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Doing what is important

This experienced Unit Coordinator of architecture does little research but rather, focuses on nurturing this students’ creativity. He gets good feedback from his students so is left alone and can pretty much please him self. More...

I have been coordinating units in Architecture here for 15 years and maintain good relationships with the profession and my sessional staff.  Currently, I am responsible for managing 20+ design studios, 16 units and about 300 students. My tutors are experienced and I have little trouble with them.  During my time here I have watched bureaucratisation increase and, with it, the volume of administration.  Since this university has experienced a major shift in its approach to teaching and learning, I am doing less administration.  As part of the re-structure a centralised administration unit was established to perform all the behind the scenes work.  All I have to do is send an email to them, or pick up the phone and the task is done.  This has enabled academics, like me, to focus on the creative and teaching side of our work with fewer encumbrances.

The nature of my discipline means that I focus on being creative and innovative.  I do little research.  I do not use the Centre for Learning and Teaching much because I don’t think I need it.  However, sessional staff may access the Centre and receive orientation before the start of semester, including topics on policies and procedures, technology, protocols and contracts.  New Unit Coordinators also access the Centre for help with pedagogy.

I was born overseas and arrived on the shores of Australia when I was a small child.  I was teased at school and so, even today, I struggle with feelings of inadequacy.  I feel I have to work harder, longer and better than others just to be average.  I still struggle with Australia’s culture.  It is a puzzle to me.

I think that collegiality in universities is over played. I do not interact with my colleagues a great deal because I think many of them just look out for themselves.   My view is that they are neither helpful nor are they particularly caring with their students.  I get good feedback from my students and I enjoy nurturing their creativity.  I am left alone and can pretty much please myself.  I’ll be retiring soon, but I will be leaving with a sense that, where the students are concerned, I have done a good job.  To me, that is what is important.

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