ENroute Yearbook 2019-20
Push yourself , be bold and be “ the system ” Wendy Wu , Bright Triangle , Senior Fellow
Gaining Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy ( SFHEA ) might not have seemed that it was something I could achieve ( I previously gained Fellowship status in 2017 – 18 ). However , as a Business Adviser at the Bright Red Triangle ( BRT ), I believed it was possible through the work I have led .
An example of my practice which I brought forward into my SFHEA claim derived from academic colleagues asking BRT to provide real-world projects with speakers to enhance classroom learning . Alongside this , I was aware that occasionally business leaders complain that graduates lack imagination and practical skills . It seemed to me that there was an opportunity to think differently about creativity , entrepreneurship and innovation so that knowledge can be applied to the real world . Closely observing this triangulated space ( academicindustry-enterprise / creativity / innovation ), I was convinced that there is a need to integrate what had been extra curriculum services to the mainstream .
Rather than sitting still and complaining about the system , I decided to quietly but boldly initiate some collaborative efforts to integrate . This thinking was profoundly influenced by a conversation with Sir Ken Robinson in my early professional career . By ‘ quietly ’, I mean being humble , acknowledging self as a learner who is learning together with students and colleagues . Be bold but be reflective , critical , flexible and evidence-focused . I mean staying away from negative energy and groans about ‘ doing the thing right ’ but focus on ‘ doing the right thing ’ and doing it with colleagues who like and dislike your approach . The reason is very simple , as Sir Robinson said , we cannot allow the system to kill students ’ creativity , because to the students we are ‘ the system ’!
Embarking with this mentality , I proposed to Dr Hock Tan ‘ Co-creating Impactful Solutions / Curriculum ’ which presents students with real-world challenges . It sets three levels of tasks :
1 . to complete a critical review of the theoretical implications of a case study 2 . to provide a consultancy piece to the case study organisation , and 3 . to set up a business using the insights learnt from the case study organisation .
It came to me as a surprise as to how many doors have been opened , and how many interesting colleagues I have encountered from a diverse range of background and knowledge set . It is not something you can underpin by one single academic theory . One thing I have learned deeply from this journey is that it is always the like-minded people and unlike-minded people who get together and hatch ‘ creativity ’.
I offer this reflection with gratitude and respect to my mentor Dr Patrick Harte , my collaborator Dr Hock Tan and academic colleagues without naming them all , my advocate Nick Fannin , and my colleague and buddy Vlad Ivanov .