Letter From Daryl
By the time you read I shall be far away from my desk having fled the winter chill of England and the usual transport chaos that appears whenever snow may be suspected for the somewhat sunnier climes of Australia. Yes indeed, for me Christmas this year shall be on the beach; sun, sea, sand and barbeque combined to give that unique festive spirit we only get down under in the southern hemisphere.
But I’m not mentioning that to brag at my friends back in Britain, shivering under six feet of snow. Certainly my colleagues at ADL won’t be so kind as to give me much of a moment’s peace even while away and no doubt so many e-mails, reports and documents will have arrived in my inbox by the time I set foot in Australia that I could be forgiven for thinking my entire office had travelled with me. Well, except for one thing, and the real reason I’m going home. Family.
It is indeed that time of year when the relentless march of life slows just that little bit to let us all cram in a few precious moments with our loved ones. For all the progress we’ve made over the years it really does seem that we may be in danger of losing something so precious without realising – the simple magic of human interaction.
We humans are social beings. We talk, laugh, learn, cry and are at our best with one another. It’s this understanding that I try to instil within ADL. From our advisors to our tutors to myself I emphasize the importance that every person, every student is an individual worthy of concern and consideration. Every student matters and when learners have difficulties and encounter problems on their course of study their problems become our own.
It’s a great failing of larger and older institutions that they can become somewhat monolithic. The people who make the decisions are hidden away behind a high wall. This, I think, is unacceptable as ultimately our entire existence is built upon the need of our students for education. To have them inevitably fall into cracks in the wall because of remote and uninvolved bureaucrats is, I think, hubris of the highest order.
Fortunately, as a smaller institution, ADL is better able to treat all of its students as names, not numbers.
That’s why I place the highest emphasis on ensuring the needs of our learners are addressed. Whether it’s difficulty in arranging payment for a course, a problem with an aspect of a course being too hard or anything else for that matter I want us to be flexible, to acknowledge the concerns of those who have chosen to study with us and to be responsive in addressing their needs.
Why? Because we’re on the side of our learners. And frankly, they deserve nothing less.
Until next time, have a great festive season and I look forward to writing to you all again in 2014!