I worked with Graeme to prepare a portfolio for promotion. He attended one of our portfolio workshops and although somewhat overwhelmed by what we were proposing, was enthusiastic and wanted to present himself in the best light.
When the portfolio was submitted I asked to speak with Graeme to find out what he had gained from the process of preparing his portfolio. Graeme is a gentle and thoughtful man, so when I asked him what he thought he had gained from the process, he gave me a smile and said, “A tidier office”. I am not surprised to hear this, as a teacher will need to look in every corner and cupboard of your office to find the information to support an application. Graeme must have tidied as he went through his office as it were certainly in an ordered state.
Graeme said he was frustrated by the timeline, and was disappointed when he found a couple of typos and mistakes when he reread the final submission. He found soliciting the feedback from staff and students easy. Everyone was cooperative and gave feedback. He realises that colleagues are more observing of his work and contribution to the department than he had thought. He believes he works in a supportive culture, where staff are individually confident and there is high trust. He says his Head of Department, trusts the staff to make good decisions, and doesn’t meddle or micro manage their work.
Reflecting on his work as teacher, Graeme believes he has changed from being a practitioner who teaches to a teacher with practice experience. He says that change in identity has come about slowly with both time and teaching practice. Graeme is grateful for the opportunities he has been given to participate in teams and committees, curriculum development and accreditation processes.
I asked Graeme what architects bring to the teaching and learning environment. He think that design skills and daily experience in planning, visualising outcomes, asking “what if” questions, and putting proposals to the test are valuable contributions of architecture to the higher education environment. He says architects have a strong culture of consultation and critique and that seeps into student and staff culture.
Graeme teaches architectural history, and has retained a passion for his subject over the years. He says he has adopted a practice of continuous revisions and improvement. He found satisfaction in documenting that process in his promotion portfolio.
I asked Graeme if he has any tips for new applicants, and he thought a while and said, “Have confidence in yourself and a good filing system”.