Today we had the third of our strategic liaison meetings with the new Faculties - this time it was the turn of Medicine. I used to work in the Medical faculty and it was nice to meet some old friends again. We followed the same agenda as in our previous meetings, covering topics under the umbrella headings of teaching and learning, research, communication and collaboration, and help and support. The Medical School doesn't use the centrally provided and supported VLE, it uses its own, so we had an interesting discussion about whether our imminent review of MOLE (our on-line learning environment) should include their requirements, or whether they would continue to use their own system. My concern is not with them using a medical-specific VLE, but how much the system is being developed to duplicate functionality that we already provide. We've agreed to meet with them urgently to discuss it.
They also flagged up the need for larger IT teaching spaces - something that other departments have asked for, and the need for better technology in them including plasma display screens. We talked about research data storage which is a growing problem for many departments and the need to cost it properly in any grant application.
With the current economic climate, travel to meetings is being looked at carefully, and although we provide central video conferencing facilities, desktop video and teleconferencing was asked for.
Overall it was a good meeting, and although we aren't getting through these meetings as fast as I would like, they are allowing us to have a good dialogue with the faculties.