Some Advice on Establishing and Developing a Discipline Network
Identify Key Individuals Who May be Interested in Becoming Actively Involved
Build up a core group initially and involve them in the establishment and organisation of network activities. Experience suggests a group of five or six institutions of varying types is a good number to begin with, though in some cases fewer may be appropriate to start the process moving forward. Membership can be expanded after the programme is fully established.
Agree the Objectives for the Network
Establish objectives and any ground rules as soon as possible and develop a plan of the first year’s programme with clear division of responsibilities (especially for convening meetings and preparing publicity).
The Higher Education Academy can offer networks funding for certain activities. This can be used to cover costs such as travel, publicity and workshop facilitators.
Take Time Considerations into Account
Start with an issue that seems important and of practical benefit to everyone. Staff development workshops, for example, are widely beneficial but do not require much in the way of resources. Later you may wish to mix discussion of teaching and learning issues with issues of topical concern to the discipline, such as benchmarking or subject review or research and teaching.
Ensure that Events are Well-publicised
You may want to establish a database of historians in all participating institutions, and the Subject Centre can provide a list of these, or advertise on the Higher Education Academy website if you would like to draw in a wider audience. Writing a short report of events or minutes of meetings, and circulating these to all in participating departments can be helpful in widening involvement.
Establish Links with Other Networks
There is no point in reinventing the wheel. Ask for advice and to exchange ideas for your programme.
Report on Your Activities and Findings
You may wish to present at the Annual Conference for Teaching and Learning in History or submit a briefing report to the Higher Education Academy or a History Organisation.