Good afternoon. Please, for the purposes of this presentation, see me not as one of UHI’s Assistant Registrars but, rather, as a lecturer of The North Highland College, teaching on the Golf Management degree and Golf Facilities Management HNC/D, as I will be from 1 August 2005. That said, I hope that my experience of UHI, its systems, structures and workings (not least Faculties and Subject Networks) will give my presentation today some relevance.
I thought I would start with that the Subject Network is about. The network ranges from SVQ4 Hospitality Management through to the new MA Interpretation: Management and Practice. It has very strong links with FE provision within our academic partners, particularly in the fields of hospitality and leisure. In the past month, I have spoken with a number of staff involved in the network and all have expressed an enthusiasm for the scope and work of the network, although all have concerns about how it should move forward and develop. Helena Bell has led the network since its inception and has worked hard to encourage good team working, sharing best practice and a network approach to development. Within the network, two micro-networks have developed – Tourism and Hospitality and Leisure and Sport. These micro-networks (which have more in common than the large network) have met for development days (a couple of which I have attended). Part of my vision is to encourage these micro-networks to continue to operate effectively (although not to the exclusion of the bigger network, or faculty, picture).
Brief couple of diagrams showing the academic partner involvement in the network – nine partners have staff with interests. North Highland College has the second highest number of staff engaged within the network area.
Course provision is offered at six main college sites – plus at Argyll College and Lochaber College. One of the challenges for this network is to make its curriculum provision more flexible, so that it can be offered through learning centres and in more part-time formats. In the past year, two initiatives have progressed this: I was involved with Iain Morrison and the SWELL project in securing curriculum development funds for BA Tourism in order to enable them to develop materials for online teaching. I discussed with Helena an idea which has now been implemented – the offering of BA Tourism in a concentrated, part-time version, which will see teaching confined to October – March (allowing hospitality and tourism professionals the ability to take the course in the off-season). In addition, a further initiative to put some of the BA Golf Management course online through CECiL II, will also assist in meeting this part of the vision.
So to the ‘Vision’ itself. Within UHI at the moment, there appears to be a lot of people having visions (must be something in the water). My vision for the subject network is, unashamedly, low key. It is about supporting the staff within the network; encouraging them; growing with them; and helping them develop their courses and themselves to be the best that they can be. It will seek to complement the vision of the Dean of Faculty, but will draw most heavily on the aspirations of the network staff themselves. The reason behind such a vision is three-fold: Despite its heritage, this is a relatively new network – the incorporation of the Golf Management programmes and the new Interpretation Masters, means that the balance of the network has changed (and is not so dominated by Tourism, at degree level). This network, over the course of the past year, has had a tough time of it. The degree teams for Tourism and Golf Management feel bruised. All the SQA provision either have just had their new design principles approved and validated or are about to have their consortium developments approved in 2005-06. And, in addition, the area of Tourism within Inverness College is – the staff fear – under threat. The network has worked hard over the past two years in finding their voice. They do not wish to be told, from above, what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. Instead, they want to continue to grow incrementally and in sensible areas – with support of their partners and the Dean and the Subject Network Leader.
My vision is centred around nine areas: Primarily, communication – all subject networks succeed or fail through the effectiveness of communication – intra- and inter-network; intra- and inter-partner; with the Dean of Faculty; with Executive Office; with external stakeholders; with professional bodies – so the list goes on. Through my role as assistant registrar, I have seen good and bad examples of subject network communication. Understandably, a lot falls to the subject network leader and I feel, given my experience, I have the knowledge, patience and sympathy required to make communication a key plan to network success. Secondly, co-operation. I have already mentioned that the micro-networks within this network have been a success and will be an important vehicle to take developments forward – sharing assessments; sharing support activities; sharing teaching loads and other aspects of good practice. Confidence building. Again, I have already outlined why I think that this is crucial to the success of the subject network. Development has been central to my role within UHI for the past three-and-a-half years and I think I have the skills and the energy to encourage and grow this network, so that it can contribute effectively to UHI’s strategic development, and the development of each individual academic partner. Consolidation. Driven by the new SQA design principles, revision of our curriculum offering must be allowed to take place. It already has done in some areas – Hospitality, Tourism, Leisure Management and Professional Cookery. But in 2005-06, Golf Facilities Management, Sports Coaching and Fitness, Health and Exercise will undergo a similar experience. UHI and this network must continue to look to rationalise its delivery while reassuring the key teaching staff that their jobs are not under threat, and that consolidation provides an opportunity for greater scholarship and research activity.
Thankfully, that is where the alliteration ends! The remaining five areas within the vision reflect key UHI drives: Making the curriculum more flexible, be it online or through part-time delivery – so that more learning centres can engage in network-related programmes and student numbers can grow. I have experience of writing online materials, and could help the network members develop in this area. In 2005-06, Tourism and Leisure undergos its QAA Subject Review. Along with the application for tDAP, this puts quality at the heart of the networks development. Having had training as a potential QAA Subject Review facilitator and having attended nearly two dozen internal and external validation events, I would hope that I could not only support the team but lead the network in their response to quality-related issues. All academic partners within the network have strong FE provision in these areas, be it through SVQs, City and Guild awards, work-place learning, professional awards or short courses. There are opportunities to grow this FE market into an HE market. Similarly, there are opportunities to attract into UHI students undertaking study elsewhere – both Tourism and Golf Management are 2+1 degrees, and so could look for students from elsewhere (not least English Foundation degree universities). Scholarship and Research are crucial in terms of team development. Now that UHI has an approved policy in this area, an audit of staff skills and aspirations could easily be undertaken. Several staff within the network aspire to undertake research (and PhD study in some cases). As SNL, I would look to support and encourage this engagement. There is potential to develop this network – and a slide at the end of this presentation may suggest where – but it must be sensible and in line with the networks abilities and own aspirations. Otherwise, there is considerable investment required – something that is not always easy to achieve.
While the vision presented easily encompasses the full period of SN Leadership, 2005-09, there are a number of key priorities in the period 2005-06 which, I would suggest, make the willingness and ability of the SNL to ‘hit the ground running’ with full support from their employing academic partner critical. Subject Review is, of course critical not just to the network but to UHI as a whole. The one-year review of the recently re-validated Tourism degree, with its high emphasis on team staff development and curriculum and structural review, is critical also. UHI cannot afford to lose one of its totem programmes, particularly in an area of such community relevance. The on-going work in Aviemore and Lochaber, which I know others today are better placed to consider, are important to the health and vitality of the network. They remain, however, only a part of the work of the network and all network staff must feel engaged in the thinking behind these activities to ensure that they are not to the exclusion of other, equally important, work.
Conscious of time, a brief slide. Effective communication is to be at the heart of the Tourism, Hospitality and Sport network. In this regard, there are a number of activities I would see developing best through a programme of network activities. Helena has always been quite honest. With all her other commitments this year, she has been unable to travel round her network to engage in network activities. I would undertake to reinstigate the programme of trans-network visits, particularly by the SNL, as my experience within Executive Office has demonstrated to me the value of such contacts and the worth of the activity achieved in this manner.
Lest we forget, the appointment of an SNL is really about the competence of the host academic partner to lead the development of the area. I will not say too much about this slide – it speaks for itself. North Highland College already have one very successful subject network leader in Ronnie Taylor, Agriculture. They are committed to making subject networks work, and have encouraged this application at every stage. North Highland already has a strong commitment to hospitality and sport at FE and HE level. It is an area ripe with potential for further developments in tourism and leisure, and wishes to move into these areas when appropriate.
My own skills and talents are, perhaps, best left alone. Each of you on the panel have worked with me since I joined UHI and will already have formed their own opinion. I can’t help that. What I can say is that I have a large reservoir of enthusiasm to undertake this role and, I feel, considerable skills to help develop and progress this subject network. I fully admit that my experience in some areas of the network needs to develop – but, though my engagement with faculties and subject networks; my attendance at tourism and leisure network and micro-network development days; my attendance at faculty board; and my frequent discussions with the current SNL – I would argue that I have the ability and willingness to grow into the job and grow with the team. The assets I have are may be more procedural and generic than other SNLs, but (through speaking with a number of them in the past month) they feel that this is no great handicap and, indeed, is a very positive asset. I leave that decision in your hands.
Finally, the long-term vision: where could the network go? I leave you with a few thoughts (in line with thoughts already had by the Dean of Faculty and the subject network themselves). Each idea has thinking behind it and each idea is viable in its own way. The only point I would stress to the panel is that visions are all very well, but transforming visions into reality sometimes requires keeping your eyes on the ground in front of you, rather than continually aspiring to reach the horizon.
Thank you for listening to this presentation. I would be happy to answer any questions.
UHI Millennium Institute, Hospitality, Tourism, Leisure and Sport - Network Vision
Subject NetworkLeadershipSubject Network Leadership, Tourism, Leisure & Sport Rob MacphersonTourism, Leisure and SportRob MacphersonNorth Highland College20thJune 2005
Subject Network Leadership, Tourism, Leisure & Sport Rob Macpherson613191219Network Staff111
Subject Network Leadership, Tourism, Leisure & Sport Rob Macpherson6376191350Network Students
A Network VisionSubject Network Leadership, Tourism, Leisure & Sport Rob Macpherson• covers period 2005-09• considers immediate priorities• enhances networking activities• strengths of North Highland College• abilities of potential SNL• potential for SN development
Subject Network Leadership, Tourism, Leisure & Sport Rob Macpherson• communication• co-operation• confidence building• consolidationThe ‘Vision’
Subject Network Leadership, Tourism, Leisure & Sport Rob Macpherson• flexible curriculum• quality enhancement• FE/HE links/articulation• team development• sensible growth
Immediate PrioritiesSubject Network Leadership, Tourism, Leisure & Sport Rob Macpherson• subject review 2005-06• SQA consortium developments• new design principle developments• BA Tourism review 2005• MA Interpretation – first year• Hospitality Academy @ Aviemore• Outdoor Capital of UK @ Lochaber
Networking Activities 2005-07Subject Network Leadership, Tourism, Leisure & Sport Rob Macpherson• subject review 2005-06• curriculum review/consolidation• network development day• micro-network development days• progressing marketing opportunities• mapping articulation & progression• Hospitality Academy @ Aviemore• liaising with Dean and Faculty
Strengths of North Highland CollegeSubject Network Leadership, Tourism, Leisure & Sport Rob Macpherson• commitment to subject area• significant staff/student involvement• committed to development of UHI• committed to strong FE/HE links• leader in Golf and Aviemore devt• experience of SNL support• SNLs can share best practice• entrepreneurial and progressive
Abilities of Potential SNLSubject Network Leadership, Tourism, Leisure & Sport Rob Macpherson• change, but with some continuity• works well with network members• has already worked with networkmembers on a number of initiatives• knowledge of UHI and its systems• knowledge of SNL best practice• experience of quality-related activities• experience of staff development• committed to student engagement• skills will grow with subject network
Potential for SN developmentSubject Network Leadership, Tourism, Leisure & Sport Rob Macpherson• Hospitality Academy• expanding flexible delivery• greater articulation/progression• greater CPD engagement• greater links with FE• Event Management (+ Hons devts?)• Outdoor Adventure Management• Sports Management (with HighlandFootball Academy?)• Cultural Tourism……but all at the appropriate time
Thank you.Subject Network Leadership, Tourism, Leisure & Sport Rob MacphersonRob MacphersonNorth Highland College
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