I’m Ioannis Christodolou and since 2011 I have worked in the Westminster Business School teaching and researching aspects of strategic management. Jointly with my deputy Zorica Patel and a teaching team of 20 colleagues, I lead BKEY601 Strategic Perspectives, a year-long final year undergraduate module delivered to around 900 students. It is a key module, making up a significant part of their results and so it really matters that the module goes well. We rely heavily on the support of our registry, university services, and of course the active involvement of the students.
For me, the Westminster Business School’s Professional Principles sum up the standards and behaviours that our team should bring to our task of delivering this huge module to a high standard. Being professional is different to being ‘a professional’ (although I hope that I am that too). Being professional means working towards and upholding high standards; working with others as you wish they’ll work with you. As they were created jointly by students, staff and the Student Union they are inclusive and they regularly remind me that education is a partnership – involving students, registry staff and us lecturers.
It’s natural to want to feel that we all are doing the best we can; achieving our personal goals whilst supporting each other and making a contribution to the faculty and university. This is much easier if we adopt a professional approach that would allow all the individual elements to shine along with a context that creates a synergy effect from all individuals as a team. This extends further than just study. We all like to work, rest, and play. I know from experience that employers value people who contribute more than just work-related knowledge and skills. They want those who respect and support others and the organisation they work for, as well as looking after themselves. These people bring credit to their workplace and themselves through their professionalism. Of course this is important for students wanting to take that all-important first step into their chosen career but it also applies to us faculty staff as well. We too aim to develop and to build a successful career so the Professional Principles apply just as much to us too.
The Professional Principles outline how we can reasonably expect that others should behave towards us and just as important, remind us of how we should behave towards others regardless of whether we or they are teachers, students or other faculty staff. If we hold ourselves to account for our actions we can help others do the same.
It can be easy to dismiss such ideas as a bit of corporate-style ‘whitewash’, stuck up on the wall whilst we all just carry on as we did before. This is not right; in an increasingly competitive and fast-changing world we all gain by improving the way we look after ourselves and others. Being professional is key part of that.
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