Monday, 23 May 2011

UCISA 2011 Reflections

Its been a couple of months now since the annual UCISA management conference in Edinburgh. I made a note to reflect on this year's event and the two others that I had an involvement in with the organising committee. My involvement has now ended and the event is in the capable hands of a group with fresh new ideas.

The Good Stuff

  • Regular meetings and informal discussions with a small group of people involved in the organising team - there was always interesting stuff going on at other Universities worth talking about and sharing

  • Putting together a theme and a programme - we got better at that and the last one seemed pretty effective

  • Looking after the guest speakers. It's been fun and also quite stressful at times hosting some of our "celebrity" speakers such as Ruby Wax, Eliza Manningham-Buller, John Humphreys, John Sargeant and James Cracknell. I am still in occasional touch with Larry Hincker from Virginia Tech and hope one day to take up his invitation to visit - I think that was the most memorable presentation of all.

  • Raising and exceeding the target for charity fundraising (£10k over three years) with special thanks to Trudy and Richard. Wow!

  • The invitation to Oxford for the UCISA "away day" which was always a treat.

  • Having a chance to meet up with lots of delegates and exhibitors once a year and hopefully (usually) getting some good and constructive feedback.

  • Getting a nice room in the conference hotel!

The Not So Good stuff

  • Opening the event and having to make a brief and uninspiring speech including all the housekeeping.

  • Last minute speaker changes - usually unplanned

  • Managing speakers who aren't prepared and cannot find time to be briefed

  • The last weeks before the event - lots of preparation

  • Trying to fit everything in as well as the "day job"

The added extras

  • Visits to University locations around the country - a chance to visit learning spaces, student unions and libraries along the way and usually meet up with the people runing some of the services.

  • The good fun with the organising team and the UCISA Exec.

  • Hopefully making a bit of a difference and in particular helping us to share our knowledge and experience.

  • Working with Sue and colleagues in the UCISA admin - they have been great.

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