Reflections from the #ODHE group meeting

I work in OD at the University of St Andrews and I’ve been part of the ODinHE group for two years. I value the group’s collective expertise and knowledge hugely, and at each meeting I take support from the commonality of issues we all face, as well as question and challenge about ways to work differently.
Taking time out to spend amongst other OD practitioners helps to lift my gaze from the pressure of daily operational issues to longer-term strategy. From the October meeting I reflected on the need to set personal CPD objectives and the fact that it’s up to every member to extract value from the group by investing effort to make connections, ask for ideas and share stories.
For me, the value of the meeting can be demonstrated in the number and range of action points I’ve taken. Amongst my dozen actions are:
  • To investigate if there’s a correlation between our staff survey results and NSS scores
  • Explore if may be a useful app to help me manage my team’s workload
  • Share resources about my University’s mentoring schemes with others
  • Talk to my manager about how we encourage digital literacy in our staff
  • Investigate the ‘academic review meetings’ held at Leeds University
  • Think about ‘aggregate marginal gains’ and how that can influence my OD approach
  • Share with colleagues information about Cranfield’s income generation development programme
  • Conduct a project mapping exercise with my own team to ensure inter-connectedness and alignment with University strategic.
Some of these actions will definitely happen, whilst others will likely remain ideas or good intentions when operational work pressure resumes. None, however, would have been generated without me taking time out of my daily role to hook into 30, sparky, OD brains. For which, I am grateful.
Catriona Wilson

Reflections on #ODHE National Meeting

By Cindy Vallance, Head of Organisational Development, University of Kent
Twitter @cdvallance

Clifton Bridge

I write this as I sit on a train, returning to Canterbury following my first meeting with the ODHE group. The two day meeting took place in Bristol and brought together a group of about 30 OD practitioners across a range of HE institutions. Sessions were held across a wide array of topics that included digital literacy, business skills development and academic mentoring – to name just a few!

Why have I joined the group? I have held the role of Head of OD at the University of Kent for about 2 1/2 years and have focused my efforts during that time on getting to know and and work with colleagues across my own University to achieve our own organisational objectives.

However, as a relative newcomer to the UK from Canada at just over four years, I am very interested in increasing the breadth and depth of my professional networks and in deepening my understanding of the OD context within the UK HE sector. I am also a strong believer in the principle of reciprocity and I am interested in identifying ways to share my own ideas and experiences with others in the spirit of collaborative and continuous learning (eg. see blog entry: aspirations are not enough).

My belief, based on my experience attending just one meeting, is that there are great opportunities with this group to do all of this through the complementary mix of practical tips, theoretical concepts, and professional relationship development based on shared interests and values that were all encompassed within a single meeting.

I look forward to future meetings and while I already know that I must regretfully miss the next session in February due to a previously scheduled commitment, I am confident that this group will provide great value over the year ahead and look forward to contributing to the group as an active member.