During my academic career I shifted sideways towards management and educational design. Many of the programs I (or my school) was involved in, required professional or academic accreditation. I enjoyed the dialogue with regulators and the collaborative approach, hence sought out to continue in that role, albeit from the other side of the table. Meanwhile, the regulated health professions were active in addressing the health gap and at the time were in the process of developing an Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy. It made (and still makes) me feel proud to be part of that.
The Podiatry Accreditation Committee holds four to five meetings annually and Chinese Medicine two to three meetings. Each meeting requires a day solid reading (and thinking). The Program Accreditation Team (PAT) provides great support and prepares a cover-document with options for the more complicated agenda items. As Chair I read all the routine monitoring reports which takes another two to three days total for both committees (annually). The actual assessment reports are comprehensive, and each require an additional day – but these reports are great to read as they truly provide insights into the inner workings of the program and institution.
My background is not in podiatry nor Chinese medicine – other committee members bring the profession expertise to the committee. I have broad experience in leading diverse academic programs (as Head of Department and Head of School). In addition, my experience with regulation (as in ‘being regulated’) helps enormously to understand the education providers’ thinking. As a committee member you need to have an eye for detail, but not at the expense of losing sight of the bigger picture. An open mind is important and, I think, a sense of humour helps too.
I enjoy the discussions during the meetings – everyone on the committee is equal and is respected for the skillset and experience they bring to the committee. The face-to-face meetings great opportunities to chat over lunch. I feel it is a privilege to dig through the innards of an education provider (and accordingly treat that with respect.
The profession (if you are a health professional) and the system (if you are an educationalist) needs you. And, you’ll learn a lot and meet new colleagues.