallel or reflect the ways academic staff themselves approach research and learn in their disciplines or professional area.’
Healey and Jenkins 2009
And as we also wished to focus on employability our efforts in bringing staff and students together in the research enterprise:
‘For the students who are the professionals of the future, developing the ability to investigate problems, make judgements on the basis of sound evidence, take decisions on a rational basis, and understand what they are doing and why is vital. Research and inquiry is not just for those who choose to pursue an academic career. It is central to professional life in the twenty-first century.’
Due to a series of resources issues the conference was held in the Lister Lecture Theatre. Fortunately there was enough capacity to accommodate the level of staff attendance. The day was curtailed somewhat by the insertion of a presentation by Executive. Due to both these factors it is advisable that the next summer cross college HE event be scheduled for a different day to ‘TAP day’ as is the case for the two other events in the calendar (now referred to as ‘colloquia’). The day featured 2 distinct phases: a faculty meeting session where data could be gathered for the Association of Colleges’ Scholarship Project (we are an integral partner) and also SRCs could discuss SAR output with individual staff for the IAP; the conference proper held in plenary format. The delegate list comprised of academic and learning support staff numbering 117 (FTE of HE is approximately 100) and this was a solid response from the academic and support community, especially given that the further education TAP day was being held simultaneously and therefore some staff with FE responsibilities would be unable to attend the conference.