Here's the latest news from AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation.
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.
Join AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation next month to explore how to develop engaging, supportive residential environments for students that encourage a sense of belonging and contribute to student success.
Building belonging: the role and impact of residences on student success takes place on 9 February 2018 in Bristol.
The conference features a keynote address by Professor Liz Thomas about student belonging in higher education, plus a full day of sessions focusing on three key perspectives:
Find more detail about the programme and book your place here: Building belonging.
Today Jayne Aldridge (Director - Services for Students, Kingston University) takes the role of Chair on the AMOSSHE Executive Committee, in place of Ben Bailey (Director of Student Services, University of Birmingham).
Ben has stepped down from the role in order to lead the establishment of the professional services community for the University of Birmingham's new overseas campus in Dubai. Jayne was previously AMOSSHE’s Vice Chair (Operations), and nominated for the role of Chair in 2016. Jayne will now occupy this key position until the end of the 2017/18 academic year.
Executive Member Nicole Redman (Director of Student Support, University of East London) replaces Jayne as Vice Chair (Operations) until September 2018. Nicole has many years’ experience of the Vice Chair (Operations) role, having only recently stepped down from the position.
To take the Executive Member vacancy left by Nicole, the Executive Committee has invited Rotimi Akinsete (Director of Wellbeing, University of Surrey) to join the AMOSSHE leadership team for the remainder of 2017/18. Rotimi nominated to join the Executive in June, and AMOSSHE is delighted to be able to welcome him on board.
Many thanks to Ben Bailey for all his hard work as AMOSSHE Chair, and for his commitment and dedication to AMOSSHE for many years. The AMOSSHE Executive and National Office teams wish him all the best for his exciting undertakings in Dubai!
In his farewell message to AMOSSHE members, Ben said:
“AMOSSHE has been an incredibly important part of my life in higher education in the UK, and is a community of people that have been a source of strength and inspiration in equal measure. I have met amazing people and have never ceased to be impressed by the dedication and professionalism that our members bring to their work day in and day out, often in very challenging circumstances. The passion that you show for seeking better outcomes for students and your colleagues is tremendous. I wish you all well and I will watch with immense interest and pride the continued development of AMOSSHE.”
Find out more about the AMOSSHE Executive Committee.
Building belonging: the role and impact of residences on student success is the theme of the AMOSSHE winter conference 2018. This one day event explores how Student Services and colleagues can develop engaging, supportive residential environments that encourage a sense of belonging and contribute to student success.
AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation hosts a winter conference each year, which attracts over a hundred delegates from all over the UK, to share expertise on a specific theme related to the work of Student Services in higher education. Building belonging is an opportunity to build your expertise through three key perspectives, focusing on students who live in university accommodation:
The conference takes place on 9 February 2018 in Bristol. Booking will open soon, but please save the date in the meantime! Watch this space: Building belonging.
We're trying something new at the 2018 winter conference. We want to create a space for you to showcase your good practice, innovative ideas, and success stories. You can take part by presenting a poster that summarises your work and achievements.
We want your proposals for posters that give an insight into how you've developed engaging, supportive residential environments that foster student success in higher education. The deadline to submit a poster proposal is 17:00 on Thursday 14 December 2017.
Find out more here: Winter conference 2018: call for posters.
Here's the AMOSSHE quarterly bulletin for autumn 2017: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 4 MB).
If you’re a professional dedicated to student success in higher education, you can benefit from the network and resources of the AMOSSHE community. In this bulletin, find out about our new membership categories, which AMOSSHE has developed to reflect changes in the evolving UK higher education sector. These categories enable more people to join us and contribute to student success through Student Services.
Also in this bulletin, find out about our plans for the 2017/18 academic year, which include the development of a student resilience toolkit, project funding, continuing professional development events, and more.
As well as this, meet the AMOSSHE Executive team members who were elected earlier in the summer to lead our professional association for the next two years.
What does an inclusive higher education provider look and feel like today? What will it be in the future? How do you achieve a truly inclusive student experience?
AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation, in collaboration with De Montfort University, is hosting a continuing professional development day to consider these questions, with a specific focus on the experience of disabled students.
‘Universal design for learning' takes place on 8 December 2017 at the Holiday Inn Royal Victoria, Sheffield.
The Disability Enhancement Programme at De Montfort University, which heavily informed the Department for Education guidance Inclusive teaching and learning in higher education as a route to excellence, outlines how one institution is achieving student inclusivity, for example through the application of a Universal Design for Learning framework. Using this programme as a focused case study, you’ll be invited to work collaboratively to develop specific models of what constitutes an inclusive institution for today and the future.
This event is for Student Services professionals and academics leading work in Universal Design for Learning or inclusive practice. The day will be most beneficial if you encourage your academic and/or professional colleagues to attend, so that you can engage collaboratively.
Find out more and book your place here: Universal design for learning.
Here's the AMOSSHE quarterly bulletin for summer 2017: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 7.1 MB).
This bulletin features a roundup of our summer conference, with photos of our successful event in Brighton. Also, find out about the new Student Services projects that AMOSSHE is funding in collaboration with Unite Students to explore how to develop student resilience in accommodation settings.
Are you interested in joining AMOSSHE to make the most of our supportive network and resources and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the student success sector? If so, find out about our new 2017/18 membership categories: we’re broadening the opportunities for people to join our network and contribute to good practice in this rapidly evolving sector.
Every year six roles become available on the AMOSSHE Executive Committee, and members have the opportunity to nominate themselves to join the team. In 2017 roles became available to serve from 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2019.
Five members nominated themselves for the four available Executive Member roles, which meant that the final candidates were chosen by a membership ballot. There was no competition for the available Vice Chair (Operations) and Vice Chair (Professional Development) roles, so these appointments didn't require a membership vote.
At the 2017 AMOSSHE annual general meeting in Brighton on 6 July, Fay Sherrington (Vice Chair) announced the names of the people who were elected:
Congratulations and welcome to all the new Executive members!
Many thanks to Sam Dale (Deputy Academic Registrar, Durham University) and Christine Lowther (Director of Student Services, University of Glasgow), who leave the Executive Committee at the end of August.
Here are the nomination statements from everyone who joins the AMOSSHE Executive for the 2017-19 term of office. These are a personal statements about their intentions and why they're right for the role.
Jayne Aldridge (Director - Services for Students, Kingston University) takes the role of Vice Chair (Operations). Here’s Jayne’s nomination statement:
Having recently served on the Executive Committee I know how important a strong representative body is to the daily work of Student Services professionals. As part of a membership-led organisation I am committed to consulting with and listening to the views of members, to represent and help shape AMOSSHE’s priorities to ensure our organisation remains relevant to the day-to-day challenges that we face.
Given the ever more complex and challenging policy environment within higher education, and most specifically for those of us empowering and championing students and staff to reach their full potential, I think my expertise and knowledge of the sector can continue to be of use to AMOSSHE. I have previously chaired NASMA (National Association of Student Money Advisers), worked for the Department of Education on student support policy, and led Student Services in three universities from different mission groups.
I fully support the AMOSSHE Executive values and I am committed to ensuring that our practice and ways of working reflect and uphold our principles, without exception. Whilst on the Executive I have been involved with the AMOSSHE Insights research projects, led on specific policy areas and co-convened the 2017 winter conference.
I will work to ensure that AMOSSHE continues to offer exciting opportunities to Student Services professionals and remains relevant to everyone who is part of this vital organisation.
Nic Streatfield (Head of Student Services, York St John University) takes the role of Vice Chair (Professional Development). Here’s Nic’s nomination statement:
I have been on the AMOSSHE Executive since 2015 and have contributed to the continuing development of AMOSSHE’s influence in the higher education sector. I have worked on the website re-development, led on the benchmarking survey, represented AMOSSHE at various national meetings and committees and presented on behalf of AMOSSHE. I was fortunate to take part in the NASPA knowledge exchange to Colorado and co-wrote the report from that trip and disseminated the findings to members.
I am currently Head of Student Services at York St John University where I manage a broad range of teams. My background is as a psychotherapist (I am a trained Cognitive Analytical Therapist) and I have worked at six UK higher education providers. I also have experience of private sector work, having previously been Operations Director for CORE Information Management Systems, implementing software to measure therapeutic outcomes. I was a board member and trustee at Mental Wealth UK, and merged this student-led charity with another to form Student Minds. I am also a trained coach working on the Yorkshire Accord coaching programme. In a different context, I am a qualified football coach and manage a girls under-12s football team, which can bring its own challenges!
Training and developing people is a theme that has run through my work and I would like to use these skills and experience to continue to ensure that AMOSSHE members can take part in relevant, stimulating continuing professional development. I believe I have demonstrated strong organisational skills, strategic vision and collaborative working in my leadership roles, and I take a very collaborative approach to leadership. I have already established a strong working relationship with AMOSSHE’s excellent National Office staff, and have experience in running AMOSSHE development events (I was lead for the past two successful events about duty of care and supporting trans students). Each of these events received excellent feedback and were structured to ensure participants had action points to take away so the learning could be applied in members’ institutions.
I am committed to preparing a programme of timely and thought provoking continuing professional development opportunities for all AMOSSHE members across all the nations. I want to provide a broad range of high quality accessible events that focus on issues currently challenging members as well as forward thinking to issues that may emerge as the higher education landscape shifts.
Richard Irons (Head of Student Services, University of Derby) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Richard’s nomination statement:
We know that the sector is a challenging one. Our students are experiencing increasing levels of mental health concerns, financial challenges and many other barriers to success and fair access. Furthermore, the ever changing social, political and economic landscape have led to new challenges such as TEF, REF, DSA cuts and the Prevent Duty.
The support AMOSSHE provides to colleagues to help us to navigate our way through these challenges effectively within our institutions is invaluable. The core principles of AMOSSHE are very much aligned with my own personal values, and having the opportunity to contribute to AMOSSHE to support colleagues, shape organisational strategy and influence the sector and associated stakeholder groups, is a challenge I’m keen to commit my time, energy and experience to.
I have 15 years’ experience as a Student Services professional (within schools, Connexions Service, further and higher education), in roles ranging from front-line to leadership. I’m also a College Governor and Trustee of a charity.
As well as being an active, participative member of AMOSSHE (Midlands group / continuing professional development events / national conferences / networking events) I have also volunteered my time and energy over the last seven years to help lead a non-funded national network (One-Stop-Shop network).
I aim to bring to AMOSSHE:
Nicole Redman (Director of Student Services, University of East London) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Nicole’s nomination statement:
I believe I make a considerable and valuable contribution to an association that l feel passionately about. To date, I have been privileged to serve on the Executive Committee, firstly as an Executive Member and more recently as Vice Chair (Operations).
During this time, I have successfully contributed to all aspects of my elected roles, and taken the lead on several AMOSSHE projects. I play an active role in representing AMOSSHE on several national forums, I have presented nationally, and I have positively promoted our organisation and our members’ interests to stakeholders across the sector.
Throughout all my dealings I maintain a professional approach, remain fully committed to championing the aims and objectives of AMOSSHE, and actively promote AMOSSHE as The Student Services Organisation.
I have been instrumental in co-leading several extremely successful AMOSSHE national and winter conferences. These events have brought members together and enabled focused dialogue around the prevalent Student Services topics of our day. Furthermore, these events have provided a discussion platform whilst also positively contributing to the financial robustness of the organisation. I am delighted to again be co-leading on the upcoming AMOSSHE 2017 national conference.
Over recent years I have had the pleasure of managing the National Office and the staff within it. This has included two relocations of our operations to better locations, overseeing a restructure and the increase of our staff base to its current configuration, which ensures that our members' needs are understood and met to the highest levels.
I aim to build upon the hard work I have been doing, and continue to move AMOSSHE forward in what is undoubtedly a challenging time for all. I will continue to commit professional enthusiasm and expertise to engage and further the aims and objectives of all members and supporting student success.
Jill Stevenson (Head of Student Support Services, University of Stirling) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Jill’s nomination statement:
In the short time I have already been serving on the Executive, I have had the opportunity to help shape the continuing professional development programme for the year ahead, and to represent our members in national level policy discussions. I am excited to have the opportunity to dedicate more of my time and energy to these activities in the future.
I will be a proactive, enthusiastic and dedicated colleague, committed not just to providing the voice of Scottish institutions but to representing the whole sector actively and professionally.
I have recently been directing transformational changes in relation to the enhancement of the student experience, the establishment of an integrated Student Services Hub model, the creation of an institutional strategy for accessibility and inclusion, and the development of an institutional strategy and campaign aimed at preventing and tackling sexual violence. As a member of the AMOSSHE Executive, I will draw on this experience and utilise my network of partnerships to help develop a framework of support, guidance and resources that will benefit colleagues from institutions right across the sector. I am particularly keen in the coming months to develop strong, influential collaborations and build an increasingly robust sector-wide evidence base to influence policy makers, funders and partners to respond positively to the challenges that face Student Services across the UK, such as the demands arising from the increasing number of students with mental health conditions or presenting in crisis.
I am driven, energetic, collaborative and motivated by progress, and I relish the chance to continue to work with the Executive team to deliver great results for our AMOSSHE network.
Chris Warrington (Head of Student Support, University of Leeds) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Chris’s nomination statement:
I am Head of Student Support at the University of Leeds, responsible for the disability, mental health and wellbeing services along with international student support at the university. Alongside leading the teams delivering these services, my role involves enabling the wider university community to engage with the ways in which we all support our students to achieve their aims and ambitions to be successful after university, whatever they choose to do.
I feel it is important that we maintain our membership-led approach, and I aim to contribute to the way in which AMOSSHE supports colleagues across the sector. I think that the collaborative working fostered by AMOSSHE is invaluable, and the further promotion of this, through national and regional events, is important. My work at Leeds involves connecting and coordinating the many elements of the university, which contributes to the success of our students. These partnerships are the key to the successful delivery of our services and I will seek to enable members of AMOSSHE to explore and engage with this partnership working.
The continued success of the many AMOSSHE continuing professional development and networking events is also an important focus for me. Increasing the diversity of stakeholders who contribute to our sessions, through academic and related service leaders, will contribute to the development of a more holistic approach to the delivery of Student Services, against a backdrop of competing pressures and demands.
I’m fully committed to the importance of AMOSSHE and passionate about the role it plays in supporting colleagues as they address the pressures and challenges facing Student Services.
You can also find news, features and photos on our blog
AMOSSHE members can find even more news, plus sector and policy updates