Jason Knight, Dean of Academic Development at the British & Irish Modern Music Institute, outlines the key skills and learning he valued on the Leading Transformation in Learning and Teaching (LTLT) course which he credits with removing the ‘associate’ from his former ‘Associate Dean of Academic Development’ job title.
Q1. Why did you take part in LTLT and what was your role at the time?
The programme was recommended to me by my provost, I was an associate dean at the time and it got me outside of my institutionalised box and allowed me to collaborate with people doing the same sort of job that I was doing, only in different institutions and subject areas.
Q2. Before you took part in the programme, what were you looking to gain?
I was very keen to get my head out of the firefighting daily task list and start to do some more strategic thinking for my role. I wanted to try and see the bigger picture and approaches to project management, people management, and institutional change. At my university there was a need for leadership skills which could support the process of embedding technology into our curriculum and blending learning approaches. By the end of LTLT I had the ability to effectively manage change.
Q3. What were your impressions of the programme?
It was very well managed and had been very well road tested. I felt like I was part of something that had been developed into a well-considered, reflective programme. Both Doug and colleagues were competent in their subject areas and it felt like we were in safe hands, which created a space in which everyone was comfortable sharing with each other.
Q4. What was the most useful thing you learned and why?
Only last Tuesday I showed one of the videos from the course in an interview, so it’s in my head all the time. At the moment it’s the importance of the second follower, the idea that if you have a second person to join you and support your idea it helps you to manage the change you want to see. This helped me effect change in my own team, along with a strategic approach of creating a team of people to help with specific projects.
Q6. What do you think is the most important skill needed to lead a team through change?
Facilitation. By that I mean being able to walk alongside people as opposed to acting as diktats. Another important skill is effective communication, which for me means allowing people to feel like they are part of the change and have ownership and input rather than it being something that happens to them. In summary, it’s important to work with people rather than managing them so they feel like they are just responding to your requests. As a result of learning these skills on the LTLT course I managed to lose the associate from my title, meaning I’m now Dean of Academic Development.
Leading Transformation in Learning and Teaching (LTLT) enables participants to enhance the skills, approaches and insights needed to lead course and programme teams through processes of transformation and innovation.