We had a BCU School of Media “Away Day” today – though it was just a few blocks up the road in another university building called The Pavilions, at our sports ground. Food and coffee and an opportunity to do a bit of blue sky thinking with a bunch of colleagues you don’t always get a chance to spend much time with.
The morning had three main strands to it, which were sort of inextricably interwoven. The first was the extent to which our courses are vocational, the second related to the 50/50 balance of theory and practice we’ve always emphasised, and the third was the range of skills that are taught on the course and how the shift in the media landscape impacts upon things like specialisms within the degree.
In the afternoon we talked about more pragmatic things like student retention and completion, the new building for the school, and the funding cuts faced by universities in general and media departments in particular.
The best thing about it was that the event was being tweeted by a handful of us as we went along (hashtag: #bcumediaawayday), so there was a bit of a backchannel going on, and some interesting people from other universities, as well as some of our students and colleagues chipped in with observations and feedback which was interesting and useful.
It was also nice to get off the main campus for a day, even if it was just to get together in a large room a mile up the road. Getting out of the office for the day to kick ideas around with colleagues can be really worthwhile from time to time…
All in all, a really productive day that helped us rethink what is already a really good media course (highest rated mixed theory and practice Media degree in the country, doncha know…) in new and innovative ways, and contextualise that in the realpolitik of universities in the Con-Dem age.
Lots of work to be done from here – but I think we’re all on the same page and we have some good ideas to throw into the mix. Going forward. At the end of the day…