In August, Glasgow School for Business and Society at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) submitted their first Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) Report. The report was recognised for Excellence in Reporting among new signatories at the 2013 PRME Summit – 5th Annual Assembly earlier this year in Bled, Slovenia. I recently had the chance to speak with Dr. Stephen Sinclair and Dr. Alec Wersun, Co-Chairs of the PRME leadership Team at Glasgow School for Business and Society, about their experiences putting together the report (click here to read Part 1).
5. Were there things that you were pleasantly surprised about as you went through the process?
What became most apparent in the course of gathering information for the SIP report was the sheer range of expertise and the quality of the work undertaken within GCU. However, one corporate activity that stands out in particular is the Caledonian Club, which is designed to open up access to higher education to traditionally under-represented groups and deprived communities in both Glasgow and London, where GCU also has a campus. The Caledonian Club involves a programme of activities aimed to make University study an opportunity for everyone and not a privilege for the few. Staff and students who volunteer to deliver some of the Club’s activities help to ‘demystify’ University life for those who are unfamiliar with higher education and build up their confidence and aspirations. Increasing social mobility and contributing to social justice depend upon activities such as this.
6. What advice would you have for other schools putting together their first report?
PRME is a process rather than a one-off event or accomplishment. We certainly don’t feel that we have reached the end of our journey nor got everything right, and we are open to ideas and learning from others. PRME is not a competition (even though we were proud to win an award!) but an opportunity for sharing experiences and improving together – the very name of Sharing Information on Progress expresses this sentiment. Sharing knowledge and experience strengthens and enhances rather than diminishes it, so we would advise others who are preparing their own SIP reports to take what they can from other members of the PRME community, adapt it where necessary – and perhaps even improve it in the process – and let others know about they have learned from their experience.
7. What are your plans for your next report?
We hope that our 2014 report will reflect a deepening and widening application of PRME within GCU. Many of the activities and processes we have initiated to embed PRME in our culture and practices are new, and we hope that each report will reflect not only their growing impact but also our increasing understanding of how to improve them. We see this commitment as an ongoing journey. It is our aim to embed the Principles of PRME in everything we do, teach, and research. We would welcome any feedback that colleagues from the international PRME community may wish to give and, of course, we would be happy to provide any additional information to anyone who may wish to know more about our approach and experiences.
Why the GCU’s SIP report was recognised for Excellence in Reporting:
- The structure and organisation of the report is clear and coherent. Initiatives for each Principle addressed are easily identifiable and key achievements are highlighted.
- Actions undertaken are shown in concise, honest (i.e. failures/challenges are recognised, in addition to successes), realistic, useful, and inspiring ways.
- Reporting has been used for both internal improvement/development and external communication. The report itself provides doable ideas for faculty mobilisation, project implementation/facilitation, prioritisation or evaluation of progress.
- The evolution of the activities (the story of the institution, efforts undertaken, challenges, etc.) and future goals or plans are provided.
- The report is clear, inviting, and readable.
– What were your experiences putting together your SIP report? Share them in the comments below. –