The Oxford Adaptation Academy 2014; a unique experience!

The Oxford Adaptation Academy 2014; a unique experience!

If I could describe the Oxford Adaptation Academy in one word; Unique!

The 2014 Oxford Adaptation Academy was my second Academy. In 2013 I worked for GCAP in a logistical capacity to help organise the course, however I only had a peripheral role during the Academy. This year, I was a course participant.

I largely knew what to expect going in to the course (well, it does help if you are part of the team organising it!). Having said this, I was still surprised to experience the unique teaching style that the course offers, and intentionally plans.

I had somewhat expected something similar to my undergraduate degree (I guess it's the only formal course I could relate to), but the sessions were not lecture based, or just telling a pre-chosen curriculum. Each session was very much focused on how you, as a participant, approach adaptation; GCAP achieve this through various group activities, open discussions, one-to-one mentoring and none more so than through participant projects.

The projects varied from current projects that participants were working on in their professional role to a theoretical idea or question; my project was the latter, namely 'Involving climate adaptation in a start-up business'. The projects brought together all aspects of the broad programme for me to apply in a work related environment. It highlighted how different aspects of adaptation could be brought together and used effectively; something that wasn't quite evident during each session but became very clear. It also gave me time to work with individual facilitators in a manner focused to my work and interests. It was also obvious to me that those participants that came with projects from their current working role left the course with direct benefits to their organisation.

Although the three week programme was designed well in advance, the content was tailored to each participant's interests and experience. However, not all the answers are given, the course is structured to be a two-way learning process requiring deep thinking and reflection, meaning every participant (and facilitator) left Oxford feeling enriched. The chart shows the overall satisfaction scores by the participants—the average was nearly 4.9 out of 5!

Each year, the course brings together a small group of internationally diverse, like-minded and motivated participants, and this year was no different. Over the three weeks, the course gave everyone a chance to interact, share knowledge and enjoy Oxford. This is helped by GCAP organising numerous evening activities: dinners, a BBQ networking event and adaptive games, creating an enjoyable and close-knit group to work with. I am confident that those involved in this years course will remain an active network in the future.

From the two years I have been involved with the Adaptation Academy, I can see that the course is improving year on year. I am now involved with GCAP to organise the 2015 Academy, and I will be involved in the marketing and recruting side of things; now entering its sixth year, we have ambitions to double the number of participants. I am really looking forward to being a part of the Academy for another year and being around another exciting and ambitious group of participants.

Jeremy Talbot

30th October 2014

Blog Image: Feedback scoring chart showing the overall course satisfaction was nearly 4.9 out of 5.

Oxford Adaptation Academy 2014
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