Lots of my colleagues were still on leave, so it was quite quiet in the office.
So I was on leave last week and the week started with a Bank Holiday in England, so it was a shorter week. Having spent the week on leave, I was not too surprised to find that there were 109 unread emails in my inbox, it didn’t take too long to get those down to six that I needed to deal with.
Spent some time working out our finance system, I rarely raise purchase orders, so I do find it can be challenging to get to grips with the finance system and processes. Though I will say ours is certainly simpler than ones I have used in the past.
Next week I am off to Manchester for ALT-C. I revised and updated a blog post about making preparations for the conference.
Having probably spent time and effort securing the funding to go to a conference such as the ALT Conference in Manchester, it makes sense to spend some time preparing in advance of attending. Last minute rushing and chaotic flipping through the programme on the day of the conference, means you are probably not getting as much out of the conference as you could. I think this year with the hybrid nature of the conference, it makes even more sense to do some planning.
I have also written a blog post about packing and what to take to the conference, which I will be publishing later. Of course if you are attending online then this old post might be useful.
Some meetings were cancelled this week, as a key member of staff was off sick, which gave me some more time for planning.
Had some discussions with GuildHE about Jisc attending a network meeting at end of September to present on Learning Analytics and Student Support.
Had a session with a member of staff about agile methodology and how I use an agile approach, JIRA and Confluence to plan my week and my work. It reminded me that I haven’t written this up (for myself) and maybe I should write a blog post on my workflow and processes.
I updated my new stuff and old stuff event and conferences pages on the blog. Helpful for me to remind myself where I have been and where I am going, but may also be useful for others to either find out about a future event, or to let me know about an event that I might want to attend (and isn’t in the list).
I enjoyed this Twitter thread on diversity, merit and excellence.
"Oh, but we cannot compromise excellence for diversity."
This is a statement that I have heard many times at faculty meetings when trying to hire minoritized scholars (heck, even women scholars).
Here is a 🧵 on how to respond back:
— Dr. Ruchika Prakash (@ruchikaprakash) August 26, 2022
I often hear people about appointing the best person for the job based on merit, or inviting the best speaker for the conference. This often though misses the whole picture and what diversity can bring to the holistic metaphorical table.
Diversity increases innovation: diverse groups are known to produce innovative solutions, especially to ill-defined problems (much of the science we do). Demographic diversity is a proxy for diverse thinking.
Having a diverse team means a better team, this isn’t about recruiting the best individuals, it’s about having the best team. I think I might write more about this in a future post.
I also liked this comment from the thread on higher education, and the importance of diversity in the demographic of the staff in an university.
Demographic diversity is beneficial to the very experiences of undergraduate and graduate students, creates a feeling of belonging in students, and provides them with role models that they can aspire to.
So if you are attending ALT-C next week in Manchester, see you there.
My top tweet this week was this one.
Well back from leave, cleared the inbox down to six emails to deal with today. How's your week going?
— James Clay (@jamesclay) August 30, 2022