As this is the last news for the year, I thought it was a good time to reflect on all the work we have all accomplished in 2020. I can honestly say that I did not expect the role of Deputy Dean to be as challenging as it has been this year. But I suspect we can all say this about our positions. The work has been different and hard and at time frustrating and unsettling, particularly that we cannot meet in person, chat, see each other in the corridors as so much happens during these informal contacts. But we have all powered through and we should feel positive about our efforts and impact.
Think about our efforts in our teaching, research and leadership. The translation of courses to online, for example, was no easy feat and on the whole our students are pleased and grateful for these efforts. We have all continued to be active in research proposals and outputs and again we can point to some great successes. Importantly, MGSE has supported and engaged with the education sector in numerous ways, from webinars, research reports, professional learning, and simply giving advice. I would argue that our relationship with the sector has been strengthened in many new ways.
From an operations perspective we have managed to put in place a number of strategies and guidelines that are going to assist with our teaching, research, and leadership implementation processes - and will stand us in good stead for 2021.
The Academic Work Strategy (AWS) has been fully interrogated and successfully repositioned to support the further development of our workforce planning. The Academic Performance Guidelines (APG) has being socialised and is being used effectively. While we have some way to go with both of these initiatives, we have made a great start.
There is also good news on our MTeach accreditation front; the ITE team reported to the steering committee that they had met with VIT and ASECQA, and both were pleased to discuss our plans so early in the process (this is not common, apparently). The feedback was both constructive and very positive on the changes and alignment to their specific standards. Both bodies are now aware of our timelines and plans to submit our applications in mid-September 2021. This was a big hurdle and, while we have a way to go, we are making good progress. All this work has required incredible input from our academic and professional staff.
This leads me to the most important part of my message - the importance of taking a well-deserved break. Recharging and relaxing is essential for our work life balance. I know I don’t need to tell you all, but please take a break.
I understand that not everyone celebrates Christmas, however those that know me well know that I love Christmas. Consequently, in an effort to find an interesting journal article to finish the year I looked for research relating to Christmas. I came across this citation that warmed my heart a little Carter, S., & Astrom, K. (2004). Christmas-A cross-sectional study of UK academics suggests Santa Claus might be a professor. The Pharmaceutical Journal, 273, 897–899. Sadly, I could not access the abstract, but the title put a smile on my face. I did however manage to find this one ‘What makes for a merry Christmas?’ What struck me about this article was that whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the importance of connecting with family and friends over the holiday break and its relationship to well-being cannot be over-estimated.
Finally, I would like to say thank you to you all for your support and patience and wish you all a very happy holiday.