SELA recently celebrated its official launch with an event held in the Pam Liversidge building. Although the SELA cohort have been hard at work together for a good couple of months already, the opportunity was taken to introduce the cohort, the SELA board, and the motivations and purpose of SELA to a wider group of people from across the university.
As the cohort arrived the smart casual dress code afforded the room an air of sophistication usually uncharacteristic of university students; many of us were nervous to introduce SELA, a concept that had already become a much-loved part of our weekly schedule, to a wider audience with varying degrees of knowledge about the programme. However the tone was positive and relaxed as our guests started to arrive and began to chat with the cohort. The guests included the staff and heads of various engineering departments, and other university departments which have been supporting SELA’s development.
Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Mike Hounslow kicked off the official proceedings with a speech highlighting the growing need for leadership skills in undergraduate engineering education.
He then passed over to Neil Hopkinson, SELA director, who presented an interesting talk about the history of SELA, from its initial conception as a manufacturing leadership academy, through the administrative processes involved in getting it off the ground, all the way up to where it stands today.
After Neil’s speech the room was afforded a glimpse into SELA from the perspective of two members of the cohort: James and Saheela. They spoke about their opinion on what makes SELA a positive and enriching experience for undergraduate engineers. James mentioning the positives of SELA’s diversity and Saheela highlighting how SELA will help to strengthen relationships between the university and industry.
And so ended the official proceedings of the event. The cohort and guests stayed for a while after the speeches, making connections and talking about their enthusiasm for what they had heard. As the food was finished off and the room began to empty it gave us a chance to reflect on the event. Overall it had been a great success, we had been given the opportunity to talk to academic staff in an environment that would have been otherwise unavailable to us and introduce them to our exciting project and our great team. The guests seemed to leave with the same enthusiasm for SELA that we hold ourselves and many valuable connections had been made.
So that was it, the countdown was over, SELA was launched and the only way now is up.