Here's the latest news from AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation.
The AMOSSHE National Conference 2020 starts on Monday 6 July - it's all week, all online, all free, and open to everyone who wants to take part! This is a fantastic professional development opportunity for you, your colleagues, and sector friends, so please share the links widely. All the sessions would have featured in our physical conference if it had gone ahead in Newcastle, so you can access the same quality expertise and resources, but for free and without having to travel!
Here's the programme of sessions. You can register for the ones you want to attend, rather than everything at once.
AMOSSHE is proud to have contributed to a major review of higher education Student Affairs and Services around the world. With 250 authors, advisors and editors from over 125 countries, Student Affairs and Services in Higher Education: Global Foundations, Issues, and Best Practices (third edition) is a truly global collaborative effort to capture the diverse frameworks, practices, models and services provided by Student Affairs and Services in higher education across the globe.
This is a comprehensive reference book for scholars, researchers and practitioners across the globe on all matters related to Student Services in higher education. It covers a vast breadth of issues including principles, values, theories and frameworks, professionalisation, research and scholarship, social justice, equality and gender issues, engagement, internationalisation, retention and graduate competencies, governance and student participation, leadership and migration. AMOSSHE's contribution is based on research from the 2016/17 academic year.
Due to the generous collaboration of IASAS (International Association of Student Affairs and Services) with peer sector associations, book is available online for free.
The Office for Students, Student Minds and HEFCW (Higher Education Funding Council for Wales) are creating an online hub to support the wellbeing and mental health of students in England and Wales. This project will run for six months from late July to December 2020, giving students access to online mental health support, designed to respond to additional pressures caused by the pandemic.
The hub, called Student Space, is designed to complement the mental health support already in place through universities, colleges and NHS services in England and Wales, filling potential gaps in provision and ensuring that all students have access to support they need.
AMOSSHE has contributed to the planning discussions for Student Space. AMOSSHE Chair Jayne Aldridge said:
"AMOSSHE welcomes this announcement and the launch of Student Space to enhance the support for student mental health. We look forward to working with Student Minds and other sector bodies, students and staff to provide seamless provision with a positive impact."
Find out more about the project: New funds to boost student mental health through pandemic.
The AMOSSHE National Conference 2020 is the UK’s foremost opportunity for Student Services leaders to share expertise and good practice, develop strategy and skills, and build professional networks.
To replace the conference that would have taken place in Newcastle upon Tyne, we’re hosting a variety of free online sessions instead. Across the week of 6 to 10 July you can take part in webinars, virtual discussions, social events and more, led by AMOSSHE members and sector organisations.
Find out more: AMOSSHE National Conference 2020.
Here's the programme of confirmed sessions. You can register for the ones you want to attend, rather than everything at once.
Even more sessions are coming soon, so look out for further announcements!
Racism and discrimination are unacceptable. The killing of George Floyd is a reminder that racism is a systemic challenge in our society. Sadly, this is true for the UK as well as for the USA. AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation is committed to creating communities based on dignity, respect and equal opportunities. The AMOSSHE Executive Committee and National Office stand in solidarity with Black colleagues, students, community leaders and all those fighting racial injustice and inequality across the world.
Everyone has the responsibility to understand and learn more about the impact of societal, structural, and institutional racism, and to work together to tackle this. It’s not just the responsibility of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) colleagues and students. It’s important that we listen to the voices of our Black colleagues and students when they describe their experiences of microaggressions, discrimination and racism and that we develop the skills and confidence to recognise and challenge these unacceptable behaviours. AMOSSHE aims to support our members in Student Services to do this, through our network, resources and professional development opportunities.
We are committed to promoting inclusive university communities that meet the diverse needs of our students. Our members can find professional development resources here about safeguarding and duty of care to all students, unconscious bias, and how Student Services can more effectively engage and support students from different racial, cultural and minority groups, so that these students feel comfortable, included and understood when accessing services.
We recently hosted a member discussion about access to and participation in higher education for underrepresented groups. And we’re planning to deliver a professional development event in the new academic year about understanding and appreciating intersectionality in order to effectively support students and staff.
We want to hear from our members to help us develop more resources and approaches to addressing racism in higher education. Contact us here.
Here's the AMOSSHE bulletin for spring 2020: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 4 MB).
Find out how our membership network of Student Services leaders has been responding to the pandemic crisis, putting student wellbeing and success at the heart of everything they do. Also, discover more about UK Student Services through the research we undertook late last year into the remit of our members' work, and the scale, scope and resources of counselling services.
As part of AMOSSHE's response to the COVID-19 situation, we've developed a programme of free webinars to support the sector with ongoing continuing professional development opportunities. Find out what's coming up, and join us!
This bulletin also features updates from AMOSSHE's annual sponsors, whose support helps us deliver our programme of work and who help keep us in touch with developments and research in the sector.
AMOSSHE is directed an Executive Committee of twelve members. Every year, half the roles on the committee become vacant, and all eligible members have the opportunity to nominate themselves to join the Executive team. This year, AMOSSHE members have voted to postpone the Executive elections in order to provide business continuity for our professional association and help ensure consistency of leadership through this unprecedented time of change.
This means that for 2020 only:
You can find out more about the AMOSSHE Executive Committee here: Who are we? and the AMOSSHE Rules of Association here: AMOSSHE governance.
The AMOSSHE Executive Committee has been reviewing our association’s strategy and programme of work in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation. The National Office team is working from home to support and enable our members, guided by the Executive team through virtual meetings. Here’s an update on our current position regarding AMOSSHE events.
The Executive Committee team has decided, with regret, to cancel the AMOSSHE National Conference 2020, which was due to take place in Newcastle upon Tyne in July.
This was a difficult decision to make, considering the importance of the conference for our member network and the development of the UK Student Services sector. However, on consideration of government guidance, the current priorities of our members, and the opportunities for members and sector colleagues to make the most of the conference, the team felt that cancellation is not only necessary but the most appropriate course of action.
AMOSSHE is still keen to ensure that those who would have attended the conference still have the opportunity to network, learn and share good practice. So we’re currently looking into opportunities to share content and enable networking remotely instead over the coming months.
In our last update we announced the postponement of two CPD (continuing professional development) day events in May. Our original plan was to hold these events in the first semester of the 2020/21 academic year instead. However, the Executive Committee has reviewed this and agreed that AMOSSHE will not host any physical CPD events until January 2021.
Instead of physical events in our usual format, AMOSSHE will aim to deliver CPD remotely through webinars, virtual meetings and suchlike. Look out for more information on our events page.
Following recent announcements and guidance by the UK government about COVID-19, the AMOSSHE Executive Committee and National Office team have made some decisions about how to manage upcoming AMOSSHE events. Here’s our current position on this.
We’re continuing to review the situation and we’ll provide further updates about our work when appropriate.
If you have any questions or concerns please get in touch with the National Office team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMOSSHE had planned to hold two continuing professional development day events in May. Considering the uncertainty of the current situation and the pressures faced by our members, the Executive Committee has decided to postpone these events until the new academic year.
The AMOSSHE National Conference is currently due to take place in Newcastle upon Tyne from 8 to 10 July 2020. At present we are planning to go ahead with this conference. However, in light of the most recent UK government advice, we are keeping this under active review, and will consider this again at our Executive Committee meeting taking place on 27 March. AMOSSHE will be guided by the information issued by the UK and devolved governments, so it’s possible that our decision will change accordingly.
Further information, including details about bookings and early bird discounts available for residential places, will be available after the Executive Committee meeting.
Here at AMOSSHE we realise that this is a very challenging time for our members and everyone working to support and enable students in higher education. Remember to look after yourself as much as possible in the midst of the pressure, and we encourage our members to reach out to our network for professional support and advice to help you steer your way.
In February 2020 AMOSSHE hosted a conference in Bath to explore aspects of mental health and wellbeing for Student Services leaders in higher education. Looking back on the event, conference lead and AMOSSHE Executive Member Jill Stevenson (Dean of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and Director of Student Services, University of Stirling) reflects on what we all learned.
It was a real privilege to co-chair the AMOSSHE Winter Conference with my Executive colleague, Simon Lee. This year’s theme was "mental health and wellbeing" which, as we all know, is probably the number one issue of concern for our students, their parents and supporters, and our staff who support them with such professionalism and dedication.
We really wanted to focus on some of the “big picture” issues, notably:
We had some fantastic, wide ranging conversations about all these topics and more, and we were thrilled to have a range of brilliant speakers to spark debate and widen all our perspectives.
All of our speakers were excellent, but I was particularly moved by Dominique Thompson’s opening keynote, which explored some of the reasons why students are presenting more and more often with conditions such as anxiety and depression. Her observations on fear of failure, perfectionism and competitiveness were really compelling.
It was also great to make more of our pre-conference evening session and to provide more opportunities for structured and informal networking. Cathy Gallagher’s opening address that evening struck some powerful chords around the role of sport and physical activity in enhancing wellbeing, and the opportunities that we can explore to forge stronger partnerships between sport and student services.
All in all, I came away feeling inspired and optimistic about the future in Student Services, and full of ideas about how AMOSSHE and our members can incorporate new learning into our new strategy and operational plan.
Thank you to everyone who attended - we hope you found the conference as useful and thought-provoking as we did!
AMOSSHE members can find all the resources from the conference here: Mental health and wellbeing.
Watch these interviews from the conference on Twitter:
You can also find news, features and photos on our blog
AMOSSHE members can find even more news, plus sector and policy updates
AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation is a UK non-profit professional association. Company registration number 4778650.