Sunday, 10 July 2011

A Summer Conference, CPD, Cello, and Cheesy Chips

There was a real buzz to the Mary Seacole Building this week. The Education in a Changing Environment Conference came for three days this week.

It was the 6th International Conference and this year the very best practice in teaching and educational research in higher education was explored and presented through themes of Social Media; Learning, Teaching and Assessment; Networking and Partnerships. Throughout the three days I only heard good things being said by the delegates, which when one thinks about the enormous changes affecting Universities at present, was very heartening. 

The inner gardens of the Mary Seacole Building were transformed as a place to enjoy food, music and good company. Each day there was different food to try, and different music to hear. The smells and sounds were delicious and very tempting – I however, conscious of my ever expanding waist line, reluctantly resisted the temptation. The funniest moment of the conference was hearing about the highly embarrassed electrician, extension lead in hand, looking for a plug socket. Someone had forgotten that electric guitars and amplifiers need real electricity to power them. The situation was saved by our School Administrator, who heroically gave up her kettle plug so that we could all get to hear the music – Well done Angela!

There was no such problem for me earlier in the week when I attended NHS North West at 3 Piccadilly Place, Manchester.

I was there to take part in a discussion around the future arrangements for CPD commissioning in the North West. Now 3 Piccadilly Place is a relatively new building and bears no resemblance to the old SHA headquarters, which can still be seen from the 11th floor. It is all floor to ceiling windows, Terrance Conran furniture and furnishings and absolutely no detail has been left unaccounted for. Everything is automatic, you won’t get past the security unless your name has been lodged with them, the lifts take you only to the floor you select, and even the gents toilets have a vase full of fresh flowers!

The meeting was for the North West Deans and Heads of School to discuss how in the brave new world of a transformed NHS, continuous professional development of the workforce was going to be achieved. In the future it will be possible for each NHS Trust to use 30% of funds to currently given to each University in any way they see fit. 30% of this funding must be kept to ensure core CPD provision is available and 40% is to be used in more flexible ways – again determined by each Trust, but delivered by each of the North West Universities. Given that up to now all the money has come to the School, it really did feel like the dawning of a brave new world.

Cellos world also changed this week. He was transformed from a shaggy slightly overweight looking beastie to a slim, sleek, carefully coiffered handsome dog. Yes it was his ten week visit to the dog groomers this week. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of his owner. Not only is my six weekly visit to the hairdresser overdue, I must confess that despite resisting the temptation of the ECE lunch time gastro extravaganzas all week, I was so easily persuaded on Friday that eating a large bowl of cheesy chips was a good thing to do. BUT it was a great bowl of chips, and a bowl of chips to die for. I know they were 100% full of carbohydrates!

And this morning’s blog posting is the 100th blog posted since I began. Many thanks to all of you who read the blog (now over 17000 hits a month a month), and I promise to try and make it easier for you to leave comments when the University moves to its new web system later on this year. But it is brilliant knowing that when I sit in the quietness of my house at 05.00 am on a Sunday morning, that so many people will later on in the day, read about my (sometimes strange) view on the world, and what I have thought of my week or my take on what has happened in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Salford. I am humbled and pleased in equal measure. Thank you.