What Joy! …. but GULP…. what do we do now?!

In advance of next week’s conference, please read this Blog by Mark Clark (University of Sussex)

When Wendy announced the news that Sussex’s bid to host the Foundation Year Network conference 2019 had been successful there was much jubilation and excitement across the foundation year team. A real buzz in fact for a few days and then the reality of what this signified began to set in! Yes indeed, what an honour, but also what a responsibility and gulp what a lot to do….from scratch!!

As this reality set in, it became clear that under Wendy’s leadership we needed to get started in a unified way without delay. It is fair to say that none of this is especially exciting but as with most things in life where there’s a goal worth achieving, it is essential to get the solid foundations of people, principles and practices in place asap.

When the call went out the response from the FY team was fantastic with 10 colleagues immediately stepping forward to be involved in the Organising Committee. As a team we had really wanted to host this event and the enthusiasm was almost palpable. From here the first planning meeting was very quickly convened.

Initial forming meetings like this are essential for setting the right tone and getting a grip on what is involved in staging an event like this. From discussing and agreeing the overall theme of the conference to identifying the various pieces of work required to deliver success and not to forget allocation of the team to the various organising roles. For our part, deciding on a theme was relatively straight forward given the research interests in the team. Look out for more on this part of the process in Wendy’s blog later in the series.

After the theme was decided, it was all far more of a functional discussion and as stated already this is not terribly exciting but it is all rather essential. We agreed we needed the following sub-groups with colleagues allocated according to their preferences and skillsets into these broad areas: submissions committee, conference organiser liaison, conference programme, hospitality/catering, finance and communications (marketing, PR, web and social media). Within each area colleagues were tasked with specific instructions with deadlines to report back to Wendy and the team. We were on our way!

Please read the other blogs in the series to see how we got on and what came next!


Mark Clark

Director of Teaching and Learning: Foundation Year

University of Sussex

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