Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who'd A Thunk It?

David Wilson Library Q. What do you call a person who constantly bangs on about drinking coffee?

A. Prescient.

An overbearing "email culture" and a shortage of coffee rooms and areas where people can meet and chat hinder internal communications in universities. These are the findings of a sector-wide research project led by the University of Leicester, which also suggests that the views of vice-chancellors on internal communications strategies are often far removed from those of the people employed to oversee those strategies.

The study is based on a survey of 58 university leaders, 86 directors of communications and 75 directors of human resources. It found significant disparities between the views of different groups. Neither group felt there was enough social space to encourage interaction between staff, and about half said internal communications were under-resourced.

The University of Leicester just spent £32 million David Wilson Library, completed in April this year. The 15,000 sq metre Library includes a range of study spaces for 1500 readers, a million books supplemented by extensive digital databases and journals, and 350 PCs, along with a 500 seat lecture theatre, a bookshop and a cafe.

Whoah, hold up there - that's not just a cafe, that's the DWL cafe, better known as Small Worlds HQ. We've planned three grant applications in there in the last six months, and there's a serious case to be made that without the cafe, it might not have happened.

So next time, cut him some slack ;-)