One of our Strategic Plan commitments is to support staff in their personal and professional development.
Sharon Neal, Head of the new People and Organisational Development unit, discusses our continuing work to enable individuals to reach their full potential and maximise their contribution to the University.
We’ve seen that the University launched two new units related to teaching, learning and development at the end of September. What has initiated this change?
There are two reasons. The first is to share and develop the University’s existing expertise on teaching and learning by creating a new centre – The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) – and to bring together the teams who work in this area.
The second reason is to bring the existing Professional Development Group into Human Resources (HR) as People and Organisational Development (POD). This will increase the opportunities to work with HR colleagues and Equality and Diversity in supporting the development of our staff.
Have the two new units replaced something else?
Yes. POD has been formed from the Professional Development team at the Oxford Learning Institute (OLI), while the CTL combines Academic IT’s Technology Enhanced Learning Team and the OLI’s Education Development group. This means the OLI and Academic IT names will no longer be used – but their work will continue through the new units.
As the Head of POD, can you tell us what this unit will deliver?
The staff in POD will continue to work with leaders and managers across the University on enhancing group effectiveness and strategic learning together with development planning. We’ll also continue to provide and point to a range of face-to-face and self-directed learning on leading and managing and personal effectiveness topics.
What will POD do that is new?
We’re working in partnership with the Focus programme to support learning on continuous improvement tools and techniques. And we are also working in partnership with HR on apprenticeships so that we can use Oxford’s apprenticeship levy to offer management qualifications to our staff. Look out next year for news about a toolkit for new managers at Oxford too.
Are these opportunities open to all University staff?
Sometimes we do target an offer at a specific staff group (eg postdocs). However, most of our offer is open to all staff. We are always keen to work in partnership with others to develop ourselves and our practice.
So how can people get involved?
Think about joining our careers support network. This involves experienced recruiters in professional services roles volunteering to help colleagues improve their CV or their interview techniques. Or consider becoming a coach and joining our coaching network. We also have a managers’ network to help people in these leadership roles.
Is there anything else on offer to help with staff development?
Yes, this is a really exciting time for people development at Oxford.
For researchers we have the new, nationally agreed Concordat. The Focus programme also offers great opportunities for staff to extend and develop their practice in new areas. And the Work Learn Develop programme offers existing staff the opportunity to achieve qualifications using the apprenticeship levy.
We’re working with partners to maximise all of these initiative for our staff at Oxford.