Christmas Lecture

Christmas Lecture

Although I didn’t manage to get to the Christmas lecture by the outgoing UHI Principal, James Fraser, I read through the text of his talk. As a whole, I liked the general thrust of his talk (the future of universities in the 21st century) and I agreed with his call to embrace institutional change. I found lots to challenge in the detail, however, such as his upbeat comments on MOOCS while lumping as “blended learning” all of the other different pedagogic styles that the UHI employs. It would have been good to have followed this up with a debate, or at least a question and answer session – hopefully those of us who are not retiring this year will be able to roll up our sleeves and address the contested details during the remainder of the academic year. We don’t have enough ‘discussion papers’ like this, and those that we do see seem to fizzle out before they see the light of implementation. I’m not a great believer in ‘New Year Resolutions’ but perhaps this year is the time to seek come clarity, some consistency, and action some of those good ideas which float up occasionally – before they are lost again.

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One thought on “Christmas Lecture”

  1. Institutional change…ah yes – the elephant in the room. I do like your comment about the need to do something about the good ideas that emerge. However I increasingly find myself drawing on the work of Victor Vroom and his analysis of work motivation when thinking about UHI. He proposes that we ask ourselves quite specific questions when considering the amount of effort we will put into a task: If I put in maximum effort will it be noticed? If it is noticed, will it be rewarded? And if rewarded, will it be something of value to me? If the answer to any of these questions is no then motivation is negatively effected. Change the words ‘maximum effort’ to ‘new ideas’ and it might go some way to explaining the problem of some interesting possibilities just disappearing into the ether??

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