Leading the unit coordinators

This Head of School has extensive coordination experience in the sciences and understands the role well. He demonstrates his value of the team and provides extra support for new coordinators and those with large classes. The enjoyment ‘edge’ of the job has been removed by weekend work needed to stay on top of his responsibilities. More...

My vast and varied experience of unit coordination began over twenty five years ago. At that time I received no induction and simply learnt on the run. Over the years I coordinated units: with other people; on my own; across first, second, and third year units; and for post graduate units. On several occasions I coordinated units in transition, units needing to be brought back on track and also many highly regarded, successful units. My approach is to model professionalism and conscientiousness.

As Head of School my interest in unit coordination is still strong though it is no longer my prime role and instead I work to support other unit coordinators. I often provide newer coordinators, tutors and demonstrators with support for our university based electronic communication system, though most don’t take up my offer of assistance. Much of my support is accepted by unit coordinators working with large classes of over 100, 200 and 300 students. I can see these coordinators require more assistance. We have no teaching formula in the school and I know that some units are easier to manage than those involving large numbers, camps and field trips. Most of the time my work is interesting and I prefer working on my own. Some experiences of working with others were challenging though some collaborations were also rewarding. While I understand that people need to feel valued I no longer see this as an issue for myself. Instead I try to show that I value the work of others coordinating units in the school.

In my teaching I encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning. Many are unhappy when not given a recipe to follow to complete an assignment, such as a literature review. I try to set my students challenging tasks and my assessments are set according to the learning required in the unit I am teaching. Due to my responsibilities as Head of School ‘the edge’ is often removed from my enjoyment of teaching and I spend most of my weekends working.

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