Here's the latest news from AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation.
Last week AMOSSHE announced the election of six members to the Executive Committee, following a membership ballot.
Every year six roles become available on the AMOSSHE Executive Committee, and members have the opportunity to nominate themselves to join the team. This year there was no competition for the available Chair and Vice Chair roles, so these appointments didn't require a membership vote. But five members nominated themselves for the four available Executive Member roles, which meant that the final candidates were chosen by a membership ballot.
The elected members were announced at the AMOSSHE annual general meeting on 4 July in Liverpool:
The nominees elected to the four Executive Member roles are:
These members will serve for two years from 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2020.
In addition, another Executive Member role is available for one year. This is because Jayne Aldridge was elected as Vice Chair (Operations) last year, but will now move to the Chair role for the next two years. Another member of the Executive will replace her for a year as Vice Chair (Operations), which means that an Executive Member role will be available for one year. This Executive Member role will be taken by Simon Lee (Deputy Director, Resilience, Sport and Wellbeing, Teesside University) from 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2019.
Congratulations and welcome to all our new Executive members!
Some of the newly elected Executive members (left to right): Claire Slater, Simon Lee, Jayne Aldridge, Helen McNeely and Fay Sherrington.
Three Executive Members are leaving the committee at the end of July: Nicola Barden (Director of Student Services, University of Winchester), Mandi Barron (Head of Student Services, Bournemouth University), and Chris Shelley (Director of Student and Academic Services, University of Greenwich). Many thanks for all your hard work and contributions!
Here are the nomination statements from everyone who joins the AMOSSHE Executive this year. These are personal statements about their intentions and why they're right for the roles.
Jayne Aldridge (Director for the Student Experience, University of Sussex) takes the role of AMOSSHE Chair. Here’s Jayne’s nomination statement:
Having been on the Executive Committee on several occasions over the course of the last ten years, and a lead member for three different institutions since 2005, I know how important a strong representative body is to the daily work of Student Services professionals.
AMOSSHE has provided me with opportunities to grow as a professional and help me improve the university experience for the students with whom I work. I am committed to ensuring that AMOSSHE continues to offer such opportunities to other Student Services professionals and remains relevant to everyone who is part of this organisation.
As Chair, I believe I can bring a distinct set of experiences that can be of benefit to AMOSSHE in this rapidly changing landscape. My experience includes previously chairing NASMA (National Association of Student Money Advisers) for four years, working for the UK government Department for Education on student support policy development (2002 to 2005), and leading Student Services for 1994 Group, Million+ and University Alliance universities.
Being adept at thriving in rapidly changing and challenging policy environments, I will draw upon my understanding of higher education both within and beyond the UK, to work collaboratively with the Executive Committee to ensure that AMOSSHE continues to grow and be a stable, successful organisation with the ability to support and represent our needs during the forthcoming remodelling of higher education within the UK.
Having had the honour of chairing AMOSSHE since December 2017, I welcome the opportunity to continue. I will continue to champion the leaders and practitioners of Student Services and encourage the further engagement of the many diverse staff whose commitment and professional expertise dismantle barriers to higher education and improve the student experience in the many and varied individual forms that it takes.
Fully supportive of the AMOSSHE Executive values, I'm committed to ensuring that our practice reflects and upholds our principles, without exception. My priorities will be to:
Ensure members’ views are clearly articulated and heard during this time of significant and rapid change within the UK higher education sector.
Build upon existing partnerships and forge new strategic alliances in order to maximise the benefits for our members.
Find creative solutions to challenging issues by championing AMOSSHE members’ continued research into all aspects of our work.
Above all, as a membership-led organisation and I remain passionately committed to consulting with and listening to the views of members, working with the Executive and National Office, to shape AMOSSHE’s future direction and priorities in order to continue to make our organisation is relevant to the day-to-day challenges that we face.
Fay Sherrington (Director of Student Services, Edge Hill University) takes the role of Vice Chair. Here’s Fay’s nomination statement:
Having worked in Student Services for 13 years at three very different institutions, I have developed a range of skills and experience across a number of specialist areas. I feel that I continue to have a lot to offer to the Executive and would love the opportunity to do a further term as Vice Chair.
Being an Executive member of AMOSSHE has provided me with new experiences and skills, which have been invaluable in my roles both past and present, and in my career development. I have given a great deal of time and enthusiasm to AMOSSHE and feel I have been able to contribute to the development of our sector. I am very keen to build on the excellent progress made by the current Executive and National Office teams and to continue to support AMOSSHE in the future as a Vice Chair.
I have made significant contributions to the work of AMOSSHE over the past six years, including co-leading the organisation of two national summer conferences, representing AMOSSHE on a number of boards and meetings, leading on continuing professional development events, and organising regional meetings. This year I have had the privilege to be involved with the research, planning, development and launch of the Resilience Toolkit, which has been a major piece of work for AMOSSHE and a fantastic resource for the sector. I aim to support the work on the next major project to help shape AMOSSHE’s strategy for developing the Student Services profession in the UK.
My previous six years’ experience of serving on the Executive (final two in the Vice Chair role) puts me in an excellent position to provide consistency to the organisation as Vice Chair.
My priorities in the role are underpinned by AMOSSHE’s values and strategy, and shaped by the role and tasks of the Vice Chair. A major priority will be to engage with members to understand how AMOSSHE can provide a leading role in developing the Student Services profession in the UK. Guided by the feedback from the membership this could lead to a longer term strategic project to benefit the sector. However, most importantly I will provide support and leadership to ensure that AMOSSHE can continue to deliver the consistent, high quality services, events and communications it has become renowned for.
My leadership style is one of influencing, persuading, gaining consensus and working collaboratively. As a volunteer member of the Executive surrounded by senior colleagues I have found this style to be hugely beneficial. I have built up a good working relationship with the staff in the National Office and my colleagues on the Executive, and believe I have the qualities to be a strong Vice Chair.
Rotimi Akinsete (Director of Wellbeing, University of Surrey) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Rotimi’s nomination statement:
I am currently a member of the AMOSSHE Executive Committee and am applying because I would like to continue to work alongside supportive and committed colleagues to broaden the perspective of UK Student Services operations. In my short tenure I have represented AMOSSHE at an Understanding ModernGov conference and an AMOSSHE continuing professional development workshop on equalities. I hope that I can continue to contribute constructively and creatively to the AMOSSHE cause.
My career commenced in local authority care for looked after children, and I later moved into higher education management, where I worked in an inner city university for 13 years - initially as an advice service manager within the Students’ Union, and then later as Student Services Finance Manager, followed by a role as Student Guidance Manager in the same institution.
After qualifying as a therapeutic counsellor I then moved into local community mental health, and returned to higher education five years later, this time in a campus-based university where I currently lead a vibrant and flourishing Wellbeing Directorate. This is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of counsellors, psychotherapists, mental health nurses, wellbeing advisors, the university chaplaincy and the university medical centre.
In addition to my 20+ years of higher education management experience, I continue to practice as a counsellor, clinical supervisor, facilitator, trainer and advisor, and am a governor at a local secondary school. I also facilitate a number of community projects to encourage under-represented groups to enter the talking therapy professions.
If elected to continue my contribution, I hope to use my skills, knowledge and experience in the sector, as well as my representation on various interest groups, to assist AMOSSHE in continuing its mission of providing a progressive network of support, research and professional development to its members.
Kirsteen Coupar (Director of Student Services, London South Bank University) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Kirsteen’s nomination statement:
I am currently the Director of Student Services at London South Bank University, having spent the last twelve years in Student Services in the UK and overseas. My early career focused on project and service management in the voluntary sector, working with children and adults with disabilities and mental health issues.
My portfolio includes student administration, employability, wellbeing and disability services, student life, student enquiries, chaplaincy and retention.
I have developed a range of skills across several specialist areas, including access and participation, inclusive practice, and student engagement and enquiry management.
I feel I have much that I can offer to the AMOSSHE Executive and membership, currently having a strong interest in career planning for Student Services professionals, Student Services research, and innovation through entrepreneurial activity.
I am currently working in partnership with Utah State University on a research project looking at student beliefs regarding higher education and how we can use this information to improve student retention.
The challenges my teams and I are facing are those that I believe challenge many of us:
I want to jointly explore solutions that work in the context of ongoing change in the sector, and believe that AMOSSHE has a key role in leading and coordinating conversations and best practice.
I am passionate about the work we do and the ability we have to transform lives by supporting students to stay and succeed. I am excited by the opportunity to contribute to AMOSSHE as an Executive Member and would welcome your support.
Simon Lee (Deputy Director - Student and Library Services (Resilience, Sport and Wellbeing), Teesside University) takes the role of Executive Member for one year. Here's Simon's nomination statement:
Having been heavily involved with AMOSSHE for a number of years, I am standing for Executive as I feel I can bring a unique perspective to the role. I am currently Deputy Director - Student and Library Services at Teesside University, where as part of the senior leadership team of a genuinely integrated department, I head up the university’s Resilience, Sport and Wellbeing functions. This includes leadership for a range of services, notably: information and welfare support, international advice, counselling, university sport, and our multi-faith chaplaincy. Previously I was Student Support Manager at Northumbria University, and before that Diversity Adviser at Durham University. Whilst with Durham I was also a student mentor and Secretary of the Senior Common Room at Josephine Butler College.
Many of you will know me from my time at Northumbria University where I:
I am really excited by the prospect of joining the Executive and feel that my current role, with its focus on building student resilience, is aligned completely with current AMOSSHE priorities, and will help me develop key initiatives such as the Resilience Toolkit. This, coupled with my experience of three very different universities, as well as an early career in local government working with civil servants and politicians, helps me bring a unique perspective and skill set to the role.
Helen McNeely (Head of Student Affairs, Queen's University Belfast) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Helen's nomination statement:
I am standing again for re-election to the AMOSSHE Executive as I would like the opportunity to continue with the work I have enjoyed doing over the last few years, which has included:
I really enjoy serving on the AMOSSHE Executive and would love the opportunity to continue to do so for the next two years, with the support of the membership.
Claire Slater (Head of Student Support, Keele University) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Claire’s nomination statement:
As an experienced and committed Student Services professional, I have benefitted considerably from AMOSSHE membership, regularly attending conferences and events, networking and sharing ideas and expertise with colleagues. AMOSSHE has been essential for my professional success, and I would now like the opportunity to make a greater contribution to the outstanding work of AMOSSHE through membership of the Executive Committee.
I have considerable experience of many aspects of Student Services, including Disability, Residence Life, Wellbeing, Discipline, Money and Welfare and International support. I have successfully lead on two HEFCE-funded projects: ‘Developing an institutional approach to addressing sexual misconduct’ and ‘Tackling hate crime and online harassment’. A key element of both projects was working in partnership with KeeleSU to introduce #NeverOK, an innovative active bystander campaign that challenges all forms of discriminatory behaviour.
A key element of my role has been the review of our approach to supporting survivors of sexual violence, and I worked with Lime Culture to develop the Sexual Violence Liaison Officer (SVLO) role for university staff, and then introduced a team of SVLOs at Keele. My expertise in this area is recognised across the sector, and I have shared our approach with colleagues at numerous national conferences. This year we have also been nominated for a Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Award for this work.
In addition to my professional experience I have continued to enhance my knowledge and expertise through continuing professional development, attending the ACUHO-I Study Tour and Conference in the USA in 2015 to explore models of Residence Life and am currently completing an MA in Student Affairs at Anglia Ruskin University.
I am committed to making a difference in Student Services, and being part of the AMOSSHE Executive would enable me to work with colleagues to ensure students get appropriate support and services to succeed at university.
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.
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.