Here's the latest news from AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation.
AMOSSHE is excited to announce four of our keynote speakers at Shaping Futures, the AMOSSHE national conference 2018!
Shaping Futures opens on Wednesday 4 July with an inspiring keynote address from David Grevemberg CBE (Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth Games Federation), the organisation responsible for the Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Youth Games and many other initiatives that inspire Commonwealth athletes to drive the ambition and power of all Commonwealth citizens through sport.
David will focus on leadership perspectives, drawing upon real world examples from major projects in the world of sport and human rights that mirror the responsibilities, challenges and opportunities facing higher education providers in the pursuit of a world class student experience and student success.
Then on day two (Thursday 5 July), three exceptional women leaders in UK higher education will join us in a unique panel discussion. Shakira Martin (President, National Union of Students), Nicola Dandridge CBE (CEO, Office for Students) and Professor Dame Janet Beer (President, Universities UK) will take the stage together to discuss how students, universities, and the independent sector regulator are shaping the future of the student experience.
Shakira Martin broke the cycle of deprivation through study at Lewisham and Southwark College, and developed her voice to become the second NUS President in 95 years to have not attended a higher education institution. Shakira is committed to taking away barriers to education and giving students a voice.
Nicola Dandridge CBE is the first Chief Executive Officer of the new Office for Students, the independent regulator of higher education in England. In 2015 Nicola was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for services to higher education.
Professor Dame Janet Beer is President of Universities UK, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, and a Trustee of the British Council. In 2018 Janet was awarded a Damehood for her services to higher education and equality and diversity.
Shaping Futures takes place in Liverpool from 4 to 6 July 2018. As well as inspiring keynote speakers, the conference also features a rich programme of workshops and presentations. There’s a world of new ideas, good practice, and thought-provoking topics to explore, including changing the higher education culture, creating positive learning and living environments, interventions to enable student success, and levelling barriers to student achievement.
Find out more about the Shaping Futures programme, and book your place before 23 May!
AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation, which represents Student Services leaders in higher education, welcomes the publication of the NUS (National Union of Students) report Taking the hit: student drug use and how institutions respond. This is a valuable insight into student attitudes towards drugs, and how education providers across the UK respond in terms of policy. Student well-being is a key concern for Student Services, both in terms of fostering an engaging, supportive academic culture, and helping students who encounter barriers to academic success. Therefore Student Services take drug use very seriously when this use becomes a problem for students. Student Services work together with students and statutory agencies to understand the issues and ensure that support interventions are in place.
AMOSSHE members have services available to support and assist students (directly or in conjunction with community / health practices) to offer both proactive and ‘safety net’ support. Signposting students to their education provider’s support services in the first instance enables Student Services professionals to take into account a range of circumstances that may impact on a student’s situation, and identify ways to help the student in a holistic manner, rather than focus on one issue alone. Many Student Services professionals work closely with external partners, charities and community organisations that specialise in support for mental health challenges and drugs and alcohol abuse, and can make referrals for students to these services where appropriate.
Student Services often have responsibility for student behavioural conduct and discipline procedures, and recognise the importance of implementing these in a proportionate way, with the aim of enabling the student concerned to succeed in their studies, but also ensuring that other students are not adversely impacted by one student’s conduct.
AMOSSHE welcomes the report recommendations that call for education providers to offer a range of appropriate support to students, particularly harm reduction advice, and signposting to external support sources. The report highlights how important it is for AMOSSHE members to ensure that students wanting to come forward and discuss the impact of drug use with Student Services feel confident to do so, and can be certain of receiving appropriate support. AMOSSHE members are often leading on, or contributing to, the review of policies and procedures (including conduct / disciplinary, fitness to study / practise) to ensure that they are consistent and effective, but are flexible enough to take into account an individual student’s situation. The NUS report highlights why it is crucial that staff involved in supporting students are consulted when reviewing policy and practice to ensure a holistic view of the student.
Shaping Futures is the AMOSSHE national conference 2018, exploring future directions for Student Services in higher education: how we can enable student success by being proactive, collaborative, and far-sighted.
The conference features 27 workshop and presentation sessions led by AMOSSHE members and sector organisations, plus keynote speakers, networking groups and social activities. It all takes place in Liverpool from 4 to 6 July 2018.
We’re delighted to announce that Professor Dame Janet Beer is a confirmed keynote speaker for Shaping Futures. Janet is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, President of Universities UK, a Trustee of the British Council, a member of the Research Excellence Framework Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel, and a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. In 2018 Janet was awarded a Damehood for her services to higher education and equality and diversity.
It's worth making the investment to attend Shaping Futures: we've frozen delegate rates from last year, and there are discounts for AMOSSHE members and organisational colleagues. Plus, if you're planning to attend as a residential delegate, you can secure a discounted early bird rate if you register by 23 April!
Find out more and book your place here: Shaping Futures.
Here's the AMOSSHE quarterly bulletin for winter 2018: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 8 MB).
On the day of the spring equinox, this is a roundup of AMOSSHE’s work during the winter. Find out all about our Resilience Toolkit, a free open resource for UK Student Services to help develop resilience initiatives for higher education students and staff. As well as this, you can now access the research and resources from two Student Services projects supported by AMOSSHE Insight: The University of Edinburgh’s research about enhancing students’ career resilience, and the University of the Highlands and Islands’ digital tools for staff to support students’ mental health.
AMOSSHE has also been busy delivering continuing professional development for the sector: find out about the events we hosted this winter, and also a range of upcoming events, including our national conference 2018.
Earlier this month, adverse snowy weather in Glasgow forced us to cancel our continuing professional development event “My” Student Services: making services accessible for all students. The good news is that we’ve now re-scheduled the event: it will take place on Friday 4 May 2018 in Glasgow.
This one day event explores how Student Services can more effectively engage students from different racial, cultural and minority groups, so that these students feel comfortable and included when accessing services. Most of the programme will be the same as we originally planned, but some sessions will be different because the speakers aren’t available on the new date. The event will take place in central Glasgow, and we’ll publish details of the venue shortly.
Find out more and book your place here: “My” Student Services.
AMOSSHE is hosting a continuing professional development day for senior Student Services managers to help you develop key skills to enhance your influence and impact. Join us to take a fresh look at how to improve areas of expertise that are essential to your role, and consider new perspectives to develop the skills you rely on.
The event explores three essential skills areas:
This event is designed for experienced Student Services leaders, including directors of Student Services overall, and heads of service. Take the opportunity to review and refresh your skills, and build your expertise for taking on new remits.
Influence and impact: essential skills for Student Services leaders takes place on 20 April 2018 in Birmingham.
Find out more and book your place here: Influence and impact.
Unfortunately AMOSSHE has taken the decision to cancel our continuing professional development event “My” Student Services, which was due to take place this Friday, 2 March 2018, in Glasgow.
There are currently red weather warnings for the Glasgow area, and the Met Office is not expecting the weather to improve substantially before the weekend. A red weather warning means that extreme weather is expected, and the Met Office advises taking action now to keep yourself and others safe from the impact of the weather.
In light of this, our team has cancelled the event with due concern for disruption to delegates’ and speakers' journeys both to and from Glasgow.
Our current plan is to try to reschedule the event for another date (to be decided). If you were booked to attend on 2 March, and are able to attend on the new date, we’ll make sure that you have a place. However, if you can’t attend the rescheduled event, AMOSSHE will reimburse your delegate fee.
Our sincere apologies for having to cancel at late notice for reasons outside of our control.
If you have any questions, please contact the AMOSSHE National Office team at email@example.com.
Today AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation launches the resilience toolkit: an open, online resource bank of research, case studies and practical tools to help Student Services professionals in higher education develop student resilience to stress, anxiety and similar barriers to achievement and success.
The toolkit advocates a positive and proactive approach to student resilience, focusing on what higher education providers can do to develop supportive, enabling cultures for students by making improvements to their physical and social environment.
The project was made possible by funding from Unite Students, the UK’s largest manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation, who are driven to provide a ‘Home For Success’ for almost 50,000 students across the UK. It builds on the theoretical model published in their Student Resilience: Exploring the positive case for resilience report (May 2017), which explores the positive case for resilience.
The resilience toolkit is a practical and educational resource, drawing on publicly available materials from around the world, to help Student Services professionals develop new strategies and approaches underpinned by research, and to learn from others’ experiences.
The resources are grouped into three key approaches to developing student resilience, which arose from the research into student resilience by Unite Students:
You can find the resources you want by exploring one of these approaches, or by searching for key words to identify the type of resource (for example, case study, research report, intervention tool, learning material), or subject (for example, mental health, careers, accommodation).
AMOSSHE and Unite Students acknowledge that the concept of resilience is a hotly contested one, at least in the way it applies to students studying in higher education, and must be treated with caution. Our stance is that the term must not, in any way, be used to label students or place abject judgements or limitations on their abilities. Rather, our exploration of resilience relates more closely to the environment we provide for our students, both social and physical, and how that supports students to achieve their potential.
So the toolkit advocates a positive, proactive approach to resilience, rather than a deficit model. Higher education providers can do a great deal to develop a supportive and enabling culture for their students, by making improvements to their physical and social environment. The toolkit is designed to assist and enable that aim.
The project dovetails with Universities UK’s #stepchange strategy to adopt mental health as a strategic priority in higher education, and reflects a whole-university approach, in that the toolkit features resources to support staff and student resilience alike.
The resilience toolkit is designed to be a living resource bank that grows as more resources become available. As the number of resources increases, areas of professional expertise will develop too (for example, resilience in careers, building resilience in accommodation). AMOSSHE will continue to add resources to the toolkit from across the UK and international student support sectors - you can subscribe to get an update every time we add something new.
Do you have a practical tool, research, or a case study to contribute? If so, please get in touch on by clicking ‘contribute’ at the top of the toolkit. And please leave your comments, and share what you find with colleagues across the sector.
Find out more about the toolkit, check out the resources, and contribute to the project, here: resiliencetoolkit.org.uk.
How can Student Services more effectively engage students from different racial, cultural and minority groups, so that these students feel comfortable and included when accessing services?
AMOSSHE is hosting a continuing professional development day to tackle this question: "My" Student Services: making services accessible for all students takes place on 2 March 2018 at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.
Consider how to design your services to account for competing equalities priorities, and how to recognise and correct unconscious biases that impact your initiatives and staff attitudes. Workshop leaders at the event include:
Find out more and book your place here: "My" Student Services.
In 2016/17 AMOSSHE supported a project undertaken by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) to develop digital tools for staff to help support students' mental health. This was part of the AMOSSHE Insight project funding programme.
The UHI project is now complete, and its main outcome is an online toolkit for all higher education staff to help them identify and support students who may be experiencing mental health challenges. The toolkit includes resources aimed at staff who teach and/or work with distance learning students, whose interactions chiefly occur online. The UHI project team has also written a report about how they developed the toolkit, its research background, and recommendations for the sector.
Each year AMOSSHE commissions a range of small projects from member organisations as part of AMOSSHE Insight. AMOSSHE is committed to a research agenda led by our members' priorities, to support professional development and broaden the evidence base for Student Services in the UK. AMOSSHE supports members' project work in order to share innovative research, expertise and best practice across the Student Services sector, and enable continuing development and improvement. This is the purpose and goal of AMOSSHE Insight: to develop and share insights for the benefit of all members.
Find out more about the UHI project and access the resources here: AMOSSHE Insight: digital tools to support students’ mental health.
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AMOSSHE members can find even more news, plus sector and policy updates