University: Adapt From These


I have communicated through lectures and teaching and student support, including directly and making resources. Some of these are on my website: I was known in teacher training for producing many of my own materials. I paint and draw. I use ICT, with webpages created or via software: using such as MS Powerpoint/OO Impress and Mind Maps. I blog too on liberal religious topics. I have written a research PhD, an MA dissertation, and given presentations at HE level, but also I preach and have written articles for non-academic audiences. I write liturgical material that is meant to evoke a meditational response.

In teaching I have been trained to assess whether a student has received and understood basic information given to them, by questioning and answers and by return of material. Clearly one learns methods for clarity and foresight of reception of information.

I understand the importance of white space and layout for communicating basic ideas, whether with bullet points or otherwise; in minute taking I enter the essentials in clearly laid out format with proposers, seconders and votes passed; I have edited to compress but also to clarify - does the sentence get the point across, and sometimes what else is needed, with a reduction in technical language where possible and without loss of insider meaning, and I have contributed to manuals including making my own 'Help' files.

Team work:

I have always promoted team work, and generated discussion of the tasks. For example, I have made suggestions about focusing on specialities and skills, and at Grimsby College as HE Research Assistant it was clear that my colleague could specialise particularly on hardware and me on Study skills and some software.

In office work (at GTS (UK) Ltd.) we each had our own tasks and roles in acquiring and processing data and went on to prioritise reports to be finished and despatched in time. I have worked in teams in teaching and teacher training. There was team teaching, which was usually but not always pre-planned. Team planning was necessary in a large school where pupils came through classes in large numbers, so that via informal and formal meetings each knew what the other was doing. I have indicated where I have not understood or found difficulty, or I have produced something of use (like a resource) for others. It has been a case of parts adding to a greater whole. Some team work has really been simply liaising ahead of my own efforts, as in bespoke training (e.g. SGS Redwood Services).

GTS (UK) was one example where assumptions were not made about people gathering internally known types of information but where each assisted the other in what they knew.

I have given tutorial support to students often new to subjects, communicating with patience and step by step.

Liaison and Networking:

Following the principles inside something like Every Child Matters has meant extracting the idea of collaborating and thus best practice - that is learning from others outside and their competence, and offering one's own. I want to pass on to others in my denomination experience of ICTuse of music that has become an effective process locally by experience.

All the time I have attempted in work to be the representative of the organisation as I approached people particularly outside the organisation, as well as retaining professional standards within. I have passed on, or taken, information as necessary to outsiders and hopefully at least as courteously as within.

I have taken advantage of contacts and encounters with people carrying out services to create websites and bespoke training. Relationship contacts led to bespoke training at SGS Redwood Services; a holiday to Bonskeid House turned into three paid and expenses paid residential trips there to train and do the website; and a visit to the optometrists led to website authoring. In a more mundane fashion was the ringing up and other contact with information givers at GTS (UK), in making introductions and asking for sometimes sensitive information. I have business cards to give to people, and the website has one function as my shop window.

Service Delivery:

Students are now paying for their tuition and services (if for home students in arrears, like a large graduation tax) and expect a high standard of delivery from office staff as well as tutors.

I have broad based experience in working at university level, including most recently. Brought in to the SUPA Group in the University of Lincoln, I gave guidance regarding evaluation forms and indeed set about with speed and efficiency my own monitoring and marking of the marking of student portfolios. My educational and teaching experiences gave me several advantages in the activity. So I can relate to the wide variety of colleagues with a work focus.

I have trained within my church where I have undertaken pastoral confidentiality. I am aware of the inability to offer such confidentiality in situations in school and FE teaching and support. At GTS (UK) there was commercial confidentiality regarding the use of spreadsheets in dealing with supply side information.

At GTS (UK) I was involved in welcoming in visitors to the office as well as following procedures and instructions.

I provided flexible customer focused drop in service for students with study skills at Grimsby College. I found this work particularly rewarding as I was responding to students needs across a whole range of ICT, journals and study skills requirements. The ability to work flexibly and access a range of resources (many which I personally developed myself) added value to students' learning experience.

Delivering lessons to sixth form students required an immense amount of planning and prioritising workloads; I was working in a high pressure environment to meet timetable requirements. This also included assessing students' work and providing constructive feedback so that students were able to develop and progress. My role also demanded effective and timely communications with colleagues and parents so that the college could function effectively. I used ICT constantly; resources I created were delivered via the Internet through Interactive Whiteboards.

Decision Making:

When designing training, I have liaised and listened carefully, and produced something to work - at SGS this was a storage system and tackling different IT abilities through more understanding. So these were decisions taken alone. But others have been taken in committee - e.g. departmental and divisional in teaching - where contributions have been made where they would otherwise not be made and then some sort of agreement is worked out. In church meetings an aim is made towards consensus in order that decisions are 'owned' and people can go forward with them. The latter is the best approach. A model introduced to the Church of England has been Indaba, or at least partly introduced: the whole is a useful model because everyone is to make a contribution and the whole issue worked through in depth and at different angles, but a decision via a communal consensus is made. I rather think this community pattern of decision making is better.

Planning and Organisation:

In planning ahead I have connceted a scheme of work with lesson plans, and made the assessment realistic to student potential. I have evaluated my own work performance.

I understand GANTT charts. Of course I have noted and kept to appointments, at short notice and longer.

Teacher training involved lesson planning, delivery in the lessons, assessment and self-evaluation. Sometimes short notice changes were made, either due to lesson evaluation or for external reasons and these were inforporated into the round of preparation and delivery. I created a scheme of work.

Each week I produce the music for Hull Unitarian Church. This involves sourcing the music, and the hymns, and putting everything needed in the correct order to CDs, and then using the equipment on the day. This task must meet the deadline of every Sunday, so burning the CDs is on a Friday and so preparation comes before this. Longer term this involves issues of computer storage and the hardware of all equipment.

At GTS the team would move between flexible time data gathering and inputting and deadline based report creation (based on an assessment of how long it would take to produce).

My PhD was a case of very long term planning (and lack of planning - unexpected corners turned) but then a writing period up against a deadline.

I understand the difference between assessment and evaluation, and employ both as required.

Initiative and Problem Solving:

A recent example of initiative and problem solving is how to extract lyrics from a Music file when they come from a .PDF file in the wrong order. First, identify coding in a different parallel .XML file. Try and make a macro clip to extract from there. Second join a group and ask for help. Third, use the help, tidy it up and with further help extract the titles as well.

I can see a problem, analyse it, and produce a solution: as with the music delivery at the church with my setting up hardware and planning week to week the music content liaising with others. When I rejoined my church there was no organist and CDs were being used. There were about 40 tunes on two CDs with choirs placed each time into a player. It was very inadequate. So the first thing I did on taking over was go behind a curtain as the organist once did, and use a domestic player but loud. The CD was prepared in advance, so all tunes were burnt on to one CD. The result was an instant improvement in delivery and a small illusion of normality. I sourced music via the Internet, particularly an Australian organ playing website, and expanded the number of hymns by learning music editing software. Then the church gave me the budget to go to a DJ systems repair man (not the most expensive place) who installed a double CD player, mixer, microphone connections and powerful corner speakers for £700. I now produce two CDs each week, each the same and prepared, and the result is a fully professional sound. The hymn tunes I cannot source are made up by me having learnt music composing software. Although I cannot read music, I can copy it and hear it, and thus the software produces very good impersonations of piano and organ (and I use woodwind), so that now all hymn books and all hymns are covered. Thus there was a problem, I identified early and immediate solutions, and a longer term one that produces some very good organ music playing (all still from behind a curtain).

I learnt correct procedures - for example, regarding discipline and pupils - in general and in each school specifically - during supply teaching and sixth form teaching for both effect and self-protection. Another example was equal opportunities and applying best practice. When lesson plans needed to be completed quickly, I didn't reinvent resources but took what was available quickly. Most problems encountered had already been encountered by staff and one simply took the advice of experience.

Analysis and Research:

There has been qualitative research: my thesis was New Denominationalism: Tendencies Towards a New Reformation of English Christianity. Two churches participant observation; theological study; semi-structured interviews with ministers. Replaced standard church/ denominational sect continuum by conversionism to radicalism, adaptable to other bodies. The MA Theological Understanding of Contemporary Society dissertation was Plurality in Proximity: The Gospel of Unitarian Universalism for Contemporary Culture. Linking UUism with postmodernity. The latter involved much internal knowledge, and the ability to categorise into types of belief, and also the rational and romantic. But I was also involved in quantitative research with the department, in that I was the Deputy on Steering Committee: Longhill Survey of Church and People, using random survey techniques - led by Dr Peter Forster. I am also aware of different schools of history and of approaches to RE, thus understanding the difference between deductive and inductive research.

Sensory and Physical Demands NA Work Environment NA Pastoral Care and Welfare NA

Knowledge and Experience: Self-taught, I am a speedy typist with ICT qualifications to RSA III standard.

In sixth form asnd school work I was involved with admissions, open days and student data inputting.

I have worked in several office environments, including the NHS library settings with classifying books (by summary reading, not by transferring classifications) and entering on to a database. I have entered data on to spreadsheets and produced summary reports with a team. I have also done administrative support, such as within teaching (transferring my own spreadsheets of assessment data on to the college system).

I constantly update my ICT skills. I use interactive websites never used before. I now can use MuseScore for music writing and output. I have transferred across to using Open Office including presentations on Open Office Impress. I transferred my website to Dropbox so to upload as well as download using broadband (and not having to use FTP). I remain flexible and adaptable, therefore.

I have taken minutes recently in church voluntary work and as Steering Committee Secretary. I have edited my own PhD thesis and MA dissertation. School and sixth form teaching involved creating easy to read and sufficient to follow resources.

I was involved in research myself, and the need to handle data accurately and interpret carefully, and also securing the best language for its accurate transmission - the simpler the language, the clearer, the better, even when ideas are complex. I have transcribed interview data in my own PhD, entered data from surveys and data collection forms for departmental work, entered data into databases at the NHS, organised project management in the local church, typed up minutes for Sea of Faith Network and the church, and discussed research with HE students of Travel and Tourism.

Recent work at the University of Lincoln has retained some contact experience with students and their work, and with teaching staff and monitoring their work. I retain knowledge of teaching issues including wider issues of the university system and funding.