On Tuesday I ran my ‘Small Changes… Big Difference’ session in the Sociology department. Due to the snow we didn’t get quite as many attendees as expected but the staff uptake was pretty good, with 8-9 members of staff wanting to come, although only 4 members of staff actually made it to the session. The session went extremely well. The staff were very enthusiastic about some ideas we put forward to them, in particular the introduction of reading groups and dissertation presentations to second years. They were also very critical of some ideas, particularly recording seminar discussions! It was great to have staff really listening to our ideas and thinking how they could be implemented in the department.
As a result of this session, I am now going to be taking the small changes that I believe are the most important and useful to Staff-Student Committee next week and then on to Teaching Committee. The staff at the session were key members of staff in terms of changing practices in the department and they have also told me who else I need to go and speak to in order to get these changes pushed through. In particular I think I will be pushing for reading groups to be introduced, as well as a departmental blog and dissertation presentations for third years. At the session we also stressed the importance of changing the expectations of first years because if a culture is createdÂ whereby students are more apathetic and less engaged with their learning then this continues throughout the three years of their undergraduate degrees.
If anyone is interested in organising a similar session in their department, let me know and I can give you some pointers as to how to go about this. I also have some more extensive notes on the session if anyone is interested.