BedsBiz SPRING EDITION | May 2014
IN PARTNERSHIP TALKING BUSINESS
Practice Week Challenge
IN THE NEWS
NEW BOOK RELEAS ES
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP - Tourism Leadership in the 21st century
Bidding Farewell It is with some sadness that I write the editorial for my last copy of BedsBiz! Two and a half years have just flown. The journey was special - filled with ups and downs - certainly never a dull moment!! I depart, handing the vision to a robust Executive Team and a very loyal, determined and strong staff base beneath. I have very much enjoyed working with each and every one of you and I am grateful for your personal and professional support, both to me and the vision we created for our School. I would also like to thank all our partners - employers, community organisations, TNE colleges - for joining our journey of flipping the business educational model. There have been many collaborative successes to be proud of! I’d also like to thank the students I have engaged with over the years - from undergraduate to postgraduate - for their constructive feedback on our initiatives
such as practice weeks. This is the last Business School I will have worked at - so I will still be rooting for you to get the Business School of the year in 2017! This issue, however, is not about my departure but instead about celebrating a range of activities; projects that have been taking
shape over the last semester. We have been busy, embedding our vision in our core. Thank you for generating so many stories of success - the editorial job is very hard on account of it! Dr Sonal Minocha, Executive Dean
Joiners – Movers – Shakers School of Law
Rhidian Lewis, Principal Lecturer and PG Portfolio Leader Craig Bennison, Visiting Lecturer (and part-time PhD student at UBBS)
Carolyn Naughton, Senior Lecturer
Department of Marketing, Tourism and Hospitality n Joiners
Karim Khelifi, Lecturer in Marketing Maria Massaro, Lecturer in Marketing Sofia Reino, Lecturer in Tourism Brinder Saigal, Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Strategy
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Zubin Sethna, Principal Lecturer in Marketing Jillian Farquhar, Professor of Marketing
Vladimir Zegarac, joined from Dept of Languages and Communication as Reader in Tourism and Hospitality Tricia Smart, joined from Department of Languages and Communication as Senior Lecturer in Cultural Communications Leszek Wypych, joined from Department of Languages and Communication as Lecturer in Business Communication
Department of Accounting and Finance n Leavers
Rob Carman, Principal Lecturer in Accounting and Finance Senn Avoseh, Lecturer in Accounting and Finance
Department of Management and Business Systems n Leavers
Kathlyn Wilson, Senior Lecturer Vincent Ong, Senior Lecturer
And also... n Leavers
Ingrida Bertasiute, Faculty Marketing Assistant
12 Alumni Stories
Joiners - Movers - Shakers Cover Story
14 In Partnership
- Bidding Farewell
- Practice Week Challenge with Bedford Borough Council
6 Thought Leadership
- Tourism Leadership in the 21st century
- Amanda Hillman on Executive MBA - Law student leads by example at annual volunteering fairs - Introducing: UBBS Faculty Representatives
10 From the Classroom
- Practice Week Update - Working with students to improve their experience - StEPs funding updates
- Alumni engagement as a nexus between alumni and their alma mater - Award surprise for Alexandra
- Working with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre - Omani poet, German poetry - New partnership agreement with FTU caps successful visit to Vietnam
16 Talking Business
- Lecture series from the Department of Management and Business Systems
The Research Pod
- Exploring the value of Big Data in Higher Education - Addressing the Ethnic Inequalities in Social Mobility
In the News
- Law students assist refugees denied legal aid with family reunification - New Book Releases
This magazine depends on the excellent stories of success our staff and students generate. Please email your stories and photographs for inclusion in the next issue to:
SPRING EDITION | May 2014
Practice Week Challenge with Bedford Borough Council University of Bedfordshire Business School’s Practice Week challenge, which took place at the Polhill Campus from December 2nd -6th 2013, saw Business Management second year students from the Bedford Campus pitch proposals for policy strands from Bedford Borough’s strategy for Bedford. The task was set by executives from the Council, including the Mayor Dave Hodgson and the Chief Executive Philip Simpkins. Practice Weeks are a learning innovation at the Business school, which flips the usual
classroom model to bring real-life professional business practice into the curriculum. By working with organisations on live issues, students learn the behaviours, skills and subtle understanding they need to succeed in the world of work and gain a winning advantage in the race for employment. The Practice Week Challenge was an excellent example of this exciting model, with students applying the theory learned in the classroom directly into a real business challenge delivered by practitioners. Mark Minion from Bedford Borough Council briefed students at the
start of the week. Working in teams, students produced presentations that included a rationale for the proposed developments, a financial breakdown and an implementation plan. After preliminary presentations on Friday morning, 50 students attended the final session in the University’s Campus Theatre where four successful groups presented to the Mayor of Bedford Borough Council, Dave Hodgson and his team. All presentations were limited to 12 minutes, followed by probing questions from the Mayor and his team. Team Aspire presented on
Empowering Young People in Bedford winning team won individual prizes, by introducing a University run and the final four teams were scheme to skill individuals in the area. awarded certificates and invited to Second up was team Prosperity who a buffet with the Council after the worked on a proposal to encourage presentations were concluded. Investment in Bedford. The group This event perfectly expressed gave a spirited presentation with the aspirations of the Business strong competitor analysis of other school to embed practice into the boroughs’ strategies. Team curriculum and to enhance the Equality looked at part employment prospects of of the Council’s our students. Working g n i Work rojects strategy that on real projects al p ienced e r focused on ‘Giving with experienced n o experrs gives Back’, which practitioners gives h t i w one fidence i t i included good students confidence t c pra nts con ct to make a real impact a p research into m e i stud e a real oth the community in shaping both their k to ma shaping b ities and third sector communities and in mun n m o activity in the their own futures. c their their ow area. Finally, team Philip Simpkins, and tures. Prestige proposed Chief Executive of fu that the Council develop Bedford Borough Council a skate park in a currently commented: “There’s a lot of disused building in Bedford as part merit in all four projects. I’m sure of the ‘Physical Activity Strategy’. that we can work with them to come The Mayor and his team chose out with a deliverable product.” Prosperity. Mayor Dave Hodgson The event was organised by addressed the students afterwards Abdulmaten Taroun, Elizabeth and invited them to the Mayor’s Parkin, Alexander Kofinas, Mark Parlour for supper in the New Year Holbourn, Russell Kinman, David to discuss their ideas further. The Owen, Diane Richardson, and
William Naylor. Abdulmaten, who was leading on the project, commented: “The practice week represented a unique experience for the students who had a chance to explore the council’s current and future projects. We hope the collaboration between the Business School and Bedford Borough Council will grow in the future.”
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Tourism Leadership in the 21st century Tourism has taken something of a turn over the past decade. Several phenomena have come together to drive change in attitudes, customers, and the industry. It has become so embedded in postindustrial society that in a sense, its characteristics and attributes (consumption, the search for novelty) are changing and shaping society itself: far removed from the economists’ view that it is a manifestation of surplus income. All this makes researching and teaching tourism a complicated business. In the first Mind Map developed by students (Fig 1), classroom-based discussions on tourism, politics, and globalisation focused on tourists. This is quite fitting as the money consumers spend defines the whole system. But look at what the students observe. At first glance, some clichés do emerge (Double Income No Kids (DINKS) and hipsters for example will be familiar to market makers). However, a closer look reveals some very interesting insights. These potential leaders, in the guise of students, are joining the dots between the rich and people from developing countries; the global haves and have-nots. In an increasingly paradoxical world (cultural convergence underpinned by increased nationalism; massive growth in GDP overshadowed by the growing gap between rich and poor), leadership must be critically aware of such trends and capable of applying analytical thinking to critical problems. A normative approach might be taken through enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). But these
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young ‘moderns’ seem to have core values for example, which should not be just ‘bolted on.’ The second Mind Map (Fig. 2) session produced some very solid links to the leadership role tourism is playing in socio-economic development in a complex world. But look at the bottom left corner. Again, we have observations on exploitation but balanced by ‘curiosity’ and ‘awareness of the outside world.’ Insights shown here come about through a deliberate contextualizing of what might be considered vocational studies (i.e. tourism management) within the wider socio-environmental context of globalisation. Examples of how tourism contributes to and is affected by global ebbs and flows of mobile ‘moderns’ and their attendant service industries are bought into sharp contrast with that other set of drifters: the so-called Fig 1.
illegal migrants who, like tourists, desperately and paradoxically seek a more enriched life. Tackling these complex issues head on in the classroom can develop awareness of global citizenship. More importantly for present purposes, it develops leadership that extends beyond the double bottom line or even the triple bottom line to include the environment. It can also extend into the quadruple bottom line, placing ethics on the management agenda as a core leadership value. So what can tourism offer for global leadership and how does the University of Bedfordshire fit in? We could, perhaps, take a cue from Matthew Taylor, Director of the Royal Society for Arts and “treat the whole of the human race as our neighbours.” This is something that the University of Bedfordshire is eminently placed to achieve.
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Burns joined the University of Bedfordshire Business School in September 2013 as a Professor of Tourism. He is an applied social scientist with a particular interest in how tourism affects culture and society. His academic research on tourism and climate change and practical consulting experience in the field of tourism planning and development have been recognised internationally. Professor Burns works closely with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and is part of the international panel of experts which analyses global trends in tourism. He wrote the climate change policy for the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), was a member of their party at CoP 15 in Copenhagen, and is a judge on the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards which assesses the beneficial impacts of tourism projects on the communities in which they operate.
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Amanda Hillman on Executive MBA
WATCH THIS INTERVIEW http://youtu.be/2Is7uumbKaA Amanda is studying the Executive MBA alongside her full-time job. She talks about why she chose her course, how it is benefiting her work and why Bedfordshire is such a great place to study.
Law student leads by example at annual volunteering fairs With national and locally-based charities rolling out stalls to recruit student volunteers at the University’s Bedford and Luton campuses, attendees requiring inspiration need look no further than final year Law student Anisa Ali. For the past two years Anisa has been volunteering at Friends of Bright Eyes (FOBE), a Lutonbased charity supplying respite care for disabled children. “I wasn’t sure whether to volunteer or not until I visited FOBE’s stall at Luton Sixth Form College in the summer of 2011 - just before I started my course at Bedfordshire,” said Anisa. “It was the best decision I’ve made. Taking the children for days out puts smiles on their faces. It’s a great feeling and also allows their families the occasional break.” Anisa, who was managing FOBE’s stall, now has a wide-ranging role at FOBE including mentoring
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new volunteers, organising fundraising events as well as caring for the children on outings. The 21-year-old from Luton added: “I have a hectic year ahead. I’m either at University, on work experience at a London firm of solicitors, producing spoken poetry for Luton-based radio station Inspire FM or working for FOBE. I realise how fortunate I am with the life I have been given.” The annual volunteering fair, hosted last week by Beds SU, offered students opportunities to get involved with local good causes and gain valuable work experience. Around 30 organisations, including Marie Curie Cancer Care, Luton & Dunstable University Hospital, British Red Cross and CHUMS - Child Bereavement and Trauma Service based in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, attended. Over the two days, more than 700 students signed up - an
increase on previous years’ fairs. Andrea Thorogood, Volunteering Manager at Beds SU said: “Volunteering enhances the student experience in a number of ways. Students gain useful work experience, develop transferable skills to use in different job roles and become more engaged in their local communities. Previous volunteers have told me they’ve been surprised that potential employers are so interested in their voluntary work experience. It’s a subject which comes up at job interviews and it’s great that they have these experiences to draw upon.” Andrea added: “Volunteering has the potential to open up new and unexpected opportunities. Although students initially get involved to demonstrate experience on their CVs they can, over time, develop a deeper and longer lasting attachment to a good cause.”
Introducing - UBBS Faculty Representatives My name is Chantel Niro and I am currently in my second year studying Event Management. I’m passionate and enthusiastic about making a difference. I am also spontaneous and entertaining and enjoy keeping myself busy with societies and activities such as socialising at the cinema or the pub. My aim this year is to highlight the concern over submission deadlines that are set too close to each other. I’d also like to look into how lectures and materials in the unit can be improved to prepare us for the year ahead. My names Charlie Hughes. I’m 22 years old and from the South-East of England (not Essex!). As well as being a Faculty Representative, I am Co-Club Captain for the University football team in Luton and work for the Student Union as a member of the Street Team and behind the bar. My first objective this year is to work with the VP of Education Paige Walker, to improve timetabling for students by making it available before the year starts if possible. My second objective is to work in partnership with careers to develop a scheme for placements, so that knowledge and help is readily available for students seeking a placement on their sandwich course in the Business School. My name is Stephen Obiade. I am Nigerian, born in Nigeria but have lived here in the UK for most of the 23 years of my life. I ran for this Faculty Representative position because I believe that students’ voices can shape the University. My objectives for this year are as follows:
· To hold at least two meetings with my Course Representatives to listen to responses from the students · To attend all the Faculty Academic Board meetings and to follow up student responses · To make sure more students are aware of thinkBIG, which aims to enhance the academic experience. My name is Ioan Alexandru Iftime and I am a second year Business Decision Management undergraduate who is committed to making a difference everywhere I go. I am not afraid to speak my mind, raise issues and promote best practices. My objectives this year are to lobby for better access to resources, on-time quality feedback and an increase in the staff-to-student ratio throughout the Business school. I welcome all students to approach me and express their concerns, ask for advice and praise what’s best in their course. My promise is to offer students the best opportunity to thinkBIG and beBIG during their time at the University of Bedfordshire. My name is Angelo Karvelas. I’m a third year Marketing student and one of the Business school Faculty Representatives. I was a Faculty Representative last year and I have been a student officer for two years, as well as a course representative. My focus this year will be to support course representatives to thinkBIG (enhance the academic experience) and to support the Business school with their student experience and in improving employment prospects for students.
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FROM THE CLASSROOM
Practice Week Update Since Practice Weeks started in October 2013, students have participated in twentysix Practice Weeks across the faculty. Projects that students have engaged with to date range from networking at the World Travel Market in London, to presenting to the Mayor of Bedford and the Mayor of Luton. The primary focus has been on working with local community third sector organisations such as the Enfield Asian Welfare Association, Luton Foodbank, Age Concern, Crossroads Care and Autism Bedfordshire, with many more projects scheduled until the end of the academic year. Representatives from those organisations have set briefs for students to work on consultancy projects. These briefs are real-world problems that organisations face, covering a range of industry issues from marketing to operational. Students from the Luton Campus impressed the local Mayor during a Practice Week in January, as Sheila Roden was invited to judge a poster presentation completed by first year Business Studies students. The students were set the project by Luton Foodbank, and the Chairperson, Liz Stringer, was also there to take part in judging. The
Foodbank project continued in March with students employing the strategies they worked on to deliver real social impact through interacting with businesses and gathering donations on behalf of Luton Foodbank. The Tourism department’s Practice Weeks have provided students with exciting opportunities to network, as well as engage in social enterprise through volunteering with the Luton branch of Age Concern. Marketing and PR students rebranded the logos and literature of the charity Autism Bedfordshire in a recent Practice Week. Human Resource first year students worked on a brief to develop staff communications for Crossroads Care, a charity that provides assistance and support for carers. Other students have undertaken courses to achieve certification during their Practice Weeks, such as SAGE and the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Practice Weeks in March included Events Management students working on two projects with Luton Culture, the final phase of the Foodbank project, and external projects set by the Alzheimer’s Society and the Keech Hospice.
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Working with experience – The Vice-Chancellor launched the Student Experience Project (StEPs) funds in September 2013, with an allocated budget of £500k. Staff and students were invited to collaborate and propose projects designed to enhance the student experience. Three main themes were identified within the StEPs funding: n Small StEPs - Little changes, Big differences - Students were invited to fill in a postcard, suggesting small initiatives that they could think of that could make a big difference to the student experience. n StEPs on Course - Students and academics were invited to work together to identify changes and propose joint projects that could improve the course experience. n StEP Change - This strand of the project funding aimed to commission largescale projects that offer university-wide enhancement of the student experience.
To date, four projects have been funded in UBBS. 1. Law Clinic University of Bedfordshire - £43,902 Tom Mortimer - The Law Clinic will be a partnership between students, academics, lawyers and other local advisors. It has two key objectives: to enhance the education of students in our Law School through direct experience of legal practice and, secondly, to provide a public service for local people who need legal support and guidance but cannot afford to pay for it. Recently announced cutbacks in public funding for legal aid and advice agencies have created a crisis in access to justice in the UK. By working with local partners such as the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), from whom we have wholehearted support, we aim to meet some of this unmet need and to put service to our local community at the heart of everything we do. Law students at both the Luton and Bedford sites of the UoB Law School will have the opportunity to work in our Law Clinic, which facilitates collaboration between the two
FROM THE CLASSROOM
students to improve their StEPs funding updates cohorts of Law students at UoB. In the Law Clinic, students will have the full conduct of cases on behalf of clients, which includes administering, supporting and providing guidance on the legal process. This will be exercised under the close supervision of qualified lawyers who have a Practice Certificate. This opportunity to work on ‘live cases’ will broaden students’ knowledge, provide facilities to undertake a structured reflection on that legal practice and significantly enhance the development of their employability and transferable skills. The potential reach of this activity is exciting. It will provide an umbrella for our Law School to seek external accreditation through the Street Law Scheme, which allows our students to engage with local schools and community groups and to participate in University Open Days, Taster Days and Summer School events on campus. This activity offers our students the chance to develop their own learning by introducing legal issues to a wider audience so that school-age students gain awareness of the law for themselves. The ability to teach others is the acid test of how well students know and understand their own subject! It also enables us to form partnerships institutionally with our feeder schools, which will impact positively on our student applications. Furthermore, the opportunity to use this facility to enhance our developing links with a wide range of organisations such as local charities and national organisations such as the Crown Prosecution Service creates collaborative partnership benefits for our University, its students and the wider community.
2. “By students for students: Cofacilitating professional values in the classroom”- £20,391. Carol Matthews - This project is a proactive collaboration with students. It aims to use professional values which are consistent with our practice-based business curriculum to empower students to address challenging peer behaviour in classrooms. Students and staff alike have the right to learn and work in an atmosphere of respect, so the project will develop strategies and resources which articulate and enact professional values informed by the Student Code of Conduct. The project promotes students supporting students to develop a deeper understanding of professionalism and the importance of conducting oneself in a professional manner in the classroom. Student participants will produce a set of interactive resources. Created by students, for students, these will raise awareness and develop a shared sense of ownership of UBBS professional values. Actively engaging students in shaping expectations of peer behaviour in this way will empower them to embrace, enact and assume responsibility for professional values, whilst co-constructing positive learning experiences in the classroom as a community, grounded in the core principle of respect. 3. What is Feedback? Students telling others about feedback - £5,595 Carol Matthews This project enables students to recognise and actively engage
with the various forms of feedback embedded in and situated alongside the curriculum. Rather than staff simply telling students about feedback in ways we think will be helpful or informative, this project foregrounds the student voice to best communicate with other students. In our Business School, we aim to create imaginative graduates who identify and solve problems as an expression of our practice-based business education. This project will enhance these attributes in our students. In order to highlight the many existing forms of feedback, we have developed a resource which students and staff involved in the project will evaluate, revise and then relate to the wider student body. 4. The Employment Game - £27,880 Alexander Kofinas The aim of the project is to simplify, streamline and enhance the UoB students’ employment seeking activities by producing an interactive game that takes students through the sequence of steps associated with securing a job. The competitive nature of the game will require students to develop their ability in the tasks aligned with each step, enhancing their employability and contributing to their effectiveness in seeking and securing graduate employment. Students in the BA Business Management course will be the primary focus of the project. The platform will be piloted in September 2014. If successful, there is scope for expansion to the rest of the Faculty and the University.
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Alumni engagement as a nexus between alumni and their alma mater Although often overlooked by business schools, alumni engagement and associated activities can transform the strategic development agenda of higher education institutions. Alumni are more than just business school graduates â€“ they are ambassadors for their institutions. University of Bedfordshire Business School (UBBS) has recently initiated a project to introduce alumni to the benefits and opportunities available to them and to showcase UBBS success. Our agenda is to grow the existing alumni network with recent graduates and to connect with those who have graduated but not previously engaged with the School. We started with a short study looking at the destinations of our graduates - investigating the companies and sectors where our alumni worked and their employment category. Data extracted through LinkedIn captured alumni who graduated with business degrees in the years 2010-2013. We included those employed by home and overseasbased businesses, public bodies and third sector organisations. From this we assembled a dataset of 200 alumni from the School of Law and other Departments in the Business School to track their career progression. Below are some highlights of this work. Outcomes revealed that 29% of the sampled alumni held at least mid-level management roles within companies. Mid-level managers were employed in Human Resources, Finance, Product and Business Development, Marketing and Sales, along with Project Management. Deloitte, Royal
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Bank of Scotland and Barclays were and our communities. We believe just a few of the companies that that alumni will have the practice employ our Business school alumni. intelligence, skills and experience that As part of the study, we have also give substance to our practice-led looked at the number of alumni whose vision. As alumni, they will have the employment corresponds opportunity to become coto the course they creators of futures for their i completed. In 82.5% Business school and n Alum than of the cases, alumni its current students ore tes m destinations were and support local e r a a voc hey d a consistent with the communities and t s ju e. T s of businesses. c i t degrees obtained. c a e of pr he futur d Alumni are more We have also t an than just advocates been working shape munities e in of practice. They com a key rol ir towards providing shape the futures a wide range of play loping the of communities opportunities to deve calities. lo and play a key role in nurture alumni selfdeveloping their localities. development and boost the We have found that 17.5% success of their organisations of our Business School alumni are through initiatives such as Practice employed by organisations based Weeks and Leadership Futures, in Bedfordshire and so support along with standard alumni package the local economic development features such as lifetime access to our agenda. Taking an international careers service, access to learning perspective and drawing on a and development resources and relatively small sample suggests that business-related research outputs. our international alumni are based Our alumni engagement agenda in organisations across 29 countries is expanding. The culmination of with top overseas locations being this was the inaugural University Oman, Germany, India and China. of Bedfordshire Business School Not surprisingly then, alumni alumni event. This took place engagement is important to business at the Guardianâ€™s Headquarters schools. The snapshot of findings near St Pancras Station in above suggests that alumni have London on March 18th 2014. expertise in a broad range of business and related disciplines; they are established international practitioners and forward thinkers. As with the University the Business school alumni network of Bedfordshireâ€™s grows, we look forward to further Business School expansion through opportunities alumni on LinkedIn! for them to bring creativity and www.beds.ac.uk/linkedin-bedsbiz-alumni expertise to our students, each other
Award surprise for Alexandra
The Association for Tourism in Higher Education has announced Alexandra Barat-Abrams as the Best Postgraduate Student of Tourism 2013. Alexandra, who is a Coordinator for MSc Business and Management courses at the Business school, achieved a distinction in her MSc Tourism and Events Management which looked into the significance of dance (specifically Salsa) in tourism. Alexandra, who comes from Hungary, said it was a “big surprise” to be recognised. “Completing a Master’s while in full-time work with the University was very hard work. I would often be up all night studying to ensure I could achieve the best results possible. I think my husband was glad when I finally completed it, as I have been studying on various different courses since 2004! “I never expected a distinction and I was delighted when all my efforts had paid off. To then be given such an honour by the Association was very humbling.” Alexandra was awarded Best Postgraduate student at a ceremony marking 20 years of the Association for Tourism in Higher Education at Canterbury Cathedral Lodge.
“I never expected a distinction and I was delighted when all my efforts had paid off. To then be given such an honour by the Association was very humbling.”
TELL US ABOUT YOUR STORIES OF SUCCESS This magazine depends on the excellent stories of success our staff and students generate. Please email your stories and photographs for inclusion in the next issue to:
SPRING EDITION | May 2014
Working with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre Dr Vladimir Zegarac and Tricia Smart from the Business school flew to Ghana to collaborate in a Curriculum Review Workshop from 22nd to 25th January 2013 run by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Ghana (KAIPTC). This new initiative followed a landmark Memorandum of Co-operation between University of Bedfordshire and KAIPTC: signed in November 2012, by Dr Sonal Minocha, as Executive Dean of the Business School, and Commandant, Air Vice Marshall Christian Edem Kobla Dovlo. This Review Workshop was supported by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). Its purpose was “to review the quality of the current KAIPTC academic courses to meet the standards of the National Accreditation Board.” Experts and practitioners from universities and think-tanks from Africa, Europe and the United States of America gathered to “brainstorm and enrich the content” of the courses delivered by KAIPTC (KAIPTC Report 2013). Plans are in place to extend the relationship with Dr Zegarac and Tricia Smart revisiting KAIPTC next April to take part in another Review and deliver a two-day workshop on materials development to
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academics at KAIPTC. Further proposals for collaboration include development of a certificate level course as part of KAIPTC’s MA in Conflict, Peace and Security. In exchange, a unit on African Conflict and Security would be designed as part of the Business School’s MA International Relations, with Col. Kotia and Dr Aning (both experts in this field) delivering a series of lectures as part of this unit. KAIPTC, which works closely with the UN and other peacekeeping bodies around the world, is the leading academic institution delivering programmes on peace and security in the continent of Africa. As Air Vice Marshall Christian Edem Kobla Dovlo’s tenure as Commandant will soon end, his successor will be visiting the University in February next year, accompanied by Colonel Kotia and Dr Aning, to meet with the Executive Dean and the Vice Chancellor to further the strong relationship between KAIPTC and the University.
Omani poet, German poetry Lubna al Balushi believes she can only now call herself a poet, even though she published her book ‘Schönheit des Herzens’ (Beauty of the Heart), a collection of 54 poems in German, two years ago. She has just returned from Germany where she presented and read from her book at the Arab Cultural Week held in the University of Hamburg, and the Sultanate’s embassy in Berlin. Some of the German audience members were clearly impressed with her writing. One of them praised the way she captured emotions that they themselves were unable to express as native speakers, even though she had only recently learned German. In Germany, Lubna addressed misconceptions about her work and clarified that she is an Omani who learnt German and wrote the book, and that she doesn’t live in Germany. “Now they are recognising me as an Omani poet who writes in German,” she says. Lubna began learning German in 2008. The idea to publish her poems came about following a class assignment that motivated her to keep writing and eventually complete an entire collection in the language. She emphasises that her book isn’t only about love: “It includes the full spectrum of human emotions. The book’s purpose is to remind us how beautiful we are; how we can be beautiful with each other in how we express and show this beauty.” Currently in the last semester of the University of Bedfordshire’s Master of Business Administration programme in Majan College, her book has unlocked opportunities for future artistic endeavours. She has plans to work on a book with a photographer, Anja Menzel, who she met during her visit to Germany. She will also be collaborating with Dubaibased German artist Petra Kaltenbach who uses elements such as henna and sand to create her pieces, to develop a collaborative art piece that she describes as ‘multicultural’. Their project is one that explores the similarities between cultures. “I think it’s worthwhile to show how worlds are much closer,” Lubna said. She is currently taking a break from writing in German to improve her language. A reading of some of her poems from Schönheit des Herzens is planned at the Goethe Institute next year the same institute where Lubna learnt the language. She hopes to have paved the way for Omanis to explore writing in German. She believes that so long as there is a ‘first’, the door is open for other Omanis to write in German, or in any other foreign language. © TheWeek (Apex Press & Publishing, Oman) www.theweek.co.om
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New partnership agreement with FTU caps successful visit to Vietnam Foreign Trade University (FTU) postgraduate students will have an option to study part of their Masters course at the University of Bedfordshire from September 2014. Bedfordshire has been working in partnership with the Vietnamese University since 2006. FTU students have an option to study the final year of their (BA) Business Studies Degree at Bedfordshire. A new agreement was reached in Hanoi to extend the partnership to FTU students undertaking Masters (MSc) Degrees in Finance and Business Management. Some 25 FTU students will complete two semesters of the Bedfordshire Masters course at FTU, with the middle semester spent at the University. Vice Chancellor, Bill Rammell, who visited Vietnam along with the Director of Transnational Education Alan Murphy to finalise the new agreement and form closer links with FTU, said: “Our partnership with the Foreign Trade University has been incredibly successful and I’m delighted that we’re extending our links with this institution. Bedfordshire currently has 40 FTU (BA) Business Studies students at the University and that number is set to increase to 65 in September 2014, so it is a natural progression to extend the offer to Postgraduate students. Building on the success of our China Cultural
Exchange trip last summer, the University has finalised plans to offer Bedfordshire students a two-week cultural visit to Vietnam and FTU in summer 2014.” The Vice Chancellor added: “Discussions are also underway for Bedfordshire students to travel to our partners in Malaysia and Thailand as part of the Go Global initiative.” During the visit to Vietnam, Mr Rammell also addressed a Global Education Dialogues event featuring higher education representatives from the UK, Australia and South-East Asia. Organised by the British Council, the event looked at the challenges and opportunities currently facing international higher education. Mr Rammell gave a key-note speech discussing what universities need to do to meet the student demands of the 21st Century. Speaking at the event, Mr Rammell said: “In England and in other markets, there is a growing emphasis on the student as consumer. I reject those labels of consumer or customer or commodity. The very idea of customer and provider runs against that idea of a University community. But that is not to say that the best elements of customer service, feedback and interaction should be ignored, far from it – I believe in students as partners in all aspects of our decision making.”
Lecture series from the Department of Management and Business Systems Feedback from students during course committees suggests that students welcome more contact with practitioners and organisations from outside the University. Dr Elly Philpott from the Department of Management and Business Systems has arranged a series of workshops that add value and substance to both the student and staff experience and UBBS’s practice vision. Since starting in October 2013, the Department has hosted speakers with audiences in excess of 50 comprising staff and students from different disciplines and courses. Recent examples include Irene McDonald of Transport for London talking about her experience of managing people, while Jessica Tabalba of Inoxos gave a fascinating talk on ‘Aristotle and his iPad’ - relating classical Greek thinking to the design of contemporary products. Chris Smith from the Intellectual Property Office also spoke; he talked about the management of intellectual property and the services of the IPO in the UK. All the speakers have been well received.
External stakeholders including alumni participate in the sessions. Alumni often want to contribute to their University and see the sessions as an opportunity to network, shape the future of students and keep in touch with the Business school through enjoyable and informative interaction. Others see this as opportunity to make connections as part of their general business activities or their own personal and professional development. Students who attend the sessions benefit from the practitioner insights and mixing with students and staff from other courses. Many of the talks and materials provided complement their course content. The events have relevance to all postgraduate students who want to get into work in the future. The series is an example of co-curricular activity in support of the Business school objective of bringing practitioners into the University. The feedback from students has been excellent. Jessica Tabalba of Inoxos
the research pod
Exploring the value of Big Data in Higher Education
The advances in emerging digital technologies, such as Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID), have enabled organisations to develop innovative ways to collect data intelligently in ways that may not have been possible before. However, this leads to the explosion of data and unprecedented challenges in making effective use of available data. The concept of “Big Data” has emerged to describe the volume, variety, and velocity of the data generated with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Big Data can be a big asset for Higher Education, but their value has not yet been fully explored and utilised. Professor Yanqing Duan and her colleagues, Dr Vincent Ong, Dr Guangming Cao and Mr Marcus Woolley, have completed two projects funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) aiming to utilise the value of Big Data with Business Intelligence (BI) solutions in the context of Student Engagement System (SES) and explore the strategic use of the enhanced SES. Their research implemented an action research methodology, which is an iterative process involving researchers and practitioners acting together on a particular cycle of activities, including problem diagnosis, action intervention, and reflective learning. The action research is concerned with the organisational wide development and deployment of an Intelligent Student Engagement System involving a diverse range of stakeholders. The University’s student engagement system collects student data from a number of online and offline sources and enables the University to monitor students’ engagement activity and spot a drop in engagement level before it becomes significant, making any necessary intervention possible. Although the system went live in December 2009, at the time it served merely as an information source rather than a decision support environment. Working with the BI developers, the JISC projects enhanced SES with BI solutions, such as personalised engagement indictors, intelligent dashboard, and automatic risk alert. The project team members also carried out a series of investigations including interviews, surveys and focus groups with multiple stakeholders (BI developer, ICT managers, SES users, students, faculty managers and academic tutors) involved in developing and using the student engagement system to understand their problems and requirements. The experience and lessons learned through their action research have provided rich and unique insights into issues related to addressing Big Data
challenges with BI solutions. The findings and implications contribute to advancing our understanding and research in leveraging the benefit of Big Data in Higher Education from a socio-technical perspective. Professor Duan presented their research paper in the second international conference on Emerging Research Paradigm in Business and Social Science (ERPBSS) held in Dubai in Nov 2013 and was pleased to receive the best paper award in the Information and Communication Technologies track, which aims to examine emerging paradigms and innovative practices related to the adoption, use and implications of ICT and presents work that is transformative and embraces serious intellectual discussion. Delighted with the best paper award, Professor Duan would like to take the opportunity to raise the awareness among the HE community about the potential value of Big Data in improving student experience and call for more research in developing and implementing business intelligence and data analytics tools for HE managers to gain data-based insights and make better informed decisions.
Addressing the Ethnic Inequalities in Social Mobility Christina Schwabenland attended a two-day conference
in November on Addressing Ethnic Inequalities in Social Mobility organized by Cumberland Lodge in partnership with the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (University of Manchester) and the Runnymede Foundation. Key findings are that the nexus of gender/ethnicity/ religion/place interact in different ways for different groups, requiring sophisticated responses that are able to respond to that complexity and difference. The picture over the last ten years is varied with increasing proportions of people from minority ethnic groups moving into managerial and professional positions (but this may be as much to do with the increasing numbers of those positions rather than increasing social mobility). The most disadvantaged groups are men of Black African origin and women of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin, while men and women of Chinese origin continue to outperform other groups.
For more information about the projects, please contact Professor Yanqing Duan (Yanqing.firstname.lastname@example.org) Or visit the JISC case studies website: JISC transformations project case study report: http://preview.tinyurl.comon4jjcn JISC Business Intelligence project case study report: http://tinyurl.com/op9pe6l
SPRING EDITION | May 2014
IN THE NEWS
Law students assist refugees denied legal aid with family reunification In November 2013, the Centre for Research in Law (CRiL) of the School of Law launched the Refugee Legal Aid Project (RLAP), which has given law students in their final year the opportunity to work alongside legal practitioners and gain valuable practical skills, whilst providing precious assistance to people in need. The project, which sees our students assisting refugees in their applications for family reunification, is vitally important for our clients, as legal barriers imposed by domestic authorities coupled with drastic cuts to legal aid have made matters incredibly difficult for refugees, who are in most cases unable to afford the
substantial legal costs involved in in 2010 due to the risks she was family reunification proceedings. The facing in her country of origin due project is co-ordinated by Dr Silvia to her political activities, had been Borelli, Director of CRiL, with the forced to leave her three very young support of Dominique Mystris from children when fleeing her country. the School of Law. Our students As a consequence of the recent are working directly under the change in policy, she had then supervision of Ash Ali, a been denied legal aid and barrister specialising faced huge problems “The ich in asylum and in seeking to bring , wh nts t c immigration law, and her children to the e j o pr tude s in United Kingdom. s Fiona Cameron, r u sees o g refugee for As a direct result an expert in in ns refugee protection assist applicatio tion, of the work of the a with extensive their y reunific tant RLAP team, her l experience children have now fami ally impor ts with refugee been granted visas t n i e v is r cli u o organisations in and the family are well r o f Africa and the UK. on the way to being The project involves finally reunited. The project a clinic every Tuesday is expected to continue and during which students interview generate even more success stories. prospective applicants and On a related note, a team of CRiL assist in the completion of legal academics and doctoral students documentation and the compilation has recently been successful in a of evidence to be forwarded to the funding bid to undertake a research Home Office for consideration. As project on ‘Asylum and Access to such, the students are developing Justice in the United Kingdom’, specific practical legal skills under which aims to explore the obstacles the supervision of experienced which refugees, asylum seekers and practitioners, and gaining invaluable failed asylum seekers encounter in work experience which will assist accessing the judicial system in the them in their future legal careers. United Kingdom. The project, which The project is already will take shape throughout 2014, will producing important results. In build on the information and insights early January we celebrated the gathered through the Refugee Legal successful outcome of Aid Project, with the aim of providing R’s family reunification an up-to-date and accurate picture application which was of the detrimental impact which the lodged in November current cuts to legal aid have had with the help of the and are likely to have in the future RLAP. R (name withheld), upon individuals belonging to these who was granted refugee particularly vulnerable groups. status in the United Kingdom
IN THE NEWS NEW BOOK RELEASES New Venture Creation: A framework for entrepreneurial start-ups, Paul Burns
This book dispels the myth that entrepreneurship cannot be taught, by breaking down the business start-up process into a seven-stage New Venture Creation Framework. Step-by-step, chapter-by-chapter, it guides you through the whole process of planning for a new venture - from generating an idea, through developing the business model, and raising finance. It combines tips and practical advice from entrepreneurs with academic research and theory. Features include: n Quotes from entrepreneurs – these provide both inspiration and practical tips on how to create a new venture. n Case insights – over 70 cases from around the globe illustrate how a range of organisations have tackled issues in the real world. n Academic insights – these provide coverage of recent research and theoretical underpinning in a digestible form. n The New Venture Framework Exercises featured at the end of each chapter progressively build a comprehensive business plan. New Venture Creation is both inspirational and practical, and will equip budding entrepreneurs with all the tools they need to undertake a successful new venture. “This book provides a detailed, in-depth overview of the new venture creation process through an approach which encompasses both practical and theoretical issues. The range and depth of discussion on the challenges of starting up is bound to ensure that this book becomes a core text for new venture creation modules.” Richard Tunstall, University of Leeds “The process framework introduced in the book is bound to become the go-to-guide when it comes to new venture creation. For students and practitioners alike, this is a must read.” Philip Kappen, Copenhagen Business School “Paul Burns has a distinguished track record in producing well-informed, practical and engaging texts on new ventures. His success stems from an ability to capture the true essence of entrepreneurship.” David Storey, University of Sussex
Supply Chain: Strategies, Issues and Models - by Usha Ramanathan and Ramakrishnan Ramanathan In the 21st century, supply chain operations and relationships among supply chain partners have become highly challenging, necessitating new approaches e.g. the development of new models. Supply Chain Strategies, Issues and Models discusses supply chain issues and models with examples from actual industrial cases. Expert authors with a wide spectrum of knowledge, working in various areas of supply chain management from various geographical locations, offer refreshing, novel and insightful ideas and address possible solutions using established theories and models. Supply Chain Strategies, Issues and Models features studies that have used mathematical modelling, statistical analyses and also descriptive qualitative studies. The chapters cover many relevant themes related to supply chains and logistics including supply chain complexity, information sharing, quality (six sigma), electronic Kanbans, inventory models, scheduling, purchasing and contracts. To facilitate easy reading, the chapters that deal with supply chain related issues are first, followed by studies on inventory, scheduling, purchasing and logistics. This book can be used as a useful resource of supply chain management by academics, students and practitioners. This book can serve as a helping tool in managerial decision making for investments in collaboration and information exchange to improve forecasts, scheduling and inventory management, and for supply chain managers to leverage product and process complexities into competitive advantage. Some interesting mathematical models can appeal to students and researchers interested in modelling the impact of information sharing in supply chains.
SPRING EDITION | May 2014
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