A Love Letter to BCU

Last week it really hit home that I would be leaving BCU to start a new role with Nottingham Trent University and having taken the time to reflect a little (on a long train journey home!) I came to realise just exactly how many of my professional formative relationships have been forged at BCU. As a result, I am sad to be moving on from the warmth of my extended BCU family, but excited for the start of a new adventure at Nottingham Trent, a new direction for me, which I am hopeful will result in the development of many new collaborative relationships.

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As I venture off however, I leave BCU with an immense sense of pride and accomplishment for all of the opportunities that I have been afforded in my time in Birmingham and more importantly for all of the successful collaborations that I have been a part had the privilege to be a part of, many of which have gone on to live and develop way beyond my involvement, taking shape under new leadership and responding to nuanced demands as they arrive. If there is one thing that I can hand-on-heart say say about the staff and student interactions that I have had at BCU, it is that every person that I have encountered on my journey at BCU have had the best interests of our institution at heart. When students complain, it is because they have a belief (rightly or wrongly informed) that there is a better way of doing things, but where the magic really happens is when these voices meet in dialogue to discuss the issues that matter to them most. That’s when shared solutions emerge, from a fully invested community of academics, professional support staff, administration teams and our students themselves.

Many of our adventures have been fuelled on good-will and a shared excitement for the journey, but what continues to amaze me is just how much can be achieved when you get the right people together with a shared mind-set for development and a willingness to try something new, to have an adventure along the way and all the while run the risk of ‘getting it wrong’. There’s always a back-up plan and there’s always the option to revert to the ‘old’ way of doing things, but in my experience we’ve rarely reverted to the original method, as need for change is only ever identified where a need for change in practice is necessary.

In that time, I have watched the School of Media develop into a force majeure when it comes to all things student engagement, largely as a result of listening to what the want and working in partnership with them to achieve beneficial change for all. This shared practice has resulted in the design of a personal tutoring system that is linked directly into the delivery on the academic programme. It has fostered the development of a student transition mentoring and induction programme that carries immediate relevance for the new students as it is designed by the students themselves. Working in partnership with students has also seen the development of an embedded workshop series through which to enable students to enhance their research, writing and critical thinking skills in a way that is linked directly to their subject-specific discipline. The design for all of which was arranged collaboratively and delivered in working partnership. As I move on to work at Nottingham Trent, I am conscious of how much my time at Birmingham City University has shaped my professional outloo. Two weeks into my new role at NTU and I am already finding opportunities to get involved and offer alternative perspectives and approaches, so thank you BCU for the all of the experiences, it’s been a blast and the impact will last.

But I won’t miss the stationary M6. This was the view from my last journey to Brum!

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