Tuesday, April 23, 2013

PhD Student bursaries - Thoughts on SCUTREA 2012

Michele Giblin

I am a post graduate student at Trinity College Dublin. My interest lies in a small subset of third level education, that of alternative access routes, specifically mature studentship. I am fortunate to receive funding from the Irish Research Council. However, to engage with colleagues and other researchers working in this arena, usually requires planes, trains and automobiles, so I was delighted and very grateful to receive a bursary last year which made it possible for me to attend the SCUTREA conference in Leicester. (Editor: The Conference was organised by Leicester's Institute of Lifelong Learning and was part of their celebration of Vaughan College's 150th Anniversary) 
The first thing that you would notice when attending a SCUTREA conference is the sheer diversity of nationalities represented.  Over the course of the three days I was exposed to ideas and experiences of those involved in third level education from all corners of the globe, and at all levels; academics reflecting on programme development and experiences, students recounting their work, and analysts  elaborating on the tensions surrounding policy and policy implementation.
The opportunity to network within such a diverse field, and to become aware of upcoming developments within my own field, added additional dimensions to the analysis of my own work.  SCUTREA also brings together many luminaries who, over the years, have informed the development work in this field, some of whom have been pioneers in not only espousing the benefits, but also identifying the problems, associated with adult education and lifelong learning.  These individuals attend all the sessions and are generous in their comments and constructive in their feedback. 
Based on my experience from last year I'm certainly looking forward to coming to Glasgow and look forward to meeting new people as well as catching up with colleagues I met last year.

For details of SCUTREA student bursaries and to register for this year's conference