The Covid-19 pandemic encouraged me to blog again but I have realised that it has lent heavily towards my technocrat tendencies in areas of topics. This is a reflection of what I’ve been spending my time thinking about as an Associate Dean – “how do we take teaching online in days?” and then “how do we prepare an excellent blended experience for the next academic year?”
However… for all of the planning and mitigations that the sector is putting in place there is a point at which everything fades into the background and it is about belief and confidence. I watched The Matrix (1999) again recently and although there are vastly more complex readings – Neo is the one because he believes he is the one.
That is a bit more challenging in the real world.
There is a point at which no matter how much planning you have done, you need to (physically or virtually) face the students. That might be as an academic, a member of professional services, learning technologist, estates staff or as a student union SABS officer.
For colleagues who have just joined the sector and are still forming their identities and thinking about their roles, this is as hard as it gets. They need our support and encouragement at every step and our belief in them should not be left unspoken.
This year, those of us who have been around for a bit are likely to find that our belief in our own abilities has come under challenge as tools and techniques we have used in the past are no longer available to us and we have to adapt and change.
Each of us will be stressed and tested in different ways and each of us is likely to have moment where we think “Can I do this?”
I believe collectively we can.
That belief is sometimes not mine alone, it’s a belief in my colleagues and my University. As we head into the most challenging year in memory, I still believe in the transformation power of Higher Education, I believe in the hard work of my colleagues at Salford Business School, I believe in the work being done by colleagues across the University of Salford. I see this belief reaffirmed every day.
It’s a belief in colleagues across the wider sector who under difficult circumstances are providing the best possible support to students – many of whom face their own challenges. It is a belief in our students and what they are capable of.