19 September 2019

CELT conference 2019

I had to see my peer guides on the Friday before Welcome Week. That meant I had to come back early from our Laugharne fieldtrip! And that was a bit of a bummer; normally the last full day in Laugharne is coring day, and I would lead the core description. But now they would have to do without me!

We drove off as soon as we could. Just after 9PM we were back in Menai Bridge! So not much later I was back in Bethesda. I wouldn't see my Peer Guides until 1PM but it's a 4 to 5 hour drive; we would have to leave early the next morning in order to be in Menai Bridge on time. And that would be stressy. We would also get a morning rush hour and that would make things worse. So we went the day before! But that meant I could spend the morning on other things. And that other thing was the CELT (Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching) conference. The University organises a teaching conference each year and I always try to go. This time too!

It started with a welcome from some people from higher management. We had a new Vice Chancellor, and the old pro-vice chancellor for teaching and learning would become deputy vice chancellor. And after these words the parallel sessions started. I went to one that contained a talk on employability (and how it is difficult to incorporate it into the curriculum), one on how to get the plagiarism across to students, and one on maths anxiety and what to do about it. Then it was time for coffee.

the new Vice Chancellor speaks

After coffee I went to a session on wellbeing. Both ladies speaking were from the mental health service. They spoke of how not having a mental health problem doesn't mean all is well. You can still be stressed or lonely or both. And that needs tackling too! And they spoke of how foreign students can be hard to reach; there are countries in which every contact you have to a consultant has to be reported to potential employers. I could see why that puts people off!

Then it was lunchtime. I quickly grabbed something and walked out. I had to see my Peer Guides! The Head Peer Guides seemed to have everything under control. I didn't have to do much! But by the time we were done they keynote lecture was well under way. I decided to pop into a computer room to sort out some Peer Guide stuff. And then went back for the rest of the conference.

The next thing on the agenda was a group session where we would discuss various aspects of university strategy: multidiciplinarity, bilinguilism, accessibility, diversity, transitions, employability, wellbeing, and one more. And after that the old pro-VC for T&L gave a final speech and that was it! Time to go back to my computer room and sort out a few more things.

Next year I hope to attend the entire fieldwork, but I think that time we will all be coming back on the Thursday. So I can go again! It tends to be a nice opportunity to pick up some good ideas. And meet some people from other schools!

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