I have been most fortunate this year to have had the privilege of attending several events at our university and I am truly grateful for that especially after returning from my second maternity leave. When you return to work after an extended period, in many ways, it does feel like you are starting again, therefore it’s vital to have some time in my working life to be able to get to know the university a bit more again.
My first event involved the City Law One School Day (CLS). The agenda was focused on the opportunities and challenges ahead as CLS becomes one school. This was intended to be a day when staff members focus on topics such as the school’s identity, its students and culture. The event was held at an external venue and received more than 100 staff. It seemed to me that there was a real sense of commitment to making a success of the future for students and for staff. Of course, there are also some significant bodies of work that have been taken forward. One of the many areas for action raised was the need to do to promote staff achievements to current students and potential applicants. CLS are keen to promote a body of work that may help to define the spirit of the school. This is a film about Pro Bono work in South Africa and has been disseminated here Note that several CLS staff, as well as LEaD colleagues, have been involved. I came away from the day thinking that there was a strong, dynamic law team who could bridge theory and practice, were growing international partnerships and had various avenues for students. employability. However, there was also some need to develop a strong international alumni community, enhance internal communications and self-promotions while also looking at how to take law teaching into the future. I am looking forward to seeing how CLS grows together in the new law facilities.
Then I attended the Develop@city event, which offered a range of masterclasses and workshops. I really look forward to this annual event as I find the sessions useful for my Continuous Professional Development (CPD) while, at the same time, I get the opportunity to network with colleagues. I attended two sessions in the morning. One was about how we conduct workshops and the other was about how we could be using powerful language at work. They were really useful sessions, particularly the one about the language. It was interesting how we use ‘but’ in our normal conversation when we could be using ‘and’, which would steer our conversations in a more helpful and positive way.
Last but not least, was our LEaD annual learning at City conference. This year we focused on Promoting Student Success. I was inspired by the keynote speaker Colin Bryson and Maiwenn Gauvrit from Newcastle University who talked about their journey at Newcastle in a Combined Honours degree. It was interesting to hear Maiwenn describing her student journey from year 1 (nothing) to year 3 (fully engaged). It was refreshing to hear of a university who was paying for students’ contributions as part of internships, as well as giving students real-work-life skills such as leading meetings.
I came away from these events with a final reflection and it’s a quote from Colin Bryson which is that ‘ Life in HE is about “becoming not having” and changing and transforming through learning’. I am especially keen to adopt this practise into my work in the future.