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Behind the scenes with Adrian Watt

Hear from colleagues who are taking time to contribute to graduation week, find out about their role and what they enjoy about it. It's a chance to see some of the activity that goes on behind the scenes to help make graduation week a success.


Behind the scenes with...

Dr Adrian Watt
Senior Fellow, WMG
Role at graduation: Member of the Academic Procession

My usual job involves…
I am Module Tutor for the Masters Module: Operations Strategy for Industry (OPSI) which runs 6 times over 2 weeks in the UK for full-time students, once for Part Time, and numerous times abroad. I also supervise Masters Dissertations and I have worked on a number of Executive Modules.

So usually I am either standing in front of a class, or preparing to do so, or fielding questions and offering advice on Post Module Assignments or Dissertations. I also help a lot of students who I am not actually supervising, they see me as approachable, and I have many business contacts who prove useful for advice and interviews and advice! I do enjoy helping where I can, it gives me a great sense of satisfaction.

In advance of graduation week…
I don’t think I do anything special before the graduation - it is just my job to help the students get there.

During graduation week I…
always join the Academic Procession. I sit on the stage and watch them graduate and receive their certificates, then join them and their parents after the ceremony. WMG has a large buffet in the Panorama room, and I am usually the last to leave... I think that my job is mainly to act as a photographic prop - they all want their photos taken!

Graduation is unique because…
every graduation has its own individual story. I will have taught 250 of them in UK, and another 100-150 abroad. I don’t know them all well, but they all remember me and I get to know as many as I can; the ones who are the most interested and come and see me to talk and discuss and ask for help. I do as much as I can, they appreciate it and we get to know each other. Now I have many ex-student friends around the world, many of whom I meet for dinner when I travel to their countries. They often contact me to let me know what they are doing (over 300 wished me Happy Birthday last year!) So it is good to be part of their time at Warwick, celebrate their achievements and stay in contact with them after.

I really enjoy…
being part of their big day, and celebrating their achievement. They have worked hard to get there, I have taught them, seen and helped them through the stress and pressure, and now it is nice to see them with smiles on their faces, with their fellow students and their proud parents. So I love to see them walk onto the stage - they are nervous of walking up but so happy and proud - and see them shake hands with the Chancellor and receive their certificate. I clap so hard my hands are sore at the end!

Then after, the ceremony, to see them, and talk and meet their parents. It is a really joyful occasion after so much effort.

If I could change one thing about graduation…
I would try to make more of the day and the ceremony. I see what happens in Thailand and Hong Kong, just more of group activities as part of the ceremony... photos etc, not just shaking hands and walking off, but turning to the audience, just something to make it just that bit more special - more like the 15 seconds of fame - and yet also more interesting for the audience. I like it when the Chancellor or New Vice-Chancellor encourages the audience to shout and cheer... make a big thing of it!

What would you say to colleagues considering getting involved?
Yes - I would like to see every tutor or lecturer involved, it is a big day for the students, and it is good to be part of it. You have taught them and now it is good to celebrate with them... they really appreciate everything, and it is nice to give then a big send off.

In three words, what invaluable tip or advice would you give graduands?
On the day: Celebrate your achievement
For afterwards: Celebrate your life...

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