Unit Convenors play a leadership role that is vital to the quality of our curriculum, but one that historically hasn’t received much of the spotlight. And is the shape of the role about to change with the forthcoming Learning and Teaching Strategy? These issues and more are to be discussed during April at a gathering of Macquarie unit convenors.
Cathy Rytmeister, Academic Developer, says that generally universities haven’t paid much attention to the role of Unit Convenor, or recognised that it is actually an important leadership role. And today the role is coming under increasing pressure from multiple sources. “The administrative side has grown, with responsibility for managing technology, various sign-offs and policy compliance. That administrative load can detract from the pedagogy and the dedication you have for organising your unit in the best possible way for student learning. There can be a tension between compliance and the connections you’re trying to build with your discipline area for your students.”
“There is also a bit of tension with more emphasis on the program-level approaches to curriculum. In some areas there has been a strong tradition of individual ownership of the unit by the convenor – and it is often from that sense of ownership and commitment that the quality derives. But there’s also a need for real coherence, openness and collaboration across units in a program to ensure that they work together and not as separate isolated entities. That’s a challenge to some of our established ways of working, and it’s a good idea that we talk about that.”
“By 30th April we will also have seen the Learning and Teaching Green Paper and we will be able to speak really freely about what our views are as unit convenors and the possible implications for the unit convenor role.”
All unit convenors, prospective unit convenors and other interested staff are warmly encouraged to attend and share their views. Click here to register.