Theme: Sessional Staff

Sessional staff are an important resource for anyone in a unit coordinator role within a university. Managing them requires good organisational and communication skills.

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Caring about outcomes

This Associate Dean improved his efficiency and developed lists of tasks and deadlines to reduce his stress and workload. He values his sessional staff and actively supports them. He works hard and sets an example for his team, with whom he is open in his approach. More…

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Developing a different way of thinking

Design engineering approaches learning differently to other engineering units. It trains students to think and reflect differently to resolve design problems. This narratives expands on the approach. More…

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Developing one’s own style

Having a multidisciplinary background and commercial experience has imbued this coordinator in business with confidence to advise students about industry reality and their career paths. She considers unit coordination as a part of a journey and encourages new coordinators to talk and share with colleagues. More…

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Developing sessional staff

This coordinator supervises 30 sessional staff. To engender a consistent pedagogical approach with students she approached the T & L unit to develop a training program, which engaged staff strongly. Feeling isolated arises from work in a specialist area and limited collaboration opportunities. More…

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Give and take

With the flexibility and autonomy that the role provides, this coordinator has organised his role so that everyone ‘wins’ – himself, his students and the course. More…

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Giving heart and soul to students

This university was known as a teaching only institution until five years ago when the emphasis became more focussed on research.  This is good for me, because I love research in my subject area of applied mathematics, for which I … More…

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Learning to teach by osmosis

This Unit Coordinator learnt the role by being immersed in it, and to teach by osmosis and stumbling across approaches that worked. He advises tutors to provide an environment that enables students to develop their own mastery. More…

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Let go and delegate

I commenced here as a sessional lecturer in music and after three years was offered unit coordination of the foundation units. Supportive senior people, including an ‘unofficial’ mentor helped with my transition but, although I had a clear understanding of … More…

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Organised chaos

When she reflects upon her role this coordinator thinks ‘organised chaos’, labour intensity and the variety of abilities and skills she requires to perform all aspects of the role. She sees the time spent with staff as important to develop and support them. As a specialist she feels professionally isolated and worries about the rigour of developing a unit on her own. More…

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Organising teaching and learning is a big responsibility

To learn about teaching and learning this Unit Coordinator in engineering reads in the area. He finds coordination complex and prepares for a semester well in advance to reduce pressure. He finds first years have high expectations of being given everything and has adapted his approach. More…

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Prioritising my responsibilities

Despite five years experience as a unit coordinator this coordinator thinks it gets busier. With experience it becomes easier because you know what to do and how to do it but every year there are challenges. This year, for example, the electronic communications system was changed so she needed to learn the new system.
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Seeking a tree change

After a career in business this Unit Coordinator made the shift into academia. His interest in teaching and learning is strong as is his interest in student welfare. More…

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Surrendering myself to teaching

This Unit Coordinator is overwhelmed by her workload on her return to her university after an overseas academic contract. She describes her smooth organisation of large classes and working with other academics. More…

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Sustained by passion

Keeping subjects alive by implementing student feedback, entertaining them with stories and keeping the spoken word simple are keys to engaging the students of this Unit Coordinator who leads units set in early modern history. More…

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Teaching in blocks

Participants fly in to participate in this unit that involves 5 days of face to face time followed by on-line learning. The unit operates in six week blocks several times a year and is quite intensive. More…

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Teaching on short term contracts

After many years at his university this Unit Coordinator remains on contract employment. He describes his pleasure in working with previously unseen material, introducing different teaching strategies and recognising research opportunities. More…

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What sessional staff want

During my years as Unit Coordinator in the School of Nursing I employed and managed many sessional staff.  I explored and discovered that they seek validation of their professional knowledge, opportunities to develop professionally, and to connect with their profession … More…

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Working at the cutting edge

While strong support for teaching and learning is now offered at this Unit Coordinator’s university it was not the case when he first arrived. Over time technology and collegiate networks have strengthened to better support all teaching staff. More…

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Working with sessional staff

After many years in the university setting, this Unit Coordinator describes her strategies in working with large classes and numerous tutors to deliver quality teaching and learning to her students.
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Working with sessional staff – Quick Tips

    Below are some quick tips for the challenges associated with the theme Sessional staff.  The tips are itemised in dot form and are unashamedly simplistic, but are included to meet the just in time needs of busy academics.  There … More…

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