‘Brave’ leadership : enabling educational innovation in the context of historical constraints
Gasquoine, Susan; Horne, Wendy
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Citation:Gasquoine, S., & Horne, W. (2015, September). ‘Brave’ leadership: Enabling educational innovation in the context of historical constraints. Paper presented at Networking for Education in Healthcare (NET), Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/3922
In 2013 the leadership team of the Faculty of Social and Health Sciences at Unitec Institute of Technology took the decision to implement a ‘common semester’ for students beginning bachelor degree programmes in 2014. The rationale was based on New Zealand research (Boyd and Horne, 2008; Weller et al., 2011; Ingamells et al., 2013) that builds on international research (Pollard et al., 2006) supporting the education of health and social service professionals in interprofessional environments to better prepare them for the context of practice. Students of social work, nursing, medical imaging, early childhood education, sport, youth development, health promotion, natural sciences and osteopathy enrolled in the common semester for the first time beginning 2014. The four courses in the common semester provided early preparation for a career working with people and included courses in anatomy and physiology, human growth and development, people in populations and the development of human cognition. The courses were designed and delivered using a contemporary blended and flipped learning approach that supported the development of digital capability, self-managed and self-directed learning, problem solving, and scenario based interdisciplinary group work. That is, the teaching and learning model proposed to emulate the skills and capabilities required of graduates in the workplace. Analysis of the extensive feedback received on the experience of the first delivery of the common semester resulted in changes which included: • providing new students with information about how the courses will be delivered as soon as possible after programme admission • early and intensive workshops with students to enable them to engage effectively with the technology • increasing students opportunities for face-to-face engagement with academic staff, both mandatory and optional • focus for staff development on engaging with students online and programme redevelopment • increasing the relevance of course content and activities by ensuring discipline specific scenarios • closer liaison between ‘destination programmes’ and the common semester teaching team. This presentation offers the lessons learned in the implementation of a major change to the traditional way academic health professional programmes are delivered and ponders the future of these changes as the global healthcare workforce attempts to meet challenges as diverse as the aging population in the developed world and the burden of epidemics such as Ebola in the developing world. Innovative leadership making brave and at times contentious decisions is required in the education of health and care professionals to enable the visioning of a health and social care workforce that is ‘unshackled’ from the constraints of the historical expectations of academics, regulatory authorities, employers, professional bodies and the funders of programmes.