There may be over 220 miles between St Andrews and Lancaster, but the CAPOD fieldtrip to Lancaster University at the end of January left me with the feeling that, in some senses, not much separates us at all. It was great to meet colleagues and share practice – and Lancaster definitely lived up to its motto: Patet omnibus veritas (Truth lies open to all) in terms of the sharing! It was also a good opportunity to meet colleagues in person, some of whom I had only known previously through Twitter.
Although both St Andrews and Lancaster are TEF Gold institutions, we are different in terms of type of campus, and number of students (Lancaster has 16,000 students). In addition to the purpose-built city campus, Lancaster also have four international partnerships (China, Malaysia, Ghana and Germany) teaching their degrees. This gives them extra challenges as they deliver the Lancaster experience abroad.
As far as TEL is concerned, there were some differences in the structure and size of our respective operations: Lancaster’s team is part of IT Services, and much larger than ours with around 10 staff. What was more striking though, were the similarities in the services offered and the issues faced. Wherever the TEL function is located in an institution, its opportunities and its problems are nearly always more cultural and people-centred than technical! Continue reading