"I always judge the strength of a meeting by the quality of food provided. The coffee and croissants came at a time when I needed them most (a growling stomach is so unforgiving), and therefore, the meeting was good."
The school of arts and creatives industry advisory board includes a panel of academics and leading industry practitioners, passionate about preparing artistic minds in a way that suits our ever-evolving, digitised society. London South Bank University has always been open to exploring and implementing new ideas into their pedagogues, and as their alumni, it's an honour to be a part of such an exciting and dynamic process! Together, we brainstormed ways to make the ACI campus' up-and-coming courses of a quality and a relevance that will ensure students have the much-needed hard, soft and transferable life-skills that will equip them for employment or postgraduate learning.
I added my two cents by suggesting we provide more summer and extra curricular programmes for college and sixth form students, so they are better prepared for university life, and once they make it to BA stage, they know what is expected of them as learners as well as what is expected of us as their lecturers and support networks, thus allowing all involved to use the first year to plough straight into degree level, as opposed to feeling lost as they find their feet...barely.
These programmes would be particularly useful for special needs, english as an additional language, foster care/vulnerable and free school meal learners who may not have the funds, home support, wellbeing or confidence to transition from school to university as smoothly as their peers from more privileged backgrounds.
I also suggested (because at this point I'd drank two cups of coffee and was on a roll) we do more to prepare entrepreneurial graduates for freelancing and portfolio careers. How we'll do this, and when this will be done by (if at all) is something we'll work out during the next meeting. I'll add more to the story as events unfold, but for now, I'd like to thank LSBU for taking an interest in Scribble Ink and deeming it a worthy enough cause to allow me a seat at the table.
The way universities treat their learners, from the moment they enrol, to the moment they stop being alumni has such an impact on how they manage their career paths, and ultimately, their lives. The pastoral elements are just as valuable as the academic. A university that does not reflect or embrace the fabric of the culture, class and zeitgeist of it's community, is a university that fails students before giving them a chance. As a society, we need to have more open and frank conversations about the pros and cons of higher education...and then we must go beyond talking, by finding and implementing vibrant and sustainable solutions. I'm pleased to say LSBU's ACI are keen to push this agenda forward, and it's an honour be part of the process.