by Dr. Hilary Cunliffe-Charlesworth
When you arrive at a new work place there are two things that impress: the look of the inside of the building and the quality of the coffee!
So what has this got to do with the Learning and Teaching and Assessment conference?
Just as if a company wants to recruit and retain good staff, we as the university want to recruit and retain good students – and to do this we have to have an ‘offer’. The buildings might be ‘superficial gloss’ but just as with the coffee – they provide an environment that gives out messages: we are modern, we are clean and take pride in our spaces, and we want you, our students to value and respect the spaces, and we as staff are professional in how we work with you the student and how we value you.
When I worked with Design Yorkshire the key priority was the quality of the coffee – was it drinkable? Was it in a chipped mug or a paper cup with a badly designed logo? How was it served? What was the attitude of the staff? Did they listen or just dispense or were they too busy chatting with each other to hear your questions?
And what about the furniture? Was there a variety of heights of tables and chairs so you could talk or work? Is the free wifi good?
So, when as a staff member you are drinking your LTA conference coffee, consider the coffee you bought in the local independent cafe: what would make the experience of your teaching environment better for you and your students?