AMOSSHE elects new Executive Committee members

18 July 2019 15:59 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The AMOSSHE annual general meeting earlier this month featured an announcement of the results of the AMOSSHE Executive Committee elections.

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 Vice Chair roles, so these appointments didn't require a membership vote. But six 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, who will serve for the 2019 to 2021 term of office, are as follows:

  • Helen McNeely (Queen’s University Belfast) takes the role of Vice Chair (Operations).
  • Nic Streatfield (York St John University) continues in his role as Vice Chair (Professional Development).

The four Executive Members, elected following a membership ballot, are:

  • Angela Gardiner (University of Hull)
  • Simon Lee (Teesside University)
  • Jill Stevenson (University of Stirling)
  • Chris Warrington (University of Leeds)

Also, Helen McNeely was elected as an Executive Member last year but will now move to the Vice Chair (Operations) role for the next two years. This means that an Executive Member role will be available for one year. This will be taken by Lesley O’Keeffe (Brunel University London).

Congratulations and welcome to all our new Executive members! They will begin their term of office from 1 August 2019.

The Executive team also gave their thanks to the outgoing Vice Chair (Operations) Nicole Redman (University of East London), and acknowledged her huge contribution to the work of 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.

Helen McNeely (Vice Chair Operations)

Helen McNeely (Head of Student Affairs, Queen’s University Belfast) takes the role of AMOSSHE Vice Chair (Operations). Here’s Helen’s nomination statement:

I have been on the AMOSSHE Executive Committee for the last five years and am currently mid-way through my current term. I am therefore not due for re-election until next year, but as the role of Vice Chair (Operations) has become available I am standing for that post.

Having been involved with the AMOSSHE Executive Committee for the last five years, and in particular worked with the National Office on a number of continuing professional development (CPD) events, I have a good understanding of the organisation. My priorities in the role are to continue to support and further develop the capacity of the National Office to support the ambitions of the organisation. We are a diverse group of professionals working in an increasingly important part of the sector - AMOSSHE has ambitions to influence policy as well as equip our members in the many and varied roles we have. However, these ambitions can only be realised if we have a good underpinning support structure - namely our governance structure and the National Office. The Vice Chair (Operations) plays an important role in this relationship, therefore in this role I would like to both play my part in shaping the ambitions as well as helping deliver them alongside the other Executive members and the National Office team.

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Nic Streatfield (Vice Chair Professional Development)

Nic Streatfield (Head of Student Services, York St John University) takes the role of AMOSSHE Vice Chair (Professional Development). Here’s Nic’s nomination statement:

I am Head of Student Services at York St John University and manage a wide range of student support teams. I have been a volunteer on the AMOSSHE Executive Committee for four years now, spending the last two as AMOSSHE Vice Chair (Professional Development) where I have helped to expand the number and range of AMOSSHE continuing professional development (CPD) events. Working with our amazing AMOSSHE National Office staff and consulting with AMOSSHE colleagues from across the four nations I have worked hard to ensure high quality CPD events that reflect the current range of issues members are facing. Aside from strategic oversight of AMOSSHE CPD I have, amongst other things, worked on the AMOSSHE benchmarking survey, website development, mentored AMOSSHE Insight projects, helped develop the Resilience Toolkit and have represented AMOSSHE at national and international events. I also co-wrote the Advance HE Getting to Grips with Safeguarding guide for university governors published in 2018.

I am a Cognitive Analytical Therapist and worked in university counselling and wellbeing services for over ten years at the Universities of Manchester, Sheffield, York, Leeds and Royal Holloway before becoming Head of Student Services in 2013. I was a trustee for Mental Wealth UK and was on the board that negotiated the merger with another student-led charity to form what is now Student Minds. I have a written a chapter for the forthcoming Sage publication Student Mental Health and Wellbeing in HE: A practical guide for universities, which is due out later this year.

Outside of work I am a FA qualified coach and manage my daughters' football team. I have also run three marathons, which required a lot of perseverance and were tiring, sometimes painful and certainly challenging, but ultimately were very rewarding [insert your own joke about similarity to Student Services here].

My colleagues would describe me as creative and imaginative in providing solutions to problems, calm and tactful in dealing with complex issues, and as a respected, reliable and consistent team player. I have a collaborative leadership style and encourage staff to talk things through to engage their teams and create a shared ownership of solutions. I have completed the Leadership Foundation's Future Professional Directors course and I am also a professional coach working on the Yorkshire Accord programme. I have approached my current Vice Chair (Professional Development) role with the same curious, collective approach by listening to members to ensure that excellent, stimulating and relevant CPD events are delivered. I will work to continue to offer great value CPD events covering the multitude of issues Student Services staff face, being mindful of emerging challenges and of the importance of putting on CPD events that focus on the less "popular" issues, which nonetheless impact upon our students. I will also expand the developmental aspect of AMOSSHE CPD in line with our strategy to equip members with the professional skills, knowledge and networks to influence change and enhance student success.

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Angela Gardiner (Executive Member)

Angela Gardiner (Director of Student Services, University of Hull) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Angela’s nomination statement:

I have worked within higher education for over 24 years across three distinct areas: clinical practice, as a senior academic and head of department, and currently within professional services. Each area has enabled me to develop a diverse range of knowledge, skills and experience as a result. I bring a unique set of skills, knowledge and experience that can make a positive contribution to AMOSSHE and the future profile of Student Services within the sector.

As Director of Student Services at the University of Hull I have responsibility for a range of areas and activities, including registry, careers and employability, student support, student information systems, central student hub, and student engagement and transition - all of which have a direct link to a number of key agenda areas within the sector. A key focus for the sector is the student experience, and the work of AMOSSHE can ensure that the significance of Student Services in contributing to this agenda is recognised, and I am keen to support this important area of AMOSSHE activity.

I am committed to enhancing the opportunities and outcomes of under-represented and disadvantaged groups and individuals, and I feel the work of Student Service areas can make a significant contribution to this. The AMOSSHE network of organisations can provide an excellent conduit to drive this agenda and contribute to delivering the ambitious targets of the Office for Students, at the same time highlighting the value of Student Services within the sector.

Collaboration, collegiality and partnership working have always been at the centre of my work, and the opportunity to engage with this on a national basis is exciting, as well as crucial in the drive for service enhancement and excellence, which is of paramount importance in light of the current challenges the sector faces.

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Simon Lee (Executive Member)

Simon Lee (Deputy Director - Student and Library Services, Teesside University) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Simon's nomination statement:

I am currently a member of the AMOSSHE Executive Committee, having been appointed in 2018, and I would relish the chance to continue to work alongside my colleagues to support the development and recognition of the great work of Student Services.

In my short time on the Executive I have embraced both the challenges and opportunities that being part of the committee offers. I have ensured I attend all committee meetings and hope I have contributed to the development of AMOSSHE and our profession. Examples include:

  • I was joint-lead for the Winter Conference in Cardiff, "Data-driven, technology-enabled services for students", and was part of the panel leading our approach to this year's AMOSSHE Insight awards.
  • On behalf of the Executive Committee I will be representing AMOSSHE at: NASMA conference - leading sessions on boundaries and resilience; a Universities UK roundtable on student initiations; and I will chair a national conference on student safeguarding.
  • Working closely with my Executive colleagues, I have supported the development of the new AMOSSHE strategy, and am taking the lead on its evaluation framework to provide further evidence of the impact of Student Services. I hope to be able to continue this by being re-elected to Executive.

My day job is Deputy Director - Student and Library Services at Teesside University, where I lead a range of key student support functions including: Finance and Welfare support, International Advice, Counselling, Sport, and our multi-faith Chaplaincy. I enjoy tackling the more challenging issues facing Student Services, having researched the management of multi-faith spaces for AMOSSHE, and I am the newly-appointed Chair of the North East Regional Prevent Group.

If elected to remain on the Executive Committee I will continue to dedicate myself to the work of AMOSSHE and our commitments to providing effective support, research and professional development for our members.

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Lesley O'Keeffe (Executive Member)

Lesley O'Keeffe (Deputy Director Academic and Student Services, Brunel University London) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Lesley’s nomination statement:

Having held various roles in Student Services for seven years, and higher education more widely for 18 years, I've followed the work of AMOSSHE closely. It has provided me with examples of best practice, new ideas and networking opportunities, which I've used to improve the student experience at Brunel. I would now like to be part of the team that provides this professional support to other Student Services colleagues throughout the sector, and be part of shaping higher education for the better.

I would bring experience of change management, strategic and operational expertise, and an ability to connect and communicate with stakeholders in the sector.

Over the past few years I have worked to improve the Student Services provision within Brunel by changing the structure of the support available, ensuring services are more resilient to the changing regulatory and student expectations and demands. These changes have enabled Brunel to be more agile in responding to our students' needs, and to provide a more holistic service. Alongside this I have written, launched and been audited externally on our Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Students, which puts student wellbeing at the centre of everything we do.

Across the sector I have worked on sharing Brunel's response to the Changing the Culture guidelines, as well as running external conferences to share best practice around student welcome activities.

I am passionate about external engagement, as I think that we will best develop as a sector if we share what works, and what doesn't! Being a member of the AMOSSHE Executive feels like a natural next step for me, to be able to help shape the future of student support in UK higher education.

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Jill Stevenson (Executive Member)

Jill Stevenson (Head of Student Support Services / Dean of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, University of Stirling) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Jill’s nomination statement:

I have been serving on the AMOSSHE Executive for two years, and would love the opportunity to serve a further term. I believe that I have contributed significantly to AMOSSHE, and that I have so much more to give, which will, I hope, benefit all of our members, Student Services, and our students.

I have recently been appointed as Dean of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at the University of Stirling, which I believe will provide me with a stronger platform to promote the value of all Student Services in delivering a world class student experience.

During my first term as an AMOSSHE Executive Member, I have:

  • Led the re-write of the five-year AMOSSHE strategy (now out for consultation).
  • Co-led the 2018 Winter Conference "Building Belonging".
  • Co-led the 2019 National Conference in Birmingham.
  • Represented members nationally / internationally on topics including gender-based / sexual violence, mental health and wellbeing, and student experience, including sharing our Resilience Toolkit with European partners and publishing a report for the sector on developments in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Ensured that the perspectives of home nations institutions are considered in all aspects of planning and delivery of AMOSSHE activities - this has resulted in more Scottish speakers and examples of good practice being showcased at events.
  • Represented Scottish universities on Scottish Government working groups on Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Equally Safe (GBV), and lobbied for increased investment in Student Services to support this work.

If re-elected, I will continue to proactively, enthusiastically and professionally represent our members to lobby for increased recognition of the impact of Student Services on the student experience and student success. I am also keen for the Executive to increasingly involve our members in our influencing and developmental work, ensuring that we maximise the talent and experience that exists across our membership.

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Chris Warrington (Executive Member)

Chris Warrington (Head of Student Support, The University of Leeds) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Chris’s nomination statement:

I'm fully committed to the importance of AMOSSHE and passionate about the role it plays in supporting colleagues as they address the pressures and challenges facing Student Services and higher education. Having served with the current Executive and National Office teams for the last two years I think we've made great progress and are ready to continue the development of AMOSSHE towards new goals and with even greater impact in the sector.

I am Head of Student Support at the University of Leeds and, like many AMOSSHE members, have responsibility for the disability, mental health and wellbeing services along with international student support. Alongside leading the teams delivering these services, my role involves enabling the wider university community to engage with the ways in which students are supported to achieve their aims and ambitions to be successful after university, whatever they choose to do.

I am standing again for re-election to the AMOSSHE Executive as I would like the opportunity to continue with the important work I've undertaken over the last two years, which has included:

  • Working with the wider Executive to promote the voice of Student Services professionals, to influence policy-making and ensure that our important work is represented.
  • Working as part of a team to design and deliver relevant and engaging continuing professional development events for colleagues, including the National Conference.
  • Promoting the importance of regional networks and meetings to provide accessible opportunities for a wide range of colleagues to engage and network.

I'd really value your support for my appointment to the Executive, and would love the opportunity to continue to do so for the next two years.

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