Amidst all the talk of grades and feedback, what have I achieved or learnt this year? It’s a humble list, but here goes:
- Many of our graduates have already started work – some in big name consultancies and corporations. While I worry about the effect of the economic downturn, I don’t sense that we’re over-producing graduates, or giving them the wrong tools. (But we need to keep alert to this possibility over the next year.)
- I agree with our Vice-Chancellor that coaching is often more important than teaching. Our influence is often subtle and unpredictable, but it was pleasing to hear so many words of thanks today.
- Challenge and responsibility are a good thing (at the right time). I know to trust my own instincts, but I’m learning to trust the ability of our better students and involve them in research and presentation challenges.
- Something old, something new: young people expect and revel in novelty. But I need new challenges too. The teaching I most enjoyed was when I was delivering new material and exploring new approaches to engaging students.
- We assessed some 180 students out on full-year work placements across this faculty this year. In general, their employers have praised their skills exceptionally highly; this is encouraging.
- So many of my conversations today (and this year) have revolved around dissertations and placements. This makes me feel that we have the balance between vocational and academic about right. (And the students with the best dissertations, who tend also to have been on year placements, are those who’ve been quickest to find graduate jobs. So I don’t sense any major conflict between the vocational and the academic.)