AMOSSHE elects new Executive Committee members for 2023-2025

23 May 2023 13:16 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

At last week's AMOSSHE Annual General Meeting Helen McNeely (Vice Chair Operations) 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 2023 to 2025 term of office, are as follows:

  • Jill Stevenson (University of Stirling) continues as Chair of AMOSSHE
  • Kirsteen Coupar (Buckinghamshire New University) is the new Vice Chair

Also, four Executive Members were elected:

  • Aleata Alstad-Calkins (University of Roehampton)
  • Emma Bales (University of Cumbria)
  • Claire Slater (University of Bristol)
  • Ruth Wilson (Leeds Trinity University)

In addition, one more Executive Member role became available for one year, due to other Executive members leaving. So Paul Rossi (University of the Arts London) was elected for the 2023/24 academic year.

Helen welcomed all the new members to the Executive team, and congratulated those who have been re-elected. She also thanked all the candidates for their commitment to AMOSSHE. The new Executive team will assume their roles from 1 August 2023 to 31 July 2025.

The Executive team also gave their thanks to Simon Lee and Craig Best, who will leave the Executive in August, and Rotimi Akinsete and Sarah Cavendish, who have left the Executive as well. Many thanks to them for all their hard work and dedication to AMOSSHE.

Nomination statements

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:

Jill Stevenson

Jill Stevenson is Dean of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and Director of Student Services at the University of Stirling. Jill takes the role of Chair for 2023 to 2025. Here’s Jill’s nomination statement.

It has been my pleasure and privilege to be Chair of AMOSSHE for the last two years and I would be delighted to be re-elected so that I can build on the foundations in place and continue to deliver tangible impact for our members. Over the past six years as a committed and passionate member of the AMOSSHE Executive and Chair for the last two years, I have built up a strong profile and credibility to represent the organisation at the most senior levels.

I have continued to champion and support the expansion of our highly regarded continuing professional development and member engagement programme, whilst simultaneously strengthening our focus on external relations and partnerships that will further our mission and help to achieve our strategic vision. I have advocated for a more proactive and assertive position on key issues of relevance to the Student Services agenda, including calls for a legal duty of care on universities, and misleading media reporting on student suicides and gender-based violence.

Through my leadership and maintaining a focus on the strategic goals of the organisation, I have:

  • Secured investment in a new Senior Policy and Research Officer, a key role to provide dedicated policy support, briefings and essential data to support our members deliver their roles and influence change in their institutions.
  • Built strong relationships with government ministers, funders / regulators across the UK, the Office for Students, SFC (Scottish Funding Council), Universities UK, ARC (Academic Registrars' Council) and the Student Support Champion to raise the profile of AMOSSHE and ensure that we have a seat at influential policy development conversations.
  • Contributed to a range of guidance documents and policies, ensuring that they reflect the UK-wide context and the AMOSSHE perspective.
  • Represented AMOSSHE at Parliament and on a wide range of external policy and working groups on matters including mental health, gender-based violence, the cost of living crisis, inclusion, and spiking.
  • Invested in relationships with international colleagues and consortia with the aim of enhancing the exchange of knowledge and global good practice.
  • Increased opportunities to engage members from all home nations in our work, ensuring that we harness the talent and experience in our membership whilst providing development opportunities for members.
  • Overhauled the running of AMOSSHE Executive business, including new dedicated workstreams for equality, diversity and inclusion, policy development and communications.

My priorities for 2023-2025 will be to build on these achievements and achieve the goals in our strategic plan. I will:

  • Represent our members and continue to build strong partnerships to proactively influence strategy, policy, and investment in Student Services.
  • Build a proactive narrative to convey the positive and vital impact of Student Services on students and institutional success.
  • Lead the development of a new communications strategy for AMOSSHE. This will enable us to communicate our core message more proactively, ensuring we influence at the right fora at the right time, and that we are equipped to respond effectively to emerging issues.
  • Lead the Executive team to refresh the AMOSSHE strategy. I will ensure that this represents the views of our diverse membership and positions us strongly to be financially sustainable and effective, whilst continuing to be agile enough to support our members through the inevitable changes and challenges ahead.

Why me? As your Chair, I pledge to collaborate with our members and partners to position the student experience and Student Services at the top of the agenda for university leaders, policy makers, funders, and regulators. I will continue to dedicate strong vision, great passion and energy, coupled with 15 years of experience in higher education, laterally as Director of Student Services and Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. I truly love leading AMOSSHE and believe in the power of strong collaboration and an inclusive approach in all that I do. It would be a privilege to continue to lead our organisation and work in partnership with all our members to make a lasting, life-changing impact to the lives of the students we serve.


Kirsteen Coupar

Kirsteen Coupar is Director for Student Success at Buckinghamshire New University. Kirsteen takes the role of Vice Chair for 2023 to 2025. Here’s Kirsteen’s nomination statement.

I have worked at seven different higher education providers both in the UK and in New Zealand. I previously sat as an AMOSSHE Executive member and found the experience incredibly enjoyable and challenging and would like to contribute my skills and experience in the role of Vice Chair. My academic background is a BSc in Psychology, an MA in Philosophy and an MBA. I am also a chartered member of CIPD.

I am passionate about student analytics and evidence-led development of Student Services and have a keen interest in embedding the student voice in the creation and development of services. I am experienced in creating, implementing and analysing surveys. During lockdown I became quite proficient with social media, going viral on TikTok with 75,000 followers and am keen to ensure AMOSSHE’s social media is a vibrant and fascinating presence on the web.

I have solid experience in organisational diagnosis and development and won a Times Higher Award for Student Services in 2018. I love to innovate and would bring my creativity to the Executive Committee. I’m keen to represent our members, highlight the extraordinary work we do in Student Services and create useful tools and events for our membership.

I have focused on developing my leadership skills throughout my career in Student Services. As well as holding an MBA, I have attended Leadership Foundation training on:

  • Head of department training
  • Strategic finance in higher education
  • Leadership Matters for female leaders in higher education

and Leading through Influence with Ashridge Executive Education.

My priorities for the next two years in role are to:

  • Develop ways in which we listen to the voice of members.
  • Improve and develop our social media strategy to gain followers and influence.
  • Contribute to events and conferences by ensuring we have inspiring and thought-provoking events and sessions.
  • Carry out an organisational diagnosis in collaboration with AMOSSHE staff and the Executive to optimise processes, systems and culture.


Aleata Alstad-Calkins

Aleata Alstad-Calkins is Director of Student Support & Success at the University of Roehampton. Aleata takes the role of Executive Member for 2023 to 2025. Here’s Aleata’s nomination statement.

It is with immense enthusiasm that I am seeking your vote to be re-elected for an Executive Member role at AMOSSHE. I have worked in higher education for over ten years and have gained a wealth of experience that I hope to offer the AMOSSHE community, with the aim of giving back to a network that has supported me to navigate many challenging circumstances.

My role as Director of Student Support & Success at the University of Roehampton and a counselling psychologist by trade brings many assets to the role. Furthermore, I am a board member for three separate organisations including a mental health charity, and I've been involved in a regional AMOSSHE working group that has been developing essential annual sector benchmarking plans, which can be used to establish standards for strategic planning. Experience of having operational oversight and understanding institutional governance is essential in contributing to the development and strategic direction of AMOSSHE. Prior to working in higher education, I worked for the NHS, prison service and various other organisations as a psychologist. My background was pivotal in my efforts to create a partnership with our local NHS to deliver excellent, coordinated care to students and I would be delighted to support colleagues in enhancing their NHS partnerships using a similar model.

In the last few years, I've been awarded two grants from the Office for Students for ambitious projects, which both aimed to enhance support and dismantle barriers for students in higher education. As an active member in the AMOSSHE network, I've shared best practice and learning outcomes from these projects.

If I am re-elected as an Executive Member of AMOSSHE, I am excited about the prospect of continuing to shape the support provided to students in the sector with innovation and collaborative partnerships.


Emma Bales

Emma Bales is Director of Student Services at the University of Cumbria. Emma takes the role of Executive Member for 2023 to 2025. Here’s Emma’s nomination statement.

Having worked in higher education student support services for over 20 years, I am currently the Director of Student Services at the University of Cumbria (UoC). I have been a member of the AMOSSHE Executive team since July 2021 and I am standing for re-election as I am keen to continue to actively contribute to the ongoing development of AMOSSHE to support its members, the sector and the student experience.

Over the past two years I have contributed to the work of AMOSSHE by:

  • Co-leading the 2022 Winter Conference (Healthy Lifestyles).
  • Co-designing and leading online continuing professional development events, with a particular focus on career development.
  • Representing AMOSSHE in the sector, including on the ANUK / UNIPOL Committee of Management and the Universities UK Accredited Code of Practice for the management of residential accommodation.
  • Co-leading the planning for the 2023 National Conference (Inclusivity and Making Connections).

Furthermore, I would welcome the opportunity to continue to contribute to the delivery of the Resources workstream of the AMOSSHE strategy and the professionalisation project, which I believe is an important project to promote professional recognition of Student Services in the sector and ensure our members have access to impactful professional development pathways.

I have been fortunate in my career to date to have had opportunities to develop wider knowledge, skills and experience in relation to organisational governance, which I hope could continue to be of benefit to the AMOSSHE Executive. I served as the Staff Director on the University of Cumbria board (2013 to 2022) and outside of work I am a member of the Board of Trustees for our local hospice.

AMOSSHE's vision, mission and values resonate strongly with me, reflecting my own values and my leadership approach. I recognise and appreciate the power of sharing best practice, collaborating with, and learning from, colleagues across the sector and, as importantly, ensuring the student voice is reflected in the design and delivery of our services.

If I were successful in being re-elected, I would consider it a privilege to continue to serve on the AMOSSHE Executive and to continue to support AMOSSHE in representing Student Services in the sector.


Claire Slater

Claire Slater is Director of Student Life and Wellbeing at the University of Bristol. Claire takes the role of Executive Member for 2023 to 2025. Here’s Claire’s nomination statement.

I have been working in Student Services for over 20 years and AMOSSHE has played a key role in my professional development. I have been a member of the AMOSSHE Executive Committee since 2018 and have worked with the National Office and Executive team on a number of projects. I was the joint lead for the National Conference in Newcastle in 2022 and the 2023 Winter Conference in Bath. I was also one of the leads for the 2021 online National Conference, as well as organising and hosting numerous online member discussions and webinars on a wide range of topics.

I have also contributed to the development of the AMOSSHE strategy, focussing on the member engagement, EDI and Professionalisation workstreams. This has included reaching out to members to find out more about what AMOSSHE brings to their professional development and what we can do to continue to support them. I have also represented AMOSSHE at different national events, particularly related to tackling sexual violence and enhancing student mental health and wellbeing.

I am the Director of Student Life and Wellbeing at the University of Bristol, leading on a number of key projects including the delivery of our Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, our approach to tackling sexual violence and working with colleagues across the university and Bristol Students' Union to develop a sense of community and belonging for all members of our diverse student population.

It has been a privilege to be involved in the ongoing work of AMOSSHE to support our members and I would like to continue in this role, networking with colleagues, organising different events and ensuring that the voices and opinions of our members are heard.


Ruth Wilson

Ruth Wilson is Director of Student Support and Engagement at Leeds Trinity University. Ruth takes the role of Executive Member for 2023 to 2025. Here’s Ruth’s nomination statement.

As Director of Student Support and Engagement I have key corporate responsibility to lead the student support element of Leeds Trinity students' experience and drive student success. I have overall responsibility for the provision of all student support functions including student mental health and wellbeing services, financial advice, disability support and the delivery of pastoral student advice and guidance, all driven towards supporting our students to succeed. I am responsible for the wellbeing of all residential students (circa 2,000 to 3,000 students). I also lead all work in relation to academic skills and teaching, learning analytics, student engagement, student communications and events.

In addition, within the portfolio of the role is the Learning Hub, which works closely with our academic schools and provides academic skills support for all students, at all levels, across all university degree programmes to support engagement and achievement. This has also given the role oversight of a small but intense batch of university teaching and learning. I have strategic and operational leadership of matters relating to student experience, pastoral support, student conduct and complaints.

As a newer director in a small and relatively new university I have thrived in use of the AMOSSHE network and have been reassured to have it as a network to engage with. To be elected to the Executive would allow me a chance to repay through my time and advocacy the invaluable support of the network. Alongside being able to represent similar institutions views, as smaller higher education providers often have unique issues that can be harder to consider in a sectoral perspective.


Paul Rossi

Paul Rossi is Head of Student Advice & Safeguarding Support at the University of the Arts London. Paul takes the role of Executive Member for the 2023/24 academic year. Here’s Paul’s nomination statement.

I am putting myself forward for the role of Executive Member of AMOSSHE. I have been a manager in Student Services at University of the Arts London since 2002, during which time Student Services have had to respond to so many challenges and changes while remaining focussed on our students and their requirements.

During my professional life I have been fortunate enough to have been on the boards of both NASMA (National Association of Student Money Advisers) and UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs), as well as the occasional visit to regional AMOSSHE meetings and regular AMOSSHE conference attendance.

I'd now like to be part of AMOSSHE's mission directly. I will bring to the Executive an interest in institutional collaboration, future ways of working, staff training and development, alongside a passion for access to our services for both under-represented groups and international students.

I've been fortunate enough to have been involved in delivering staff and volunteer development, training events and conferences, and I would hope to be involved in these within AMOSSHE. As an example of this type of activity, I was a presenter at the recent AMOSSHE / UKCISA event on institutional responses to the conflict in Ukraine.

I was pleased to have been able to go to the European Conference for Student Affairs and Services (sponsored by AMOSSHE) in November, after which I briefed AMOSSHE staff on potential future collaborations and interesting initiatives, as well as providing a report for the AMOSSHE website.

I have also been a school governor (with a safeguarding link role) and have been a Trustee in a local charity, so am comfortable with the governance requirements. I am a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce - nominated for my work in international education) which has given me access to broader conversations. All valuable for an AMOSSHE Executive member.


AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation is a UK non-profit professional association. Company registration number 4778650.
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