The autumn term rolls on, finally slipping into some kind of rhythm as we near the end of Week 4. There’s some structure the weeks and we can anticipate what’s coming up with greater clarity and certainty as each day passes.There are those on campus who perhaps feel they lack such focus though: the final year undergraduate students are discussing and cogitating their early dissertation ideas. This is a time to think expansively about the sorts of topics and themes that interest them, but within a few days they need to turn those thoughts and ideas into something much more narrowly defined. At the end of the day, the dissertation is something they need to feel that they own, can control and will become one of the defining pieces of work that they take away from their university days. Monday will see me in a similar position as I try to vocalise my thoughts to the manage of the doctoral programmes at the university. I’m very far from a focused set of questions, as witnessed by the range of themes discussed in this blog. But there’s a process, and hopefully a path towards something I too can take ownership of.
So that was 6 September and now it’s the 14th, a week or so into the academic year. Students new and continuing are settling into the higher education groove and Craiglockhart Campus is humming with activity. Long may it last: students attending lectures, contributing to tutorials, asking searching questions of their tutors and producing some innovative and interesting coursework. That would be great.On the back burner, where it has been placed out of necessity as other priorities consume everyone’s time, are the PhD / DBA plans. I have another meeting in the offing, this time with the course leadership of both programmes in my faculty – they happen to be led by the same person. This could be most significant meeting to decide which route I’d prefer to a doctorate, so I’d best be prepared. To help me get ready I’ve been sent some information about how Edinburgh Napier sees these two different degrees, for example: DBA: Practice > Theory > Practice > Impact
PhD: Theory > Practice > Theory > Impact Which takes precedence in my mind, what am I most interested in? Would I rather place my topic in an explicitly business orientated set of reference points or opt to take a more theoretical, open and perhaps nuanced approach? Which is more relevant to the people I’d be working with (inside and outwith the university)? What about future career development opportunities? …lots to think on. My hunch at the moment is that I’d prefer the PhD route. It’s a classic doctorate, encouraging the creation of new knowledge without the demand of being able to apply is to business situations quite so explicitly. As I think back to the themes that have dominated my ‘ideas’ documents, the commentators I’m interested in and the discussions I’ve had, they seem to demand the less focused commercially approach. That’s just a hunch, mind, yet once it’s taken root you’ll often find a hunch comes back. More thinking to be done, talking to be said.
6 September has long been nestled at the back of my mind like a cosy cuckoo, waiting to waken up and consume all the time I may have had lying around. 6 September is the date this September’s students are due to start at Edinburgh Napier, except of course no longer are they due: they’re here.
Just time before bed to write up my thoughts on a recent seminar, held during the Edinburgh Fringe and hosted by Inner Ear (the folks behind Radio Magnetic). Titled ‘Digital Audience Development‘ it looked at ‘how to select and sequence online services as part of an integrated social media marketing strategy‘.
Three years into my job at Edinburgh Napier Uni and I’ve managed to work through almost fifty business cards. I’m meeting nearly 1.4 people a month it seems, although that average will come down once relatives are taken out.*
To follow the photos below, there should be a short clip embedded below…