On Friday 19th August, in anticipation of the new semester, FAH held its first Faculty Development Retreat, devoted to two key areas of the Faculty’s mission – teaching and research.
In the area of teaching FAH addressed the important issue of “Learning Outcomes” within the overall context of the University’s forthcoming adoption of Outcome Based Teaching and Learning (OBTL). The implementation of Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) was explored in a workshop led by Professors Montgomery and Kunnan in which participants worked in groups of 8-10 discussing and drafting outcomes for a selection of syllabi offered by members of the group. The workshop activity was followed by a plenary feedback session in which any challenges faced by specific subject areas were examined and resolved through general discussion. This was the culmination of a process begun in March by a Faculty Task Group, co-convened by Professors Montgomery and Kunnan, developing an OBTL approach across the Faculty. In the final plenary session it was proposed that the continuing implementation of ILOs should now become ‘department-focused,’ with each department taking final responsibility for their statement and implementation, perhaps with initial support FAH’s ILO ‘task group.’ It was further suggested that for larger departments this responsibility could be mediated either through their departmental ‘Teaching and Learning Quality Group/Committee’ or, more generally, through Programme Management Committees, either of which should report to their Departmental Committee, to FAHUSC and FAHGSC, and ultimately to AC. The Faculty undertook to ensure that these structures are well-described, operational and fully functional across the Faculty.
The second major focus of the Faculty Development Retreat took the form of research forum, convened by Professor Montgomery, in which the Faculty enjoyed three presentations that represented the breadth and quality of its research mission. Prof. Inocencia Mata, Associate Professor and Deputy Head, Department of Portuguese, spoke on the topic of “Contact Zones” of the Portuguese-speaking World: The Presence of the Other in Literary Production in Portuguese. Prof. Hans-Georg Moeller, Full Professor and Subject Convenor, Philosophy and Religious Studies Programme, spoke on the topic of Genuine Pretending: A Daoist Mode of Existence. And, finally, Prof. Xu Daming, Full Professor, Department of Chinese Language and Literature, spoke about Language Management in Higher Education: Students’ Perspectives. After each presentation there was an opportunity for comments and questions from the audience. The main purpose of this research forum was to publicize and disseminate within the Faculty some of the latest research being conducted by its members. Although high quality internationally recognized research is a constant feature of the Faculty’s work, it is not always known of by other Faculty members and so some golden opportunities for research collaboration may pass unnoticed. It was hoped that this event strengthened possibilities for collaboration across the Faculty and further enhanced the Faculty’s research culture.
About 120 members of the Faculty took part in the Faculty Development Retreat. Dean Jin commended them for doing so and thanked the participants commenting that this first event of the academic year demonstrated three themes of the Faculty’s approach to be highlighted in the coming 12 months: participation, team building and communication.