The partnerships team has seen a lot of change in the past few months and the current team are brimming with ideas and ambitions.
By Samantha Allan
The last few months has seen a significant change in Edinburgh Global’s Partnership team, with previous Partnerships colleagues moving to new positions and a restructure to include the Global Community team.
The new team
Our new colleagues have come from both internal positions and from other HE institutions, bringing together a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Derek MacLeod, Head of Global Partnerships, explains his role within the team: “My role is to oversee the Global Community and Partnerships team. What we’re trying to do right now is to understand more about the existing partnerships that we have at the University. We’re doing a stock take and a reassessment of where we are with all of our partnerships across the world - what they are and what the layers are in each of the different partnerships.”
Senior Partnerships Advisor, Llinos Jones, feels that her previous experience working in the Business School will help the team understand partnerships at School level. Llinos said: “Each of us bring different strengths to the team; coming from a School at this University I’ve seen what goes on at that local level and the kinds of partnerships that a School looks at forming and some are very innovative, but they can also be very complex.”
Michelle Beagan, Senior Partnerships Advisor, previously worked within the University of Dundee’s central partnerships team. She said: “I’ve got a lot of experience on the policy development and project management side and one of the areas that we’ll want to focus on are the more complex and innovative arrangements that Schools are exploring and how we can ensure that colleagues are accessing the information and advice they need at an early point in project development.”
Understanding our current partnerships
The team realise that internal partnerships are crucial and are connecting with colleagues across the University who are involved in the partnership process to understand the agreements currently in place and to gain insight into what the University hopes to achieve from future partnerships.
Derek said: “One of the first things we’ve been doing is mapping out our key partners – both from the perspective of the Regional teams as well as the Colleges and Schools, so we can better understand who the strategic partners are that we’re working with across the world. We’re trying to at the same time to understand what is in existence already, what kind of agreements are in place and how we’re looking to continue to develop these moving forward.”
Michelle added: “There’re so many people that are a different piece of the jigsaw so we want to try and take an overview and connect with all these people.”
Although there is likely to be many challenges faced by the team due to the size and devolved nature of the University it’s hoped that some of the best practices which are currently being used by Colleges and Schools can be implemented throughout the University.
Talking of School-level partnerships, Llinos said: “The Low Carbon College with Shanghai Jiaotong in China is a good example of local level innovation happening, of Schools and centres coming together and creating something really impactful to tackle global challenges, such as climate change. Whilst the Low Carbon College partnership continues to evolve, I do think more of that needs to happen; more cross-school, multi-disciplinary partnerships in order to better address complex problems and for lessons learnt to be shared across the institution to better inform future international partnership development."
The ambitions of the team
The team are keen to help support members of staff throughout the University to establish and manage partnerships and hope to establish a support network.
They hope that by engaging with partnership colleagues across the University, learning more about the way that they work, it could help to influence and improve policies. Derek said: “I think that the devolved nature is going to be a huge challenge but it is an opportunity because there’s a lot of good practice within the Schools and the Colleges and what they do and so there’s a lot of opportunity for us to learn from that and to bring that into the policies and procedures that we’re looking to implement.”
Michelle explained that the team hope to create a network so that everyone involved in partnerships can offer support to colleagues: “One of our aims is to create a community of practice so that everyone currently involved in partnership development, and those interested in finding out more about it will have access to a network of fellow practitioners who can help share good practice and lessons learned from across the institution.”
The Partnerships team are keen to engage with Schools and Professional Services Staff across the University, whether you’re currently involved in a partnership project or looking for information on how to get started.
Get in touch with the Partnerships Team to find out more about how they can help support you
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