Action Learning for Women Postgraduate Research Students
The Researcher Development Programme from the Graduate School and equality and diversity staff in the Governance Team have offered women postgraduate research students the opportunity to attend an Action Learning Workshop. The workshop enabled women students to try out Action Learning as a way of supporting and developing women.
Women researchers can find themselves facing any of the following situations:
Competing in a male dominated environment
Needing to deal with competition
Managing maternity breaks and integrating back into the learning environment
Searching for a satisfactory work life balance.
Having the opportunity to explore the issues they face with a view to finding a way forward for them as individuals has been found beneficial to women in higher education and being the member of an action learning set provides one way of achieving this (see Action Learning:it's role in developing and supporting women in higher education).
Underpinning action learning is a belief in experiential learning, that we can use our experiences as a source of learning and development. The set provides an opportunity for describing our experience, reflecting upon it, identifying resources whether from within or without, deliberating upon & deciding on options for action and reviewing action.
Information about the Workshop
The workshop provides participants with the chance to explore the issues they face as women postgraduate research students. Action learning is introduced as a way of supporting and developing women in their careers as researchers. It is a structured process of working in small groups that allows the individual to bring and work with their own issues in the group.
For details of the next workshop, please contact Kal Kohli in the Governance Team.
Becoming a member of an action learning set
After the workshop, there is an opportunity to become a member of an action learning set.
Typically the same 5 to 7 women come together to form an action learning set and meet every four to six weeks for half a day, though groups negotiate various suitable arrangements. The set will be facilitated. By meeting in the same group for a period of time trust is built and from past experience it has been found that group members learn:
How to re-define and manage the issue/problem/opportunity they bring to the set
More about themselves – boosting confidence, self esteem and developing a responsibility for their own learning
About how groups work and how being in a group is experienced
And further develop interpersonal skills such as listening and questioning.
Additionally this programme places an emphasis on developing transferable skills (see Skills Areas) that will also enable participants to continue as a self facilitating action learning set.
F1 Develop relationships
D6 Understand boundaries
F2 Impact on others
F3 Giving and receiving feedback
G2 Career progression