During the course of the year the University has been running a major institutional project looking at academic course leadership, championed by the Pro Vice Chancellor Academic, Professor Sarah Greer, and led by Principal Lecturer, Will Bowen Jones: ‘An institutional review of the Course Leader role leading to the implementation of enhanced practices and enabling systems of support and communication at course leader level across the institution.’
Across the sector there is widespread interest in the way universities support course leaders, given that the role is widely accepted to be pivotal in delivering a high quality student experience. The University’s success in boosting recruitment figures and recording significant improvements in NSS scores is a result of colleagues working well together across the whole University, but particularly reflects the hard work of colleagues in course teams.
The University recognised the need to review the role of the course leader and, in turn, to implement the best possible, centralised systems of support and communication. This project is fundamentally aimed at developing a working environment in which course leaders will thrive, flourish and excel. The project has focused on 5 work-streams: Developmental Leadership; Role and Responsibilities; Quality Enhancement; Administrative Support and Recruitment and Marketing. Each one will be producing either a set of resources, establishing new working practices or making a series of recommendations.
In order to ensure all Course Leaders have a ‘voice’, the project team has created a survey aimed at identifying key issues and priorities which may extend the scope and reach of the project into a second stage. The survey will be made available to course leaders in late April/early May.
The aims of the first phase of the project are :
- To enable and empower course leaders to excel in their role
- To ensure a consistent standard of good practice across the University
- To develop a course leader role description
- To develop a support structure and training programme for course leaders
- To improve lines of communication and flows of information across the University, which have an impact on course leaders.
The intention is to share the outcomes of the project with course leaders at an event which is scheduled to take place in late June 2016.