On being passionate…

Students have got to feel that they’re driven by somebody who has a real passion for what they’re doing. Cos if you don’t, what the hell are you doing in there in the first place?”

This quote comes from a Bournemouth University student participating in our “How Brilliant are We?” research project, and is one of many quotes, gathered as part of  the project from both staff and students,  which  centre around the passion we have for our work, it appears to be a consistent theme, and our students can spot it when we have it…

The research team – Susanne Clarke, Lois Farquharson, Bethan Collins and Anita Diaz, were motivated by our curiosity to discover what we could learn from what already works here at BU. This led to us designing our project using an action research approach based on Appreciative Inquiry. Our project drew on existing SUBU “You’re Brilliant Award” information as base, and used techniques adapted from NHS Scotland’s  ‘ Emotional Touchpoints project.

Over the coming weeks we will share on the CEL Blog findings from our project and insights into “How Brilliant Are We?”

Now getting back to passion (I feel it’s right for this blog post to include love in this category too), here are a more quotes from our staff and students at BU:

When the lecturer is passionate, all those other issues go away.” Student.

“You can identify that a lecturer is doing what they love, because they love the subject, they want to teach others, that comes across and they’re the ones that get the highest attendance and they’re the ones you think about as having a positive experience with.” Student.

And I just love what I do. I get into it and I’m like a sponge.   So, I’m always looking at what’s going on – students send me stuff. They say: “Oh, have you seen this? I know you are interested”. They feed off that. It helps to engage them.” Staff

“If you’re passionate about what you do, or if you’re passionate about your subject, everything else falls into place.” Student

They [the university] were very passionate about what you did (on your placement) and they took a proper interest and when you went back to talk to them they knew about what you had done and wanted to ask you about it.” Student

“If you’re enthusiastic you’ll come across passionate. If you’re passionate you’ll come across enthusiastic.” Staff

I am passionate about whatever I teach and I wouldn’t want to teach things that I’m not passionate about and passion goes beyond me, beyond the teaching” Staff

Passion is what drives you through the whole process.” Staff

Drawing passion to a swift close, and  these really powerful quotes which give us a lot to reflect on!  We will share more quotes next week and for us in the research team we will be busy thinking of “what next” and how we can take this project forward (having already won the best poster prize at the ECRM in Malta 2015). Learning from positive experiences of our staff and students was a highlight for all us involved in this project and we would love to hear any comments or ideas you have.

To finish just a quick summary of our research method and do check our posters in the CEL Room (PG30a) or the Appreciative Inquiry pages of the CEL site. Link: Appreciative Inquiry

We conducted our research interviews using ‘Emotional Touchpoints’ based on an approach used by NHS Scotland. Touchpoints represent the key events or interactions, which form (in this instance) the basis of university life, and the emotional connections associated with these interactions. The events and interactions included: –

  • Seminars
  • Lectures
  • Advice and Guidance
  • Careers
  • Placement
  • Group Work
  • Accommodation
  • Support

During the research interview participants were asked to select from a list of emotions (feelings) they most associated with the ‘Touchpoints’ they selected. The image below shows the pack we created, and hard copies are available in the CEL room.


We will give more details of the method in future posts or please do contact any members of the research team for more details and we can discuss ideas around adapting our approach to support your work to improve the student and staff experience.

We are very grateful for the support given by SUBU, particularly Gillian Lewis and to Samantha Everett a journalism student here at BU for their help with this project.

Yours with passion, Susanne

Posted by Susanne Clarke, Head of Service Excellence

How Brilliant Are We

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