A day in the life of a study weekend
Returning and Starting University #policestudents @CCCU
What a great idea of Jenny’s to host a blog about the first weekend back………
This is a walkthrough of a study weekend at Canterbury Christ Church University. It felt good returning this academic year. A lot had happened over the summer with the successful College of Policing tender, some new jobs in the School, a fantastic ‘Stress in Policing’ Conference we had held in June and plans for another one, a very healthy number of new first years and a number of contacts from Twitter joining the programme! A good year ahead we think….plus the first study weekend is always pleasing as we meet new people and see previous students returning having successfully completed another year – and in some cases programme!
The first study weekend of this academic year was on the 9th and 10th September. This was for all of our programmes for serving police officers and police staff. The study weekends are notoriously busy, intense and very, very social, and the first one of this year was no exception. Indeed anyone who comes to CCCU for a study weekend (student or guests) reports very positively about the social and academic aspect. These students do not get together often and this time is important for support and shared learning. This year the School of Law, Criminal Justice and Computing’s Policing Team also were hosting an exchange visit of police officers / staff from police organisations from Australia and the MSc group from the Netherlands. Therefore, along with it being the first day of the year for our students, it was also the last day of a week-long visit for our exchange visitors. It was a busy and clearly must have been an important week considering the Head of School had purchased a new wardrobe for the occasion. This is not common!
Date: Friday 9th September 2016 Time: 1400
Our new starters enrolled on this year’s BSc (Hons) in Policing (in-service) and the MSc by Research students were welcomed at the introduction session. Finally, after a summer of waiting to start, these students were facing day one of their new adventure. As such, the room was full of anticipation, excitement, humour and a hint of nervousness. Indeed, for some it is the first time in many years since they did any studying, let alone at university level – this is daunting. For other students, they were facing their own personal challenge, these may relate back to decisions they made when they left school and reasons why they joined the police force initially.
As members of staff, we often talk about how the students on the CCCU in service programmes are unique and amongst other factors, the self-motivation and commitment involved in taking on a degree alongside a full time job is incredibly commendable. Not least because for many this really is a very personal journal. Their commitment to studying for the degree reflects strongly in their approach to study. The students we teach are studying because they want to, because they have come to the decision themselves. They are not following the traditional lines of education and this in itself goes a very long way.
The large group of about 55 students went off to our library (Augustine House) to complete the registration process and get shown around the library – they were told we would reconvene at 1730 for the evening lecture.
Meanwhile in ‘Touchdown’, (the regular CCCU coffee shop of choice for these guys) crowds of year 2 & year 3 students were congregating after a long break from their studies exchanging updates from the summer months. Year two and three were joined together for their first session of the weekend which was delivered by the CCCU academic learning support team, and then went their separate ways. Year 2 were introduced to International Policing, where throughout the remainder of the weekend they received sessions on globalisation, transnational crime and cybercrime sparking some meaningful contemporary conversations about capacity and meeting demand at a transnational level. At the same time in the lecture room next door, the future ‘Class of 2017’ started their dissertation journey! Again, nervousness overcame the room (this is the piece of work our students dread from enrolment on the course (apparently)). If this is true, what a credit to them for sticking with it and facing their main challenge. I cannot begin to tell you about some of the incredible papers delivered by our students over the years. Jenny started the session by circulating a Graduation Programme and asking them to visualise themselves walking down the aisle with a Graduation Certificate in Canterbury Cathedral. First things first, a positive mental attitude is necessary! In addition, this day is special, meaningful and is the outcome of the journey we describe above.
Date: Friday 9th September Date: 1730
The next stop was the main lecture theatre on campus for the Friday evening lecture – it was bursting full of students and visitors. Emma Williams gave an update to the students about what the Policing Team had been doing over the summer months: the conference we hosted in June about Police Welfare; the launch of Canterbury Police Research Unit run by Steve Tong and Emma Williams; new work the team are involved in with the College of Policing in relation to police education; and the changes to the programmes. She handed over to Dr Tom Cockcroft from Leeds Beckett University who gave a thought provoking a very well received lecture in relation to police culture. He focused his discussion by unpicking the term ‘culture’, considering a need to perhaps revisit its meaning and most importantly use the practitioners to conduct this analysis. He presented an argument that suggested that in order to better understand police work and the culture that exists in police organisations, academics should recognise how policing has changed over time and formulate a more contemporary understanding of what police culture consists of now and how this relates to police work.
Date: Friday 9th September Time: 1915
As is tradition, we all moved over for drinks at the Student Union for an excellent catch up with the students and staff. Even Steve Tong stayed over in Canterbury for this evening. The bar was buzzing – new friendships were being made and there was lots of laughter. These friendships are critical for a course such as this. The support that police students give each other is outstanding and again something we have not seen in another academic environment. Maybe it is something to do with the ‘police family’.
Date: Friday 9th September…in fact Saturday 10th September…Time TBC!
After a meal for some, a hard-core group ended up at The Pound Bar (a new bar in Canterbury, ironically the City’s former gaol and police station). I know when we left there were a number of students (new and old) remaining and it was clear which ones they were the next morning. All had a great night!
Date: Saturday 10th September 2016 Time: 1000
Everyone congregated in Touchdown for a dose of caffeine before the day ahead and despite some foggy heads, all of the lectures were well attended and were successful. Having spoken to some of the students over coffee some of the nervousness had thawed and there was a sense of excitement for the day and the year(s) ahead.
We love the study weekends and we wish all of our students at CCCU the very best for the year ahead – from all of the staff from the Policing Team at CCCU!
Jenny and Emma