At today's AMOSSHE Annual General Meeting, Simon Lee (AMOSSHE Vice Chair) announced the results of our recent Executive elections. Every year six roles become available on the AMOSSHE Executive Committee, and members have the opportunity to nominate themselves to join the team. The final candidates were chosen by a membership ballot.
The elected members, who will serve for the 2022 to 2024 term of office, are as follows:
Also, four Executive Members were elected:
Simon welcomed all the new members to the Executive team, and congratulated those who have been re-elected. He also thanked all the candidates for their commitment to AMOSSHE. The new Executive team will assume their roles from 1 August 2022 to 31 July 2024.
The Executive team also gave their thanks to Nic Streatfield, who has left his role as Vice Chair (Professional Development), and Kelsey Coward, who has left the Executive as well. Many thanks to them for all their hard work and dedication to AMOSSHE over many years!
Here are the nomination statements from everyone who takes a role on the AMOSSHE Executive this year. These are personal statements about their intentions and why they're right for the roles:
Helen McNeely (Head of Student and Academic Affairs, Queen's University Belfast) takes the role of Vice Chair (Operations). Here’s Helen’s nomination statement.
I have worked in higher education for 25 years across three institutions, and more recently (for the last 14 years) at Queen's University Belfast. I have been actively involved in AMOSSHE throughout my career, more recently for the last number of years on the Executive Committee. Bringing a regional voice is essential to ensuring that as an organisation we continue to have an integrated approach to student support services in an increasingly fragmented sector. I would therefore welcome the chance to continue on the Executive to ensure that regions continue to have a voice. While my more recent time on the Executive has focused on supporting the National Office, I bring a lot of experience in relation to leading professional development and conference events that help our membership in their day-to-day work. I would also like to continue my work representing our membership on the UCEA Health and Safety Committee, where there has been an increasing focus on the impact of student wellbeing on staff in the sector. I would also help deliver the professionalisation project that was first approved at AMOSSHE's annual general meeting in July 2019, and I see it as a key tool to help us as a sector ensure our workforce is competitive and recognised for the valuable contribution that we make to higher education.
As the Vice Chair (Operations) I would welcome the opportunity to pick up some of the strategic work the National Office was asked to put on hold during the pandemic. In that sense I would like to see through what we had committed to do when I last stood for election three years ago, in terms of building the capacity of the National Office to support the work of the AMOSSHE strategy. Working with the National Office has been a pleasure and I enjoy supporting such a dynamic and creative team. I trust that in my role as the Vice Chair (Operations) I am able to support and enable the team to ensure that we have robust systems to support the infrastructure of AMOSSHE, as well as the creativity to put in action the decisions of the membership and the Executive Committee. If I am re-elected as the Vice Chair (Operations) I will continue to help grow the organisation to keep pace with the level and profile we are working at within the sector.
Chris Warrington (Head of Student Support, University of Leeds) takes the role of Vice Chair (Professional Development). Here's Chris’s nomination statement.
My priorities for the Vice Chair (Professional Development) role are to:
My commitment to AMOSSHE will drive my dedication to serving the AMOSSHE community in the role of Vice Chair (Professional Development). I have over 20 years' experience of higher education, in several roles, and this experience and focus on the student experience will be channelled into the role. My approach is collaborative, with partnership working and the student voice at the core of my practice. It would be a privilege to take on the role of Vice Chair (Professional Development) to enhance the continued impact that the AMOSSHE community has on our universities and students.
I have been an active and committed member of the AMOSSHE Executive since 2017 and I have worked hard to champion the huge impact that our Student Services community of professionals makes to the student experience. As a member of the AMOSSHE Executive, I have contributed significantly to the aims of AMOSSHE and its members and provided leadership in a number of areas. As Vice Chair (Professional Development) I hope to have the opportunity to curate, in collaboration with the membership and the Executive, our CPD (continuing professional development) programme to continue to meet the needs of members both in terms of the key issues and challenges we face, and our own professional development as individuals and as a community.
Examples of my contribution to the AMOSSHE Executive include:
As Head of Student Support at the University of Leeds, like many of the AMOSSHE members, I am responsible for the framework of support across the university including disability, mental health and wellbeing services, along with international student support and enquiry handling at the university.
Rotimi Akinsete (Director of Student Welfare and Support Services, University of Oxford) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Rotimi’s nomination statement.
My name is Rotimi Akinsete and I am Director of Student Welfare & Support Services at the University of Oxford.
I have previously sat as an AMOSSHE Executive Member and am re-applying because I would like to again work alongside supportive and committed colleagues to continue its mission at the cutting edge of Student Services operations and strategy.
My career started with a stint working with Looked After Children in children's homes. I later moved into higher education, initially as an advisor in a university Students' Union and then as the service manager. This was followed by progression in roles as Student Funding Manager and Head of Student Guidance within the same institution.
After qualifying as a therapeutic counsellor I took up a role leading local young people's community mental health services for an NHS Trust and returned to higher education five years later, this time in a campus-based university where I led a Wellbeing Directorate comprised of a multidisciplinary team of counsellors, psychotherapists, mental health nurses, wellbeing advisors, the University Chaplaincy and the University Medical Centre. Since that time, I have held senior Student Services positions in two other world-renowned higher education providers.
In addition to my 25 years of higher education management experience, I continue to practice in my spare time as a counsellor, clinical supervisor, facilitator, trainer and advisor, and have won a national award for my work in race relations. I also facilitate a number of community projects to encourage underrepresented groups to enter the talking therapy professions, and have written a book on men's mental health for Mind, the mental health charity.
If elected as an Executive Member, I hope that I can again contribute constructively and creatively to the AMOSSHE cause, by using my extensive knowledge and experience in the sector, and my representation of various interest groups, to assist AMOSSHE in continuing its mission of providing a progressive network of support, research and professional development to its members.
Ravteg Singh Dhesi (Director of Student Welfare, Aston University) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Ravteg’s nomination statement.
It would be a privilege to volunteer for the AMOSSHE Executive Committee.
Having worked in higher education for over eleven years - specifically within student services - I am currently the Director of Student Welfare at Aston University, a role I have held since October 2021. I oversee several student-facing services, including Mental Health & Wellbeing; Counselling; Disability & Academic Support; Residential Experience and Support (Accommodation); and the Chaplaincy. Prior to this role, I was based in London with a focus on Residential Life and welfare support. I have developed a keen interest in / taken institutional lead of provision for care experienced and estranged students, safeguarding, Prevent and support for victims of sexual violence.
AMOSSHE has played a vitally important part in my professional development, even more so in recent years as I have taken on more responsibility in my career. I have benefited tremendously from the counsel, guidance, and wisdom of colleagues and continue to do so. Despite the many challenges, we are fortunate to work in a sector that encourages collaboration and friendship. Many friendships with colleagues across the country have started with an email or telephone call to ask a question. There is so much more that we can do to actively support our members and share the wealth of experience that we have - be that in sharing best practice in facing the similar challenges that we all face, or broadening the diversity of our sector and encouraging young professionals to join this wonderful profession.
Should I be fortunate to be elected to the Executive Committee, my focus would be on three key areas:
Sammy Li (Adviser on Student Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, University of Birmingham) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Sammy’s nomination statement.
I am standing for re-election as an AMOSSHE Executive Member to continue contributing to our community of Student Services leaders.
I have been actively involved at AMOSSHE over the past five years. In 2021/22, I have been honoured to speak on behalf of AMOSSHE at Universities UK, NADP (National Association of Disability Practitioners), and IGPP (Institute of Government and Public Policy) conferences on the latest sectoral issues. Also, I represent AMOSSHE at the Unite Students Commission on Living Black at University to develop recommendations at a national level to improve the inclusivity of student accommodation.
Moreover, I co-hosted AMOSSHE's first in-person event since COVID as an Executive Member. I utilised my professional network to bring in six speakers from the UK and overseas for the CPD (continuing professional development) day, exploring how to make services responsive to the cultural diversity of our students and develop an inclusive workplace culture in Student Services.
As an AMOSSHE membership engagement lead, I have contributed to new initiatives such as the Faces of AMOSSHE and members' discussion forum, to help celebrate the AMOSSHE community, to diversify our sectoral pipeline, and to broaden participation as a membership organisation. I am also currently working on a new AMOSSHE EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) policy and an inclusive AMOSSHE event checklist to underpin AMOSSHE's principles of inclusion, equality of opportunity, and respect for diversity.
It is paramount for AMOSSHE, as the Student Services Organisation, to recognise the diverse needs of students and members from institutions across the UK and abroad. Coming from a first-generation higher education background, the sector has offered me a life-changing opportunity. AMOSSHE has also been a tremendously supportive community for enabling my transition from an academic role to Student Services leadership. I would be honoured if I could have your support to allow me to contribute more to this community, and for me to learn more from fellow Student Services colleagues.
Sarah Sweeney (Head of Student Support and Wellbeing, Lancaster University) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Sarah’s nomination statement.
I've been a member of the AMOSSHE Executive Committee for the last year and I have really enjoyed being able to contribute to the wonderful work of AMOSSHE!
AMOSSHE plays an essential role in supporting colleagues across the sector to connect, problem solve and learn from each other, and to influence change in the sector through joint working.
I have personally found the help and support of the AMOSSHE network invaluable, and experienced the benefits first-hand of sharing knowledge with colleagues at other institutions to drive forward change and develop and implement best practice. For example, supporting development of my institution's student suicide prevention policy and taking forward improvements to our safeguarding policies and procedures.
I am genuinely committed to AMOSSHE and if elected to continue on the Executive Committee, my priorities would also be:
AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation is a UK non-profit professional association. Company registration number 4778650.