AMOSSHE elects new Executive Committee members for 2024-2026

17 May 2024 13:56 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

At 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 2024 to 2026 term of office, are as follows:

  • Sarah Sweeney (Lancaster University) is the new Vice Chair
  • Emma Bales (University of Cumbria) is the new Vice Chair (Operations)
Also, four Executive Members were elected:
  • Keith Houghton (The University of Law)
  • Ian Munton (Aberystwyth University)
  • Angela Scanlon (Ulster University)
  • Andy Shanks (University of Edinburgh)

In addition, one more Executive Member role became available for one year, due to an Executive member assuming a new role within the team. So, Sammy Li (University of Birmingham) was elected for the 2024/25 academic year.

Helen welcomed all the new members to the Executive Committee 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 2024 to 31 July 2026.

The Executive team also gave their thanks to Ravteg Singh Dhesi and Helen McNeely, who will leave the Executive in August. Many thanks to them for all their hard work and dedication to AMOSSHE.

Nomination statements 

Sarah Sweeney

Sarah Sweeney is Head of Student Support and Wellbeing at Lancaster University. Sarah takes the role of Vice Chair for 2024 to 2026. Here’s Sarah’s nomination statement.

As Vice Chair, I would lead the implementation of the new AMOSSHE strategy for 2025 onwards and develop AMOSSHE for the future.

I have over 20 years of experience in leadership and service-design, within Student Services, academic departments, research and engagement.

I am currently co-leading development of the new AMOSSHE strategy for 2025 onwards and during my three years as a committed AMOSSHE Executive Member I have represented AMOSSHE at sector-level and led the work of two other AMOSSHE strategic workstreams: resources and member engagement.

As Vice Chair, I will:

  • Deliver our new strategy for 2025 onwards.
  • Ensure AMOSSHE takes an inclusive approach to all activity, creating a strong community where diversity is celebrated and innovation can flourish.
  • Raise the profile of AMOSSHE, growing our role as a key influencer at national and international level in best practice in Student Services.
  • Lead evidence-based approaches to strategy delivery and demonstrate the impact and value of AMOSSHE for members.
  • Develop our new AMOSSHE communications strategy, creating new opportunities to enhance member experiences and raise the visibility and impact of AMOSSHE work.
  • Grow the benefits we deliver to members and strengthen member networks.
  • Innovate: support members to lead change and use digital solutions for service delivery.


Emma Bales

Emma Bales is Director of Student Services at the University of Cumbria. Emma takes the role of Vice Chair (Operations) for 2024 to 2026. Here's Emma's 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 was honored to have been elected for a one year term as Vice Chair in July 2023.

Having served this year as Vice Chair I am standing for election as Vice Chair (Operations), as I would welcome the opportunity to apply my higher education, leadership and governance experience to support the work of the National Office team, the wider Executive and membership through the Vice Chair (Operations) role.

As a director in a university with a strong widening participation mission, 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.

I am a committed, engaged and active member of the Executive team and over the last three years I have contributed to the work of AMOSSHE by:

  • As Vice Chair, co-leading the development of the new AMOSSHE strategy for the next five year period, with a focus on ensuring the strategic development of AMOSSHE aligns with the needs of our diverse membership.
  • Co-leading the planning for the 2023 National Conference (Inclusivity and Making Connections).
  • Co-leading the 2022 Winter Conference (Healthy Lifestyles).
  • Co-designing and leading professional development events with a particular focus on career development.
  • Representing AMOSSHE in the sector, including on the TASO (Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education) Mental Health Tool Kit Project, the HEMHIT (Higher Education Mental Health Implementation Taskforce) Learning and Development workstream, the ANUK (Accreditation Network UK) / Unipol Committee of Management and the Universities UK Accredited Code of Practice (for the management of residential accommodation) Sector Advisory group and Governance Board.

I have also been actively engaged in the development and delivery of the Resources workstream of AMOSSHE’s current strategic plan and the Professionalisation Project.

I have built positive and productive working relationships with the National Office team, and in working with the National Office, the Chair, and the wider Executive team my priorities as Vice Chair (Operations) would be to:

  • Support the National Office in the launch of our new strategic plan, ensuring they have the capacity, resources, and operational enablers to deliver our strategic priorities for the benefit of AMOSSHE, our members and the sector.
  • Support the continued growth of AMOSSHE to ensure our sector profile is maintained and our members are well supported to meet the ever evolving challenges of the higher education student support landscape.
  • Work collaboratively with the Vice Chair to develop and diversify our income streams to ensure the ongoing financial sustainability of AMOSSHE for the benefit of our members.
  • Work collaboratively with the Vice Chair (Professional Development), National Office and wider Executive team to re-commence the further development and implementation of the Professional Recognition and Career Development project to raise the profile of the value of Student Services in the sector and ensure our members have access to impactful and inclusive professional development pathways.

If I were successful in being elected as Vice Chair (Operations), I would consider it a privilege to work alongside the Chair, Executive and National Office to deliver impactful strategic priorities for our members and to represent Student Services in the sector.


Keith Houghton

Keith Houghton is Head of Student Support and Wellbeing at The University of Law. Keith takes the role of Executive Member for 2024 to 2026. Here's Keith's nomination statement.

I would like to be elected to the AMOSSHE Executive Committee to support colleagues to connect, share ideas and best practice with others, and collaborate to promote the vital work we do. I’ve been an AMOSSHE member for “several” years and have greatly valued the opportunities for learning and collaboration that the organisation facilitates. I have also worked with AMOSSHE colleagues in the past couple of years on the development of member resources and have chaired several AMOSSHE LASER (London and south east region) leads meetings.

I’m currently Head of Student Support and Wellbeing at The University of Law (ULaw) which was the first alternative provider in the UK to gain degree-awarding powers. Prior to this I spent nearly 20 years at a post-92 university, latterly in a leadership role, co-leading the Student Services function. ULaw is quite a unique organisation in that it does not have a single main campus but a geographical dispersed delivery model, which brings some fairly unique challenges in delivering effective support.

I am a really keen advocate of exploiting technological solutions to enhance the support offered to students, whether that be through apps to deliver supported self-help resources or implementation of robust management systems for handling casework and reporting. Working in a “for-profit” higher education provider also allows me to view support through a slightly different lens whether that is working effectively with third party providers or using alternative methods to deliver services whilst ensuring excellent student outcomes.

I look forward to being able to contribute and give back to this fantastic organisation by being a member of the Executive.


Ian Munton

Ian Munton is Director of Student Services at Aberystwyth University. Ian takes the role of Executive Member for 2024 to 2026. Here's Ian's nomination statement.

After being elected to the AMOSSHE Executive Committee in October 2023 I would love the opportunity to extend my time in representing the views of our amazing membership.

I can't quite believe it, but this is my 20th year working as a Student Services professional. In that time, I have done most things from Student Support Assistant to Director and lots in between. Leading brilliant services, amazing practitioners and professionals has been a huge privilege and something I wouldn’t have expected when starting out all that time ago.

AMOSSHE has played a significant role in my professional development. The organisation and you as a leadership network have continually and positively influenced my work and that of my teams and colleagues. The output from the National Office, Committee and our sector network has kept me informed and energized and I have benefitted from the opportunities that the Executive and National Office have enabled. Just this week for instance I am speaking at the Universities UK conference for Pro-Vice Chancellors for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion about the intersection between mental health and harassment / violence - I take each opportunity such as this seriously and do all I can to represent the views of a diverse community and bring back learning that will benefit us and the communities we support.

Through this time, I have, alongside friends and colleagues and with partners, within and beyond Student Services and higher education, developed practice that is student-centered, professional and which has driven forward the standards that we set individually and collectively. I have seen a lot, but importantly I continue to be excited every day, by the changing nature of the student and university experience and in wanting to do what is right and meaningful for our communities.

Having moved to Wales two years ago to take on the role of Director of Aberystwyth University I have gained a greater sense of how the same issues can perhaps play out differently depending on where we are, who we are and what is going on for each of us.

I have loved these past few months as an Executive Member and would be thrilled to get the opportunity to continue to work with the Executive and with colleagues and friends across the sector to do the best for us all, our teams and the students we support.


Angela Scanlon

Angela Scanlon is Director of Student & Graduate Success at Ulster UniversityAngela takes the role of Executive Member for 2024 to 2026. Here's Angela's nomination statement.

As a Professor of Higher Education and Director of Student and Graduate Success at Ulster University, I had over 30 years’ experience as a practitioner and educational leader. Throughout my career, I have established expertise across both further and higher education sectors, which includes employability and skills, widening access, and student wellbeing. Driven by a passion for student and graduate success I take pride in growing informed and confident leaders in both staff and students while respecting individual differences. I believe that education provides an incredible opportunity to overcome barriers and challenges throughout a person’s life. As a member of the AMOSSHE Executive I will commit to our strategy and values through:

  • Representing the professional community, ensuring that we maintain a sector leading position as a national network.
  • Respecting member needs and celebrating achievements.
  • Influencing and enabling members as change makers, in Student Services excellence to effect positive developments and impact on future generations of students.

Continuous improvement in Student Services and success at Ulster University has been enabled through my influence and leadership of academic and professional services communities, extending to engagement with external agencies and local government. Through stakeholder engagement and evidence based application I have secured substantial funding and supported innovation and change respecting equality, diversity, and inclusion. This has included NI Graduate Boost for disabled graduates, a new university framework for Graduate Attributes, and working to increase connections for successful services and through enhanced infrastructure and networks bringing students and staff together with a common purpose for success. Recognised as a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy I remain committed to building relationships and communities of practice who work together to make a difference. Many thanks for taking time to consider my nomination.


Andy Shanks

Andy Shanks is Director of Student Wellbeing at the University of EdinburghAndy takes the role of Executive Member for 2024 to 2026. Here's Andy's nomination statement.

I believe passionately in the power that higher education has to transform people’s lives, and I would be hugely honoured and grateful if you voted for me to continue as a member of the AMOSSHE Executive team. I am very excited about the opportunity to shape and contribute influentially to the future of our profession. I am keen to ‘put something back' into (a) the organisation that has been so supportive during my seven years working in my current role; and (b) the sector that provides us with opportunities to enable students to flourish and achieve great things. I have enjoyed my six months on the Executive immensely, focusing on engaging members with discussions on important policy areas, as well as sharing good practice and representing AMOSSHE within the Mental Health Implementation Taskforce.

Before moving to my current role as Director of Student Wellbeing at the University of Edinburgh, I worked for twenty years as a mental health social worker and then a senior manager within statutory mental health and social care services in London and Edinburgh. I learned a great deal during that time, and I have brought with me into higher education an awareness of (a) the value of taking a strategic approach; (b) the benefits the person-centred model brings within our work in Student Services; and (c) the significant, positive impact that working effectively in collaboration and partnership across team, departmental and organisational boundaries brings to people’s lives.

If elected to the Executive, I will bring passion, energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the role. I have a keen interest in the areas of student mental health and wellbeing; tackling gender-based violence; access and inclusion; widening participation and tackling discrimination; student engagement; continuous service improvement; and the positive impact that physical activity and sport can play in enabling students to thrive.

I will focus on how best we can deliver on these agendas, with a strong emphasis on ensuring we work closely with sector partners (for example UMHAN, Universities UK and HUCS). Edward Peck’s work on student support and the interest of the devolved governments in student mental health and wellbeing provide significant, current opportunities for positive change within the sector. I am deeply committed to ensuring AMOSSHE continues to play a key role in shaping and influencing this work.


Sammy Li

Sammy Li is Assistant Director of Student Affairs (Postgraduate and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion) at the University of BirminghamSammy takes the role of Executive Member for 2024/25 academic year. Here's Sammy's nomination statement.

I have had the privilege of twice being elected by AMOSSHE members to the Executive Committee over the past three years. I would value you placing your trust in me for re-electing the Executive Member position and continuing to serve alongside colleagues to support the development of Student Services and our students. AMOSSHE has played a pivotal part in my transition from an academic to a Student Services leader. I am grateful for the collegiality of the AMOSSHE community, and I am committed to contributing to this community through my elected role.

During my terms on the Executive Committee, I have undertaken a range of roles and developed a strong working relationship with the National Office. This has equipped me with a comprehensive understanding of AMOSSHE. I believe that I have the skills, capacity, and commitment to continue contributing to the leadership of AMOSSHE.

I have advocated for the voices of members by representing AMOSSHE at national platforms and international speaking opportunities. I have also invested in contributing to AMOSSHE’s governance by having served as a lead Executive Member for membership, resourcing, strategic planning, and EDI. Moreover, I have utilised my network and expertise to support the professional development of AMOSSHE members and widen our leadership pipeline. A selection of my achievements include:

  • Co-chair, 2024 National Conference and continuing professional development events.
  • Leading the development of the new AMOSSHE strategy 2025 to 2030.
  • Overseeing the development of the new AMOSSHE website and member engagement campaigns, such as early career reduced conference delegate fees.
  • Representing AMOSSHE to share insights with UK sectoral bodies and EU universities.
  • Serving as an AMOSSHE representative at the Living Black at University Commission and the Higher Diversity Coalition.
  • Diversifying speakers from the UK, Europe and Asia to present at AMOSSHE events.
  • Developing a new AMOSSHE EDI policy and inclusive events guidance.

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