AMOSSHE elects a new Chair, Vice Chair and Executive Members

11 July 2018 17:55 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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:

  • Jayne Aldridge (Director for the Student Experience, University of Sussex) takes the role of AMOSSHE Chair. For the last year Jayne has been seconded to this role. Her new election means that she will be AMOSSHE Chair until August 2020.
  • Fay Sherrington (Director of Student Services, Edge Hill University) takes the role of Vice Chair for another two years.

The nominees elected to the four Executive Member roles are:

  • Rotimi Akinsete (Director of Wellbeing, University of Surrey)
  • Kirsteen Coupar (Director of Student Services, London South Bank University)
  • Helen McNeely (Head of Student Affairs, Queen's University Belfast)
  • Claire Slater (Head of Student Support, Keele University)

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!

Elected members 2018

Some of the newly elected Executive members (left to right): Claire Slater, Simon Lee, Jayne Aldridge, Helen McNeely and Fay Sherrington.

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Thanks to our outgoing Executive members

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! 

Nomination statements

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 (Chair)

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.

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Fay Sherrington (Vice Chair)

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.

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Rotimi Akinsete

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.

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Kirsteen Coupar

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:

  • To respond proactively to the current student mental health crisis.
  • To develop the way we receive disclosures of sexual violence and hate crime.
  • To provide effective services with shrinking resources.
  • To make staff feel valued and provide progression opportunities.
  • To ensure that the value of Student Services is recognised by senior leaders.

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.

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Simon Lee

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:

  • Developed and implemented the “When to Refer” methodology of student support, which has now been adopted by many universities across the UK.
  • Led an AMOSSHE Insight project into multi-faith spaces on campus – some will remember building models of these spaces on the final morning of the 2015 conference.
  • Represented AMOSSHE on the 2015 NASPA study visit to Colorado.
  • Spoke at a range of conferences arranged by Universities UK, AMOSSHE and others across the UK on the vital work of Student Services.

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.

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Helen McNeely

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:

  • Work with the wider Executive to promote the voice of student support professionals to be represented at the highest level of policy making and influence.
  • Assist with the design and delivery of relevant and engaging continuing professional development events for colleagues, including the national conference.
  • Continue to advocate for those of us in devolved administrations, helping ensure that, as the sector fragments, Student Services continues to work together for the benefit of our staff and the users of our services.

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.

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Claire Slater

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