Academic Staff Development Newsletter - July 2018

Welcome from Dr Simon Swales, Head of Academic Staff Development

Where has the year gone? Am I the only one wishing that we could slow down time? I guess that it is a feature of being so busy, with little or no time to stop and reflect on what is going on. A regular comment from our development activities is the value of having the time and space to think and discuss things with colleagues. Linked to these discussions, another frequent comment is the relief you have when you find out that you aren’t the only one struggling with a specific aspect of your work. As we prepare the ASD offer for the 2018/19 academic year, I hope that we can provide you with precious time and space to step out of your busy schedule so that you can reflect and engage in learning with your colleagues. We look forward to working with you in the coming year. On a personal note, it has been the most rewarding year standing in for Alison Leggett. The team are amazing and I would like to thank them for all of their hard work and support. You will hear about some of their accomplishments on this page. I look forward to welcoming Alison back in late July/August.

Dr Simon Swales

Leadership and Management Development

What struck me this year is the appetite for leadership and management development, and the positive engagement on all our workshops and programmes. Leadership after all is a nebulous subject, especially when you try to describe your own experience of it. What is it? What words do you use? Simon Sinek (author of “Start with Why”) says that good leaders make you feel safe. Linked to this, we introduced a model on one programme that describes the social concerns that drive human behaviour. These are Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness (developed by David Rock and referred to as SCARF). The intention was to help leaders better navigate the social world at work and try to make it feel safer. Our programmes and workshops also offer a safe place for people to experiment and take risks. Action learning sets are a common feature, providing a simple and powerful way for small groups to learn from each other. Many come to these for the first time armed with healthy scepticism, only feeding back how surprisingly effective they had been. They also provide a chance to practise those essential leadership skills of listening and asking good questions. With a university-wide focus on staff and student wellbeing, if I had to pick a theme for our leadership and management offer for the coming year, it would be safety. Helping you as leaders to support others to feel safe and creating a safe place for you to learn and develop as a leader.

Research Staff Development

The past year has been a busy one. In September, Mike Gulliver joined us from the GW4 team. In addition to all of the normal training and support that we offer, the extra pair of hands allowed us to up the number of career coaching 1:1s to over 100, and freed up Claire Wrixon to take on support and development of the Vice Chancellor’s Fellows Scheme. The first cohort of twelve fellows have been in post now for nearly six months, and have benefitted from a series of dedicated events and training, including a two-day residential. We’ve recently extended the residential opportunity to Early Career Researchers who want to make the most of their first postdoc. The growth hasn’t stopped there. With support from URC and the PVC-Research, we have been able to also add Katie Manktelow and Rachel Dill to our team, and take a significant step towards improving the way that Bristol supports Research Staff. Later on this year, we’ll be launching the first stages in a Research Staff mentoring scheme which will grow, over the next two or three years, to cover all Pathway 2 staff. We’re also rebuilding our training and online provision to include writing and careers support. All of this work will be done under a new banner. As we’ve engaged with Research Staff to shape our growth we’ve heard you speak of the need for not just ‘more’, but ‘different’ – support to step away from the noise and distraction of your everyday, and take clear time and space to train, think, write, and plan. We’ll be officially launching ‘Bristol Clear’ for Research Staff at the UoB in October, so look out for more information throughout the summer.

Learning and Teaching

Academic Staff Development support learning and teaching at the University of Bristol through a number of routes to suit a range of staff roles and levels. We offer a range of Learning and Teaching workshops and resources to support all staff who teach to allow them to continue developing and enhancing their practice.

About us

Academic staff development aims to enhance and support excellence in academic practice at Bristol across leadership, professional skills, research and teaching, working with staff across all three Academic Pathways.

Find out more

Featured events

Browse all workshops from the ASD homepage

Team News

There have been large changes to the team over the last year. 

We are pleased to have a new Administration Team in ASD: Sarah Armstrong is the Administrative Manager, joining us from the Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies (CELFS). Working to support all that ASD has to offer, we have welcomed five new Administrators: Alice Kwong, Jon Tilley, Magda Clark, Rachel Dill and Stuart Tait - who bring a wealth of administrative experience with them from across the University and outside. We congratulate Katie Manktelow on her new role as Staff Development Adviser. 

We would like to welcome Emile Poletto-Lawson to the team, our new Educational Developer who started on 25 June. 

Thank you to Simon Swales for being the Head of Academic Staff Development since June 2017. We look forward to welcoming Alison Leggett back in August 2018. 

All colleagues are listed on our meet the team webpage.


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Spotlight On...GW4 Crucible

January-May saw the GW4 Developing People team running four ‘Labs’ of the GW4 2018 Crucible focusing as a whole on the GW4 theme of ‘Resilience, Environment and Sustainability’. Each Lab is a residential two day event facilitated by GW4 staff, the Crucible Programme Director Dr Tracey Stead and a wide range of other invited experts and guests from across the four GW4 institutions. Cruciblees took part in activities focussed on internal and external collaboration and career planning ranging from panel discussions with policy experts, to mock radio interviews, to developing their understanding and experience of public and policy engagement, and collaboration in research and project management. GW4 Crucible is not only great fun, but also gives participants a great opportunity to foster new ways of thinking and working, preparing them to be successful future researchers, and research-leaders. The final lab included a dinner with senior team members from the four institutions and an opportunity to plan and write applications for the small pot of seed funding available to participants at the end of the programme

Find out more about GW4 Crucible

What Academic Staff Development did for me...

Dr Victoria Wilson is the Interim Senior Research Projects’ Manager for the Primary Care Infections team, within the Centre for Academic Care. Here is her story about her experience of our Stepping into Leadership programme.

I was encouraged to apply for Stepping into Leadership at my annual review last year, and the need for it became even more apparent when I stepped up to become the Interim Senior Research Projects’ Manager for the Primary Care Infections team.

I applied with some trepidation. Would it involve too much of a time commitment (4 full-day workshops, plus 3 lots of 2 hour action learning workshops), with no tangible outcomes? I was delighted to find the contrary experience and found it completely invaluable. There were 15 of us from across the university (although coincidentally we were all from scientific departments). This seemed like the perfect number – enough people so that we could do group exercises, have a range of personalities, experiences and problems, but small enough for everyone to be able to participate fully and learn. It was a supportive, collaborative and ‘safe’ environment to explore the challenges of leadership. I felt supported and able to contribute, allowing myself to come out of my comfort zone on occasion and, in the process, learn more. Even the action learning sessions (which I was not alone in not looking forward to), were great, informative and helpful.

We were led by 3 different instructors in total, who all had different styles. This contributed to the sessions being dynamic and varied. All the instructors were knowledgeable and experienced in teaching leadership skills, providing insightful and clear guidance on how to deal with various challenging situations in the workplace whilst understanding the nuances of the University system. Each session started with a review of progress from the previous session and thus built upon the session before.

It was fascinating meeting people in other academic departments and comparing and contrasting our experiences, both good and bad, and learning how situations could be handled differently. I enjoyed making contacts with other people from within the University and learning not only from well qualified instructors but also through peer support. I learnt so much from it: about myself, other personalities and preferred ways of working, effective communication and collaboration (which will all lead - hopefully - to good leadership).

Engineers’ House was a great venue too - fabulous food, sweets and a real sense of being looked after!

What We're Doing... 

Jane Pritchard hosted the Enhancing Student Learning Through Innovative Scholarship Conference on 11 and 12 July 2018.

Jane Pritchard, Louise Howson, Julian Kendall and Emilie Poletto-Lawson attended the Advanced Higher Education Teaching and Learning Conference: Teaching in the Spotlight: Learning from Global Communities HEA conference in Birmingham on 4 July. 

The Staff Development Team are hosting the Staff Welcome Fair on Thursday 9th August at 1:30 pm in the Wills Memorial Building. The Staff Welcome Fair will provide you with the opportunity to hear from a member of the University Management Team, speak to representatives from a wide range of departments across the University, and meet other new starters. Please note that booking is essential in order to attend. If you haven’t done so already, please check out the new staff webpages where you can find other useful information to help you get started in your new role at the University.