Monday, 13 December 2010

Question time

Oh, dear - another long gap. Must try harder!  No real excuse, apart from more snow, a student occupation, and then over the last few days a bad cold.

So, a summary of last week. The student occupation took some of my time as no matter what you think about the rights of what the students were protesting about - and there was a lot of sympathy with them, it was still an incident which had to be managed. There's health and safety issues to consider, the media to deal with, teaching has to continue, even if the students are occupying teaching space either by rearranging it to different rooms, or hoping the students will let it continue without disruption and in this case they did. Anyway, that's over now, the students came out on Thursday, and in the main traveled to London to protest at the fees vote.

On Thursday I traveled to another University where I'm doing a review of their IT services - as a critical friend. I had an interesting chat with students, and with the IT staff. Next week I'm going back to talk another group of their customers - the academic staff.

Friday was our departmental meeting, and we had an external speaker - the Deputy Director of HR to tell us about the work of the HR department - very interesting. I think few of us have any idea of the range of different things they deal with.

Then we had an experiment - a question and answer session with the Executive Team - me and the 3 Assistant Directors.  A bit like Question Time. Some questions had been submitted in advance, some asked on the day. Predictably some of the questions were about communication in the department, some about the current financial situation. A nice mix, and an experiment we think we'll do again.

Friday afternoon was our Service Strategy Board, introduced as part of our Service Management process, where we look at reports from all of our Service managers, progress of our projects, and new projects. A few requests for new projects this time, including one to change the way we handle course information, allowing departments to input more data themselves. this should help to ensure that data is in the system in a timely manner, to feed into services including timetabling and on line registration. SheffUni people can find out more about the Service Strategy Board here.

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