Shirley's Journal

I'm an online facilitator, currently working on the Ultraversity workplace degree programme. This is my personal journal and you are welcome to leave comments on the entries.


rss feed

Saturday, April 04, 2009
Improvement takes time

After a long session today that turned out basically to be about identifying changes to bring about improvement in response to evaluations, I wonder how far we have got. I believe the intentions of the meeting were to get agreement to self-manage change that is also directed and controlled from the top - an awkward situation. After a fairly short introduction, there was the first of two breakout sessions and the main problem was a huge mass of data presented shortly before the meeting - effectively the first opportunity to consider some of the data was at the beginning of the breakout.

Somehow, between us we managed to begin to analyse. I was then puzzled by what approach should be taken, but selected the pragmatic option of sticking mostly to what I know and can do. When the groups reported back, it started to look as though some themes would be identified - but there also seemed to be encouragement to identify as many themes as possible. Perhaps post-session reports will make this clearer. I started to wonder whether the outcome of a large meeting could really be the identification of key themes, especially with so little proper preparation.

The first breakout was followed by presentations, then a second breakout that asked groups to identify three changes that could be made for September. Although this seemed a good idea, it took me about five minutes to realise that we already have more than three changes planned - the last thing the team needs is additional changes. Instead, I looked at how suggestions fitted with existing plans that have yet to be approved.

Where have I got to? Perhaps the further involvement of the team in the planned changes - although since the team are already very involved, that's not much of a change. Where has the team got to? Perhaps affirmation that we are on track - but I think we knew that already. The session marked some kind of place along the road - not a milestone, maybe a widening of the path.

There was clearly a recognition of the need for improvement, some energy may have been generated and, for me, a realisation that one of the reasons that universities take a long time to change is because they are full of intelligent people who are capable of debating ideas. What we might need is more frequent debate.

Posted at 03:28 pm by shirley

Previous Entry

Next Entry