Departmental Academese

I had an enjoyable time at the Annual departmental away day, yesterday. For one thing, it was hosted in the grounds of a beautiful hotel on the outskirts of Oxford. For another, I got to talk at greater length with academics who, otherwise, I’ve only met in passing, and to meet other members of the Department, who work on a different campus.

The most useful part of the day, perhaps, was the insights I gained into the way that the undergraduate courses are structured from the afternoon meeting. This took a great deal of concentration on my part though, as I tested hypotheses about the meaning of various acronyms (OBIS, HLS, MCQs, PX students, PS students, SQC students, to name but a few) until the speaker made sense.

Departmental meeting

Departmental meeting

awayday 002

Reflecting on this afterwards, it struck me just how full of acronyms academia is. From the start as a UG student, taking modules U X, Y, and Z, to getting funding from the ESRC or AHRC for your next grant, acronyms rule roost. Having just gotten to grips with Keele University’s particular acronym usage, here I begin again. Has anyone else noted this on entering a new department…..?

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Postgraduate Research Symposium

People really are friendly here. I’ve spent today at a research student symposium for the faculty. I went mainly to be nosy and to find out what is going on in the Department, and the School more generally. It turn out that there is some really interesting research happening, into alcohol consumption, psychopathology, and handwriting, to name but a few. Not many students presented results, (and why would they?) but the ideas they have are top-notch, and their presentation-style second-to-none.

In fact, I’ve noted some of their ideas for presenting my own research in the future. One student had a QR code link to her website on her poster, and another had an interactive task mid-presentation that got everyone engaged.

Also got to talk to some of the said students, and to meet other staff in the School, over lunch, tea and biscuits. There doesn’t seem to be a departmental staff/research student tea and biscuit time of the week, as there was at Cardiff and Keele Universities, so this time was invaluable. And everyone is so lovely.

I think I’m gonna like it here :-)

I’ve survived my first week here now, (that was quick…) and haven’t drowned in the paperwork that it’s generated, either. Not that the paper work of starting a new job in a new place has ended yet, but drowning seems increasingly less likely.

My week can be summarized as a series of forms, meetings, panic about upcoming teaching, followed by realization that teaching doesn’t start for a month or more, and getting to know some lovely people in the Department.

I have my own Oxford Brookes web profile and office key, and staff card, and I’ll soon be getting my own computer, too.

It’s all good. Am a *wee* bit on the tired side of exhausted, but feeling positive, and looking forward to the rest of the year.