What is an enabler?
Enablers in this context are those people who might not be employed in an academic position within a tertiary education and research institution, but still play a major role in making the core business of an academic institution happen. Enablers can include staff in:
- research support office
- teaching and learning technology groups
- electronic services
- human resources
- and more…
Why should we talk about enablers?
Very often the impact of work done by people in support positions is not communicated properly.
For example: No research into cures for cancer, or solutions for world hunger, poverty, and global warming would be possible without internet access for our researchers.
By putting a little bit more emphasis on the impact of providing proper internet at a university, might lead to higher levels of motivation and inspiration amongst IT networking staff. By sharing more information about the types of work that are being enabled through connectivity, these folks might take more ownership of the research outputs from their institutions.
Not only could this lead to a more positive working environment and attitudes amongst support staff, but it may also lead to better relationships between support staff (enablers) and academics. By emphasising the role that support staff play to enable research, academics may find better ways to collaborate with support staff to enhance their research.
What did RCCPII do to enable Enablers?
We were hoping to run various dedicated sessions in 2018 to assist with building bridges between academics and support staff as well as empowering enablers by sharing insights into the changing landscapes or research and teaching and learning. We look forward to hearing your suggestions and feedback.
We realised quickly that our other workshops and online sessions were always a mix of academics, students and support staff which already helped a lot with our aim of helping to build bridges.
Unfortunately it was not possible to develop dedicated curricula to help build capacity amongst enablers, but various conversations were started and will continue beyond the scope of RCCPII, including, for example, conversations within the Blended Learning SIG and the Carpentries instructor and learner communities.