On Tuesday 10th September 2019, Gill Morris, WHELF Development Officer, attended the Mercian Collaboration’s 2019 Conference at the beautiful University of Nottingham:
The theme of the conference was Building Bridges and opened with an introduction from Diane Job, Chair of the Mercian Collaboration.
The keynote speech about the Hive at Worcester highlighted the benefits and challenges of cross sector working.
Next I attended a workshop,(complete with board game!), led by Katie Mann of Coventry University. Katie was appointed in May 2018 to a new role of Partnerships Librarian, to support Transnational Education (TNE = delivered in a different country eg distance/online, local delivery [collaborative provision], international branch campuses and flying faculty)
Katie visited Middle East College (MEC) in Oman for a week where there are 2500 students studying for Coventry University degrees – mainly business, engineering and computing. She looked into issues with accessing e-resources, delivered information literacy sessions to teaching staff, shadowed staff there and reviewed library provision.
Katie believes skills needed for her role include relationship building, communication , negotiation, an open mind, the ability to analyse a situation and to apply library knowledge to new settings; and above all, patience!
The next session was led by Tom and Stacey from the University of Wolverhampton on Collaboration on UX Design. The user experience research was user focused and guided, moving away from traditional questionnaires and surveys which can be loaded/leading. The project team worked with Andy Priestner between November 2018 and February 2019.
After lunch the final session I attended was led by Kate and Catriona from the University of Warwick on Students as true partners – meaningful collaboration between students, academics and the library.
The project began in summer 2018, and focused on research and what this means to students. The aim was to encourage students to engage with independent research from their 1st year as an undergraduate.
The project team comprised 7 humanities undergraduates, 2 academic staff and 2 library staff. The project tied in with Warwick’s Educational strategy – teaching beyond boundaries and received funding from Warwick International HE Academy.
I found the theme of the conference both relevant and timely, and I had much to reflect on during the train journey back to South Wales. Some of the presentation slides can be viewed here.
My thanks to Dr Gaz J Johnson and the Mercian Collaboration Conference Team for inviting WHELF to their conference.