I will answer the question of how to meet the demands of managing college programmes and their validating partnerships, while maintaining past successes by using personal experiences of doing so. Embedded in these responses are examples of the demands of such a work situation. For example attending meetings, communicating with validating partners and hosting various visits. So how can you meet the demands of managing such a work circumstance?
Broadly speaking, there is the need to plan, carry out the plan and address interruptions through creativity and collaboration. Specifically, by using an appropriate media (app for planning, whiteboard and/or diary) you should fill in:
- Teaching and teaching related commitments. This includes times, dates and venues.
- Time for meetings with students and colleagues. For example, I had office hours for students-morning and afternoon slots. Meetings with colleague were arrange when necessary.
- Time for answering and responding to emails and calls. I usually give prompt replies to those from students and my line manager. And the validating universities and awarding bodies.
- Time to read about new developments, changes and innovations occurring in partnering institutions. New developments occurring there may affect programmes offered at the local college level.
Meeting the demands of managing college programmes and their validating partnerships also involve:
- Having a list of the universities validating the college programmes but, more importantly, there is the need to acquire and store names and details of key people to make easy and frequent communication between institutions.
- Filling in times of various deadlines for information to be submitted to validating universities. For example, in my experience I had to send information to the validating university during the last week of January. This was a yearly occurrence. Information may include: number of students generally and those on placements. Course sample and students' grades. Copies of teaching observing tools used for students on placement and students' work. This information helped the validating university to select staff, plan and prepare for visits. Missing this deadline is disruptive for all involved. However, planning and implementing your plan will cut miss deadlines.
- Filling in dates and times for visits of validating Universities. This includes noting what are the required local preparations. For example, in my case, I planned the itinerary of staff visiting from validating Universities. This involved collaboration with others and the course secretary. Preparation for visits also involved working with the finance office on budget. Booking hotel and arranging transportation. Selecting venues for meetings, setting times, dates and duration of various meeting.
- Delegating tasks to colleagues. Based on area of responsibility, workload, abilities, tasks duration and due date. For example, colleagues with course and module reviewing experience became internal reviewers. These experienced colleagues also became panel member for reviewing selected modules or courses. The course secretary handled official correspondents between institutions. She also selected, booked and arranged rooms and venues.
Having said all these, there will be many interruptions during the implementation of the plan. These interruptions are by and large, also demands of the work circumstance. So how do you I address these? Here are two examples again drawn from personal experience:
- There were meetings which required me to be away from the institution for a day or two. In these situations, I converted the section of the module I am teaching to an 'Online mode' using the College Virtual Learning Environment. Additionally, I ensured that I can be contacted by email and phone (as available). Carrying out actions like these show your ability to engage with new demands without compromising those that are ongoing and are relevant to maintaining past successes.
- There will be times when the validating university will be unable to comply with the date that your institution set for their staff to visit. In most cases of this occurring (I have found that they are willing to offer alternative dates and time). In these situations consult with others. Examine your local commitments, events, meetings and students' involvement and identify priorities. Based on this collaborative effort, arrive at a solution or decision.
So what have I said? (Summary)
You can meet the demands of managing college programmes and their validating partnerships. This can be accomplished through planning and implementing the plan. Also by addressing interruptions through creativity and collaboration.