A colleague put me on to the Innovation Academy Diploma in Creativity and Innovation for Education. They thought it would be something that I would enjoy and they were correct. Doing the course was fantastic. It was energizing, and got me to reflect on what I was trying to do in a more systemic way.
I have worked in IT at UCD for the past 20 years, and I was moving into a new role at the university – one that was focused on wellbeing and student engagement. When I transitioned into my new role I wasn’t quite clear in my own head as to what was the best way to handle the role. I had green fields in front of me and it was on me to make something of it. My initial approach was to host resilience workshops across the university on a ad hoc basis. But this course gave me the confidence to teach. As a result of doing this course, I’ve been able to put a structure on my role, and market myself differently, and, now I’m a guest presenter in 30 modules or programs across the university.
It wasn’t that the course changed the way people taught. My sense is that people come on this course looking for validation. If felt like I had found my tribe – people who were like-minded and who know that there is something fundamentally not working in the Irish education system, and that they want to be a part of the solution. The course helps participants to manifest their own ideas and bring them to fruition. It was empowering. The facilitators cultivated an environment that was motivating and inspirational. We all came with different ideas. Most of them were good ideas, but just because you have a good idea doesn’t mean it’s going to be successful because you have to be able to bring people along – people who are often close-minded and don’t like change. We were taught in an experiential and engaging way with a lot of reflection and two-way conversations. It was community-driven. I got to think deeply about how to deliver my ideas in a meaningful way – one that would relate to staff, and help them see how my course would be of benefit to their students.
In doing this course I felt supported in what I was trying to do. I found myself within a dynamic culture of change.