Marcus Parry, Head of the Academic Unit of Medical Education, shares what’s been happening in his week.


Monday morning saw me with several colleagues from Medical Education watching BM5 students presenting their work to date on their undergraduate Research Projects. One key change in the new curriculum is that these projects now take place at the beginning of Year 3, with the Research Conference held in the first week of January. From then on it’s pretty much non-stop teaching and clinical placements until Finals in the January of Year 5.

The students did their supervisors proud and we were treated to a mix of topics from the problem of stress in medical students to an investigation into a potential new quadriceps muscle via the ethical issues involved with consent procedures in lower and middle income countries. There was also a comparative study into the differences between learning anatomy using prosection and dissection, and a look at whether the teaching of visual arts in the medical humanities might affect students’ learning in clinical placements. All fascinating stuff.


Tuesday was a ‘Keep Free’ day – a rare occurrence (and not totally successful I have to admit) – the idea being to set aside time to concentrate on a particular task. Today it was to read through applications from and provide citations for members of Education, Research and Enterprise (ERE) staff applying for in-level transfers or promotion to Levels 5 and 6.

The University sets great store by its expectation that promotions are carried out according to its Equal Opportunities Policy and strives to ensure that fairness and equality lies at the heart of the process. It was great to see a number of applications this year and I wish them all well.


Wednesday started with Professor Karen Morrison leading a Senior Academic Staff meeting on some of the challenges facing the University. The push on Quality, with a minimum requirement of BBB at A level across the University, may see overall student numbers fall slightly, although the Bachelor of Medicine programmes are one of the few areas looking to increase numbers following the recent announcement to train an extra 1500 doctors a year from 2018. Despite Medicine’s recent rise to 9th in the Guardian League table we still have work to do, particularly on our NSS scores, and although we are generally above average in these, Karen feels strongly that ‘good enough isn’t good enough’.

Back to Highfield in the afternoon where I attended a meeting of the Leadership and Management Working Group and discussed progress on a new suite of staff development modules underpinned by our Southampton Behaviours. The next phase is to align the Leadership and Management Framework with the University’s 10 Year Plan.


Thursday began with a Faculty Leadership Team meeting and was followed by time with one of our colleagues from the Kassel School of Medicine, our German partners in the delivery of the European Bachelor of Medicine programme. BM(EU) students spend the first two years studying in Southampton alongside BM5 students after which they transfer to Kassel in central Germany for Years 3, 4 and 5. Having been involved in the first discussions about the programme back in 2009 and acted as project manager since the formal go-ahead in 2011, it was very satisfying (not to say a huge relief) to see our first cohort of students successfully progress into Year 4 over the summer. They are currently undertaking their Neurology specialty week in the main hospital, Klinikum Kassel.


Friday stretched before me like a blank canvas promising time at last to work through the build-up of emails and outstanding action points from my various meetings this week. Not entirely blank, as I have a Skype meeting with one of my BM(EU) tutees at 4pm, but it will be really good to catch up with her and hear directly how things are going in Kassel. It’s nice to have started and ended the week with our students. After all, without them, none of us would be here.

Marcus Parry

Marcus Parry’s week

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