A staff development programme, focused around Quality and Academic Standards, is being designed at my University. It is mainly for academic staff but all staff are welcome to attend. Having recently completed a Post-grad teaching qualification, I am particularly keen to attend courses such as “A Showcase of Flexible Ways to Teach and Support Learning”, “The Role of Students in Quality Assurance”, “Curriculum Design in Higher Education” and Assessment Workshops, among others. I think they will give me the opportunity to apply new skills and knowledge to my professional practice and will help me to understand the work and pressures on my academic colleges better.
Having seen the draft programme of events, it occurred to me that our Libraries and Information Services department did not feature in the design or delivery of the training, nor were we listed among the staff teams who would find the training “particularly appropriate”.
I felt we were missing an opportunity here. The resources we provide and the information skills we work hard to foster are central to providing quality and to improving academic standards. We teach skills that enable students to study effectively and skills which prepare them for their working lives. Employability, whether we like it or not, is now a central strand in higher education agenda. We have a lot to offer and contribute to this strand.
I voiced my observations to my boss, suggesting that our involvement in the programme would also be an ideal opportunity to raise the profile of Library and Information Services to academic staff and other departments….he agreed, as did the programme organizers. Now I have been tasked with coming up with some suitable courses and I have been invited to deliver some of them (when will I learn to keep my mouth shut!)
So far we have suggestions for (These are our very early ideas)
The development of reading lists (with some focus on how to avoid breaches of copyright legislation)
How to promote and use online resources
Library Use and Academic Achievement
Information Skills and Employability – My aim with this is to try to encourage academics to embed information skills into their curriculum more and to encourage them to use our skills to help them. I hope to do this by firmly placing these skills into the context of the university’s teaching and learning strategy and overall aims.
Professional discourse regarding teaching and training tends to focus on the service we provide for students so I am really interested to find out what teaching sessions my peers are delivering at other institutions, to academic staff, which enhance the quality of teaching and learning and academic standards. I would love to hear your thoughts/ideas/experiences.