19 October 2015

Pro Dean Education... What does that mean?

Lesley Roberts, Pro Dean Education

Hopefully everyone is settled into the new year and our new students have been fully welcomed.

Last year we trialled use of a blog style approach to inform you a little more about the School and some of the behind the scenes workings. We saw an interesting student-authored blog about the experience of being one of the panel members for the quality assurance monitoring visit to UHCW and you learnt a lot about Professor Mark Pallen, including the fact that he is a previous winner of University Challenge!

This year I am really keen to use the blog to better inform you of the various research ongoing within the school and the special interests of some of our academics. So in forthcoming editions I hope we can get some insights from recent media stars (well local media stars at least) about work they are doing.

Dr James Gill was recently featured in the Leamington Courier in relation to his efforts to raise money for newer devices to improve GP training in the diagnosis of breast cancer, Professor Swaran Singh was featured on BBC radio (C&W) discussing a new play called ‘Cracked’ based on his research into mental health and Professor Francesco Cappuccio also had a radio slot discussing his research into salt so the first few blogs should be interesting and diverse.

But to start off the ball I thought I would share what I have been up to over the last year. I have been asked by a couple of students ‘What exactly is the role of the Pro Dean Education?’ and having been here a year now I thought I would try to explain this role.

I am a member of the senior executive team within the School with responsibility for all matters of education. We have a growing postgraduate research portfolio which engages in work which really does go from bench to bedside and significantly beyond with students undertaking work research around the globe. We also have a suite of postgraduate programmes which are also diverse in their coverage – from advanced clinical practice, to orthodontics, diabetes, reproductive technology, medical education and much more. And of course we have our MBChB!

All of these programmes have course directors and my role is therefore not one of detailed engagement within programmes but one of developing School strategy, monitoring delivery and quality metrics and supporting programme development. I also chair both the Graduate and Undergraduate Studies Committees for the Faculty which form part of the University approvals process for new courses, changes to courses and determination or application of regulation around education and student life. I also sit on University level Education Boards as Faculty representative and engage with some of the general activities of the wider university in relation to student progression and life.

Outside the University, I attend a variety of meetings engaging with NHS Trusts, Local Education Training Boards, Health Education West Midlands and other regional Universities. Much of my time at my desk is spent working through a rather uncontrollable email backlog.

So in essence I do a lot of sitting... Which is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle! I have also been trying very hard to remain research active (although this ‘activity’ also involves a lot of sitting at my desk) and am at the moment working on three papers which relate to medical education, thyroid dysfunction and the experiences of transition from paediatric to adult services… so somewhat eclectic in my focus.

One thing I don’t get enough time to do in this role is have as much face-to-face contact with students as I would like and I am aware so many of you are engaged in great work both within the School and through extra-curricular activity. You are publishing your own research, raising money for charity, developing your own peer learning approaches and generally impacting on the world in positive ways… So if you find yourself standing next to me in the queue for coffee please do introduce yourself and tell me something about what you are doing.

Good luck for the challenges ahead this year.

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