Don's diary: ILT Madness

August 16, 2002

Pressure building: applications pour in to beat the deadline for the Institute for Learning and Teaching initial entry route for experienced staff. Quick discussions about whether we will accept applications after the deadline. Answer: no. After all we have consulted for nine months on this.

Phone rings constantly - swaths of applicants have suddenly realised their referees are on holiday or at conferences.

Spend two hours completing policy papers for the accreditation committee next week. Afternoon meeting with representatives of a university seeking first-time accreditation for part-time staff pathway takes longer than expected.

Post mounting: four sacks plus several recorded-delivery packages. Sign contracts for our latest cohort of accreditors.

Suddenly discover that the entire geography department at a nearby university has submitted applications and would like them dealt with together. Panic because the letter has been detached from the package - how will we find these applications among all the boxes waiting for attention? And do we have enough geography-based accreditors to do the work? Am reassured to be told that we have found 19 of the 24 applications and both of our geography accreditors are attending a review panel next Friday.

Receive consultation document from Allied Health Professions Council. Relieved that there is a reasonable time to respond.

Waters rising: it is the final day for applications and York is flooded. Query from local newspaper about the progress of the ILT. Suggest they talk to the local post office, which delivered seven sacks and 300 special deliveries this morning alone.

By lunchtime hand deliveries of applications from as far afield as Southampton and London start to arrive. Andrea, our PR manager, spots a photo-opportunity and I spend much of the afternoon running up and downstairs to shake hands with people delivering their applications. Should make up for missed sessions in the gym.

Try to leave the office, but phone rings again. Somebody with a package of applications from Manchester has got caught up in traffic jams caused by the Commonwealth Games. Agree that any time before midnight is OK. Arrive home to find messages from two Open University students, both wanting extensions for assignment deadlines.

Post arrives with the first of the applications under the new route. One very confused person rings to tell us that they have submitted an application on both the new and the old form.

Today we have a referral panel of accreditors reviewing applications for which additional information may be required. Spend some time after lunch discussing the next phase of development for the continuing professional development framework. We have about 14 universities and several Learning and Teaching Support Network subject centres keen to explore ways of implementing the framework.

Finally track down the last of the geographers and despatch the complete batch. Reluctantly turn down an invitation to go out for dinner with the accreditors in favour of an evening marking OU assignments.

Thirteen accreditors working flat out to review applications. It should have been 14 but one has got stuck in a train held up by floods. Andrea, also underwater, sends out press releases and photos of me shaking hands with applicants. Decide to move the post sacks when a full sack of applications almost gets confused with the recycling bin.

Scheduled office building works fail to materialise. It is a good excuse to go home and collapse with a glass of wine and a book.

Staff picnic in the field behind the office. Rather wet but good fun.

Caroline Bucklow is director of accreditation at the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

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