Thursday, September 28, 2006

Musings in the Office

It took a long time for my results to come through. Fact is I only found out a couple of weeks back that I had actually graduated. That'll teach me to do student exchange programs to the U.S.A. (for those of you who didn't know I was in Texas for Semester 5). I've decided not to do any more study this year. I want to concentrate my energy on this new job, here, in Development.

Well as I said I struck lucky. Through the Hope Works program (campus jobs for students etc etc) before the semester ended I landed this job in the Development office. I'm hoping it'll turn into a contract so I can be around and involved in establishing a thriving alumni community. I really do feel passionately about this thing. Having been over to the States and seen how well established their Alumni Networks are over there, the chance to get involved in that sort of enterprise here at Hope was very attractive to me.

It's hard work, having to think up more and more new and imaginative ways of communicating with people. We've got a database of some 30,000 past alumni (graduates etc). The online community is now up to 950+ members. But we need more, many more. The more we have the more input will come into the network. People's experiences, in working life, in life in general, are so varied, so interesting. I'm sure we forget sometimes just how truly interesting our lives are and how much we really can assist each other, even by just sharing that.

Take me for example. I worked for 25 years, then gave it up and simultaneosly hit on the idea of University. Truth is once I encountered the idea I realised that it was something that had been in the back of my mind for many years.

Pat (Raynor) and I were at the Freshers fair yesterday. I bumped into an old colleague of mine, from the Girobank site in Bootle. Turns out he's just done the same thing as me, gave up work and come to University. It was so strange how he is just beginning something that I began the same 3 years ago and have now finished.

I've graduated! I still have to pinch myself sometimes. That's why I want people to sign on for this community. Without Liverpool Hope I could not have done this. Without St Kath's or Notre Dame etc there would be no Liverpool Hope. Without all those who have gone before me I could not have achieved what I have. Thankyou, whoever you are or wherever you are. Thankyou.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Calling All friends

Posting No. 2. Here goes . . .

I knew it. I just went outside (to finish off my morning cup of tea and gather my thoughts). Ideas come flooding into your head of what you could write. You come back inside to start and, an empty head confronts you!

Well I have to start somewhere so lets perhaps start by saying how I (that's me, Ray) would like to see this thing working.

Like those Union people say, "a Union is only as good as its members make it". Well, it's the same for this community. Truth is you are the community. It's all very well posting information up in your profiles, your career details, your email, your interests etc etc. That's dead information really without the human touch, the communication of that information, and it's interaction with other information, with the lives and expereinces of others in the community.

It is you who must make this thing come alive. You who must interact with each other and with us. You who must create an inherent value for yourselves and for the others.

The University is coming alive again. During the summer there was a strange aura about the place; Just buildings and a feeling (just a feeling) of potential, of possibility. It was like the place was waiting. Every now and then you could see groups of younger school children marching about the place. Testing out it's machinery if you like, keeping it just ticking over. And now? The car park is filling up. The students are beginning to return. The PGCE's returned a couple of weeks back. Already there are the moans and groans about the workload! Next week the flood begins in earnest. All those brains, all those ideas. What a place to be! That's why I came to University, to find that community of learning.

But of course it doesn't end there. When you leave you take that learning out into the world with you and apply it. Pitch it against the machinery of working life. Some of you have been doing this for a long time. I wonder if you ever think back to those days back at Hope, or S. Kath's or Notre Dame. Remember how protected you were back then. Remember those dreams you had about the world outside, and of how you were going to launch yourself into it and, perhaps some of you, change it?

What happened to those dreams. How many came true, how many faded away? Not like in the books you read, or the films you watch but in the reality you found, the reality you lived, are still living?

Friday, September 15, 2006

The world of higher education

What a challenge working in higher education has become these days. Keeping open many "windows of opportunity" sits at the centre of the modern university. The skills needed to teach seems to only be a small component of what we are doing these days.

A new term is here and we already have almost 5000 students registered - all done online these days. We even take their fees that way and they get their results ... and so on. Email communication is the norm. The impact of computer technology in making things happen is amazing. That's one of my interests, how we try to integrate the technology so that it appears invisible AND effective.

The modern university has to keep moving forward and here at Hope we are trying to ensure that we provide our students with the highest quality education possible. And that's where the Development Office comes in. So we are here to try to make a difference, by getting support from our friends.

So if you have thought about volunteering your support or helping us, please let us know. We can use all the help we can get. Get in touch with us on

Thursday, September 14, 2006

First Posting

This is the initial posting to the Hope Diary Blog.

Using the Blog
For the time being I have left the comments facility open to all and everyone. I'll see how it goes and if it causes any problems in the longer term; anonymous postings etc etc., I've activated notifications ie. I'll recieve notification of all new comments added to the Blog. To begin with I simply censure and/or delete any unsavoury comments that find their way into the listing. In the longer term if it gets to be a bigger problem I'll narrow down the commenting to Blog Members only.

The Purpose of the Blog
The purpose of this blog is to record the day to day comings and goings of the Liverpool Hope University Alumni Association, centred upon the Development Team staff (at the moment 6 of us, including volunteers) based here on the campus and whom together manage and promote this aspect of university life (well, in truth, post-university life).

Who am I/are we and what do I/we do?
My name is Ray and I'm at the moment working as the Development Team Information Officer, responsible for day-to-day management of the information that flows into the office appertaining to the university's large (and growing) alumni community. I also manage and provide the management reporting we need from the alumni database. We use this database to underpin and inform our endeavours and getting it and keeping it up-to-date can be quite a task in itself.

On top of this I help look after the alumni web pages and the online web community 'friends@hope' (from which you most likely accessed this blog in the first place).

Myself, I graduated this year (well nearly graduated, the event itself isn't till towards the end of October). I've been in the Development team since about the beginning of June, 2006. I'm still learning the ropes but all in all it's really interesting work. Fingers crossed I'll be around for a while yet.

Keeping the information flowing
Well, hopefully this is just the beginning. The blog is working, at least in a basic format and will allow the membership to post up comments and news in addition to that which they already can/do on the friends site. That said, this should be more immediate. I don't want the Blog to overtake the friends site but inevitably we are bound to get some duplication. It doesn't matter that much just so long as we can keep the information network flowing.