Harriet Dunbar-Morris – founder of the Spinnaker Group – explains the aims of the group, the structure of its meetings and its overall value, in this introductory blog.
The Spinnaker Group brings together colleagues who lead on 'Student Experience' and 'Teaching and Learning' in institutions across the Higher Education sector. Around twice or three times a year, members congregate for an evening and the following day at a volunteer member’s institution.
The aim of these meetings is primarily to network, but also to discuss ideas, outlook, and, most importantly, best practice. At each meeting we focus on a theme, sharing our institutional research and understanding on an important issue in the sector. The format allows connections to be created that might not otherwise happen due to the hierarchical and often mission-group nature of collaborations in the sector. We have recently considered BME Success and Assessment & Feedback. Our forthcoming meetings will focus on Student Support and Academic/Personal Tutoring (in February 2019) and Mental Health (later in 2019).
Founder of the group Dr Harriet Dunbar-Morris says:
For me the value of the group is that it allows people to come together to unpick a topic of shared interest in a non-competitive way, we can learn from each other’s experiences whatever our type of institution and create different connections across the sector."
The group currently comprises 47 member institutions and also has links with sector organisations, such as Advance HE and the QAA. If you are interested in joining, please contact Harriet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Parker, Head of Membership & Networks at Advance HE, recently attended the group meeting in Edinburgh and added: "The Spinnaker Group is a fantastic example of the many thriving communities and networks that exist across the sector that work to enhance the practice and experience of practitioners in HE. I was very pleased to be involved in the session on assessment and feedback, providing the opportunity for the group and Advance HE to work together on common goals. I look forward to working with the group further on future collaborations."