In the first of the series of tour reflections, I will look at what is like to participate and why you should consider joining the next one...
As I lead the Poland tour and was fortunate to be able to join in with this one, I would like to look at what it is like from a tour leader and participant viewpoint.
First of all, thanks to Els for doing such an excellent job as tour coordinator. I know how exhasuting it was leading Poland and she lined up a series of outstanding visits.
So what's involved in coordinating/leading the tour? First you need to get a team together from the AUA membership and invite applications. Once you have a team then you decide themes as a group. Though the team may have contacts (and will help) the coordinator will need to set up an iternary of visits, book hotels (as needed) and arrange/plan in-country logistics (usually this means trains and knowing how to get from hotels to HEIs).
There is a lot of materials availabe from past coordinators who are hapy to pass it on (and give advice).
Writing up is hard work, but rewarding. On the Poland tour I was fortunate that the team were excellent note takers. So I able to integrate their detailed notes into a narrative for the report. That said, the AUA does also provide help with production, etc. Of course the team is responsible for the content and analysis.
We are getting started on the Netherlands/Belgium report. I sure it will be every bit as good.
On the other hand, being a participant is still hard work. Apart from the personal logistics, you will take part in the discussions, and of course take notes, engage with research into the themes and contribute to parts of the final report.
You will gain experience of dealing with professionals from different HE systems. You will make contacts. There is in every visit a 'jaw drop' moment when you find something utterly surprising. If you have not written public reports before, then you will learn a lot during the writing process.
Both roles will provide gains for both you and your employer no matter what stage of your career you are at. So if you really want your preconceptions challenged, meet some really great HE professionals and learn more than you could ever expect in a week - join or lead a AUA study tour.
Just wait for the next call. Or even contact the AUA to volunteer your ideas and services?