Summer Conference – Professional staff


It was the Professionals Summer Conference yesterday and in the morning we had an external speaker, Peter Sylvester, come along to talk to us about communication & networking, in the afternoon we heard about the STAARS project & worked in groups looking at more local communication issues.

We did a number of activities in the morning which helped us consider how we communicate, the first was to talk about Who, What, How & Why we did what we did. This highlighted the need to start with the information most relevant to the person you are talking with & therefore ‘Why’ we do what we do was the most useful starting point as opposed to who we are. A recurrent theme was that at a fundamental level working in a university means the work we do enables skilled graduates to enrich society.

Hearing teams describe what they do highlighted the amount of overlap & inter-dependencies we have within L&LR supporting the need for effective communication.

We also completed a personality test based on DISC (Moutlton Marston) behaviours identifying our own behaviour style. I have a dominate style meaning I have a  tendancy to be task driven & quick to make decisions. The group was then divided by their styles & we were tasked with discussing how best to communicate with the different groups.

I find it helpful to acknowledge that we all have different styles & approaches and therefore need to adapt our communication appropriately to get a message across effectively, although admittedly in real life other pressures & drivers sometimes means I am not as successful as I would like to be.

In the afternoon we had the opportunity to hear from the Centre of Academic Success on the STAARS project which involves working directly with students to identify whether the services they offered were relevant & how best to market them.  Wal (CAS) & a student delivered an interesting presentation on the process they went through and the value of having student input into the service.

We were also given the opportunity to think about the challenges currently facing HE and then in particular BCU and it’s staff and students. This was an useful excersise in highlighting how much the environment has changed & priorities shifted. Some of the challenges we discussed was value for money and trying to do more for less, although appreciated there would be a breaking point and also speed of change especially in technology. I found it useful food for thought with regards to the mornings discussion on the value of working in a university in terms of being part of the process of enriching society.

The day ended with us working in groups looking at a couple of scenario’s and discussing how to resolve any issues and who to communicate with which provided the opportunity to focus on how we communicate internally.

These are my thoughts of the day, anyone want to share how they found it?

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