Call to Action: Universities must focus on innovation that embeds kindness, and humanized approaches. How BU is leading the way.

Susanne Clarke and Laura Roper were delighted to be offered the opportunity to present at the AUA2018 conference. We headed off, booked into our hotel, which incidentally we found we were sharing with the Italian Football team – we have pictures if you are interested.

The focus of the conference was Higher Education beyond Brexit, where we felt we needed to consider the human side of the uncertainty as move towards Brexit. We also wanted to use our experience of championing kindness at BU, and share our insights with others.

As requested we designed our workshop to be interactive, fast paced, creative and fun. We wanted our participants (new friends) to develop and take away their own Service Excellence/Kindness action plan.      This graphic posted on twitter by Hannah is a great summary of our workshop:-

We started the session with an introduction to Ubuntu, the philosophy of human kindness, and the importance of recognizing the qualities of the individual and the benefits they bring to the community as a whole “I am because you are”.

“Ubuntu – for us it means the world is too small, our wisdom too limited, our time here too short, to waste any more of it in winning fleeting victories at other people’s expense. We now have to find a way to triumph together” Bill Clinton, 2006.

If you would like to find out more take a look at the facilitators guide to Ubuntu, here courtesy of Helen Sayers (2013). This icebreaker energized everyone in the room and settled them into the workshop. To get an idea head to twitter @laulauroper #AUA2018 @SclarkeSusanne

Next, we introduced design thinking concepts focused on Empathy Mapping, a collaborative team tool, to gain a deeper insight into user persona.   In this case a student facing the implications of a post-Brexit world.

Our participants kindly agreed to take part in our research to adapt Tyrrell and Griffin (2013) ‘Human Givens’ into a Higher Education Landscape using Morgan (2011), cycle of student engagement. The Human Givens provide a focus on the emotional needs that if fulfilled support the health and wellbeing of us all.   Using this to develop a humanized approach to service excellence in higher education and our commitment to kindness embed with BU 2025.

Following very positive feedback we look forward to continuing to collect data back at BU. Please do get involved by contacting either Susanne or Laura.

In the meantime, we enjoyed a visit to a rather lovely gin bar and the gala dinner, we would like to say we danced the night away, but instead we headed back for a relatively early night to plan the next phase of our research.

Please do get in touch if you would like to find out more.

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