So here we are at the start of a new academic year and for 1000’s of students of whatever age an exciting and daunting prospect ahead. It is also like that for newbie tutors like me!!
I am delighted to be delivering the CIPD Certificate in Learning & Development for Coleg Gwent this year and at the same time terrified of the responsibility. However after listening recently to a great speaker on leadership I do feel better that the scared feeling is ‘normal’ and means that I am only human….in fact it it me being authentic.
This trait of authenticity is one that is key in today’s leaders, be they tutors at college like me or industry or country leaders. You have to be yourself because when people see that they grow to trust and respect you. In my case this is key to helping students who are looking to me for support, guidance, experience and knowledge to share.
This role has also thrown up an interesting conundrum that colleges have as they are seen as academic institutions, yet they are also tasked with developing a commercial offering to business & industry. This then leads to a differing of opinion in how the students are treated…are they students or are they customers? Well, I would argue that they are both and therefore as tutors we have to recognise that we are providers of learning and of a service. We therefore need to give consideration to our ‘offering’ , how welcoming we are and how we ‘serve’ our customers throughout their learning time at the college.
This is now happening more and more in academic institutions as more and more students have to pay for their education and therefore want to see value for money. Something we as tutors need to be conscious of before, during and after our core delivery hours as we do not want to be tarnished with the brush labelled ‘unsupportive’ & ‘elitist’.
This is a fine line to walk for academia going forward but one that cannot be ignored. Bringing commercial private sector people into the academic arena will help this and vice-versa so that the outcome is a positive one both for the student, the institution & the company involved.
Thanks for your time, Suzanne Unsworth