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  • 14 February 2024 16:30 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The High Court ruled today on a hearing relating to student mental health, reasonable adjustments and the extent of higher education providers’ duties towards their students.

    Mr Justice Linden considered an appeal from the University of Bristol and upheld the original decision that the university had failed to make reasonable adjustments, thereby failing to exercise their duties under the Equality Act 2010, in the case of Natasha Abrahart.

    However, he didn’t express a view ‘in relation to the judge’s findings about the claim in negligence’ and the wider implications that this would have for universities in England and Wales.

    AMOSSHE recognises the significance of the High Court ruling today.

    Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy. Our hearts go out to Natasha’s family and every other family that has lost a loved one to suicide. It is crucial that universities continue to learn lessons, implement recognised best practice and work closely with the NHS and other partners so that students can thrive in safe and healthy environments.

    AMOSSHE will carefully consider the implications of the ruling. We remain committed to working with our members, sector partners, government, the NHS and bereaved families to identify, implement and share best practice in student mental health and all aspects of student support, including through our engagement with the Higher Education Mental Health Implementation Taskforce.

  • 24 November 2023 10:09 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    AMOSSHE bulletin (opens in a new window)Here's the AMOSSHE bulletin for autumn 2023: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 18 MB).

    In this bulletin find out about a new resource for the higher education sector to help Student Services improve support for student mental health.

    Also, find out more about our members who were elected to the Executive Committee this year, including our Chair and new Vice Chair. There's also our latest research about service provision, our National Conference call for session proposals, and more.

    The bulletin also features updates from AMOSSHE's annual sponsors, whose support helps us deliver our programme of work and who help keep us in touch with developments and research in the sector.

  • 20 October 2023 09:40 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Universities can now access a new online resource to support the rising number of students reporting mental health difficulties. The Student Mental Health Evidence Hub is an open access digital resource that provides information and guidance for the higher education sector to improve support for student mental health.

    The hub was developed by TASO (Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education) and a consortium of expert partners including AMOSSHE, with the support of a dedicated student panel. It will assist higher education practitioners responsible for designing and implementing interventions to support student mental health. It includes guidance on evaluating existing programmes of support, examples of current practice, and a toolkit outlining the evidence base of what works and mapping it to the University Mental Health Charter.

    Reported mental health difficulties among university students have almost tripled in recent years, according to a recent analysis by The Policy Institute at King’s College London and TASO. The Student Mental Health Evidence Hub reveals:

    • A need for more rigorous evaluation of existing programmes of support for student mental health in UK higher education, as there is currently a lack of evidence on what works in this context.
    • A strong evidence base on psychological support approaches, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness, but a need to evaluate non-clinical strategies to improve student mental health, such as interventions designed to promote behavioural or lifestyle changes, education, and self-care.

    The evidence in the hub focuses on interventions designed to improve mental health in higher education specifically, and doesn't cover the wider evidence base on mental health support for other adult populations. The hub doesn't include toolkit pages for suicide prevention interventions, or online interventions, as these were beyond the scope of this project. The hub doesn't cover the use of data analytics to support student mental health.

    Access the resources here: Student Mental Health Evidence Hub.

    UK government Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon said:

    “All students deserve high-quality, evidence-based mental health support, no matter where they choose to study. So it is great that TASO has responded to government calls to prioritise support in this area with a new online Hub which will provide universities with the resources they need to improve their existing programmes. This aligns with our three pillared approach to supporting mental health – funding vital services, spreading best practice, and setting clear responsibilities for providers. This is about championing social justice and giving students from all backgrounds the tools they need to make the most of their university experience, knowing that a safety net is in place should they need it.”

    Dr Omar Khan, Chief Executive, TASO said:

    “The recent rise in the number of students reporting mental health difficulties is staggering. We know that some student groups are more likely to report a mental health condition, such as students previously on free school meals. A lack of adequate support for student mental health can exacerbate and entrench existing inequalities. Students deserve to receive tried and tested support that we know will make a difference to their mental health and wellbeing. The new Student Mental Health Evidence Hub launched today provides the resources needed to start this work and I hope it will spur on more evidence-informed practice.”

    Professor Edward Peck, UK government Student Support Champion and Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University said:

    “Evidence and evaluation play a crucial role in advancing our understanding of what works to support student mental health. TASO’s Student Mental Health Evidence Hub is a valuable resource which will enable practitioners working in higher education to develop ever more robust approaches to supporting students.”

    The project has been managed by a consortium of five expert partner organisations to ensure the hub’s value to the sector: AMOSSHE, SMaRteN (led by King’s College London), Student Minds, and What Works Wellbeing, with TASO as the lead partner. The Student Panel included students from various backgrounds, courses and higher education providers, all with an interest in promoting student mental health. The panel provided insights into how students experience current support systems in higher education.

    The project was funded by the Office for Students to highlight and bring together existing evidence of effective interventions to support student mental health in higher education.

  • 04 October 2023 17:17 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    AMOSSHE has appointed three new Executive Members to take roles on our Executive Committee for the 2023/24 academic year. Following an elections process Ian Munton (Director of Student Services, Aberystwyth University) and Andy Shanks (Director of Student Wellbeing, University of Edinburgh) have been elected as Executive Members. In addition, Sally Lambah (Student Advice and Guidance Manager, Wrexham University) joins the Executive Committee to take the vacant space created when Emma Bales was elected as the Vice Chair of AMOSSHE for one year.

    Thank you to all our members who put themselves forward for election. Thanks too to Claire Slater (University of Bristol) who is stepping down from her role as Executive Member after five years. Many thanks to Claire for everything she has contributed to AMOSSHE.

    Here are the nomination statements for our new Executive Members:

    Sally Lambah

    Sally Lambah is Student Support Manager at Wrexham University. Here’s Sally’s nomination statement.

    I would like to be elected for the role of Executive member, I have worked in education for over 25 years and have worked in a university setting for the last four years. I connect with AMOSSHE to support the running of the department I work in and the knowledge and information gained by being a member of AMOSSHE helps my team and I provide the best service we can, and therefore being a Executive Member will support my university, but I can also bring my experience and knowledge to the AMOSSHE team. I also feel that to have a representative from Welsh universities on the Executive would add a different perspective, as we have different funding and requirements, that can be shared with other universities across the United Kingdom, and they share with us. So I would like to contribute to AMOSSHE and support all our universities across the UK.

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    Ian Munton

    Ian Munton is Director of Student Services at Aberystwyth University. Here’s Ian’s nomination statement.

    I would love the opportunity to represent our amazing AMOSSHE professional community as a member of the Executive Committee. Having moved to Wales two years ago to take on the role of Director of Student Services at Aberystwyth University I feel I am now suitably settled (professionally and personally) to meet the responsibilities that elected members of the Executive committee must commit to and uphold. If elected I would do all I could to work together with the Executive and with colleagues and friends across the sector to do the very best for us all, our teams and colleagues and the students that we support.

    I have worked as a Student Services Practitioner for over 20 years and been a Head / Director of Services for fourteen of those years, and 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 some of the opportunities that the Executive and National Office have enabled, including being a former member of the Committee, representing us at an international conference and engaging in important sector discussions.

    Through this time, I have worked alongside friends and colleagues within the institutions and with partners, within and beyond Student Services and higher education, to develop practice that is student-centred, professional and which has driven forward the standards that we set individually and collectively. I have had the great pleasure of working with brilliant people and leading teams that make up the breadth of our important work, including Mental Health and Wellbeing, Careers and Employability, Accessibility Services, Library and Learning Services, ResLife and Accommodation, Childcare services and others, and I have seen a lot, but I continue to be motivated and 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.

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    Andy Shanks

    Andy Shanks is Director of Student Wellbeing at the University of Edinburgh. 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 join 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 six years working in my current role; and (b) the sector that provides us with opportunities to enable students to flourish and achieve great things.

    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). The work of Edward Peck 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.

    Find out more about the AMOSSHE Executive Committee.

  • 25 August 2023 11:18 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    AMOSSHE bulletin (opens in a new window)Here's the AMOSSHE bulletin for summer 2023: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 18 MB).

    In this bulletin find out about progress with our five year strategy, and our engagement with higher education sector stakeholders to inform and influence.

    Also, get an overview of our recent events and conferences, as well as some key findings from our member research about mental health and wellbeing services. Interested in joining AMOSSHE to access our network and all our great resources? Find out more about that here too.

    The bulletin also features updates from AMOSSHE's annual sponsors, whose support helps us deliver our programme of work and who help keep us in touch with developments and research in the sector.

  • 20 July 2023 08:44 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    AMOSSHE members have voted to elect Emma Bales (Director of Student Services, University of Cumbria) to be the Vice Chair of AMOSSHE for the 2023 to 2024 term of office.

    This role became vacant because Kirsteen Coupar, who was appointed to the role of Vice Chair in May 2023, stepped down from the role.

    In the spring Emma was elected as an Executive Member for two years, so this role became vacant when when she was elected as Vice Chair. Therefore Paul Rossi (University of the Arts London) has become an Executive Member for two years (he was originally elected for a one year term).

    Congratulations to Emma, and thank you to all the nominees for taking part in the election. 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. I have been a member of the AMOSSHE Executive team since July 2021. I am standing for election as Vice Chair as I would welcome the opportunity to apply my higher education, leadership, and governance experience in the Vice Chair 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.

    Over the last two years on the Executive team 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) Sector Advisory group and Governance Board.

    • Co-leading the planning for the 2023 National Conference (Inclusivity and Making Connections).

    I have also been actively engaged in the development and delivery of the Resources workstream of AMOSSHE’s strategic plan and the Professional Recognition and Career Development Project.

    In working with the National Office, the Chair, and the wider Executive team my priorities as Vice Chair would be to:

    • Support the co-ordination of the delivery of our priority projects through the final year of our 2019-2024 strategic plan.

    • Support the Chair in leading the refresh of the AMOSSHE strategy, ensuring that through appropriate membership and stakeholder engagement the future strategic development of AMOSSHE aligns with the needs of our diverse membership.

    • Work collaboratively with the Vice Chair (Operations), National Office and wider Executive team to further develop and implement 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, 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.

    Find out more about the 2023 Executive elections: AMOSSHE elects new Executive Committee members for 2023-2025.

    Find out more about the AMOSSHE Executive Committee.

  • 02 June 2023 11:15 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    AMOSSHE members, and higher education providers more widely, are deeply committed to supporting the welfare and wellbeing of their students and staff.

    Every student lost to suicide is a tragedy, and we will always strive as a sector to ensure that universities provide a safe environment in which students can thrive.

    Higher education has been established to be a protective factor for students. The suicide rate among students is significantly lower than in the general population (1). This suggests the impact of the critical work that is being carried out by colleagues across the sector, both academically and pastorally, to support our students.

    Nevertheless, we recognise it is important that universities identify areas for improvement or where practice may have fallen short of the high standards we and our students expect.

    We have been supporting our members to embed the Universities UK (UUK) Suicide Safer framework, including their recent guidance, developed in partnership with AMOSSHE, Papyrus and those with lived experience of bereavement, on sharing information with trusted contacts and postvention approaches. The sector is demonstrably making significant progress in this area. According to recent research from UUK, 100% of responding universities had adopted or are in the process of adopting their postvention guidance, and the vast majority had adopted or are adopting the guidance on trusted contacts.

    We stand with those bereaved in seeking improvements in professional support for students experiencing declining mental health. It is the NHS, not universities, that should provide this clinical support. As such, AMOSSHE members are also calling for more funding to be allocated to the NHS to support student mental health.

    However, AMOSSHE does not believe that an additional legal statutory duty of care is the right approach for embedding the wider improvements we are committed to, and that have been identified by bereaved families and the LEARN Network.

    UK higher education providers are already subject to a general duty of care, which requires them to not cause harm to their students through careless omissions, duties under the Equality Act (2010) to put in place support for people with disabilities (including mental health conditions), section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, and duties around the protection of children and vulnerable adults. Whilst we recognise that more work is needed to ensure that university colleagues understand their responsibilities under these laws, we are concerned that an additional duty of care would not deliver the desired outcome.

    The vast majority of students are independent adults, many of whom (about 85%) do not live on university campuses or in student accommodation. Higher education providers can only ever have limited control over the lives of their students. The only realistic way higher education providers would be able to prevent students from self-harm would be to monitor students in a manner similar to that of a healthcare or prison setting, which would be disproportionate and inappropriate given that a higher education provider’s primary purpose is to provide education and support the development of independent learning.

    Additionally, although many higher education providers have skilled staff such as wellbeing practitioners, their focus is on the support for students in their time at university, not to diagnose or treat mental ill health. A duty of care, if this purports to prevent self-harm, would place unrealistic expectations over what higher education providers can control.

    We are concerned, therefore, that an additional duty of care will make it more likely that higher education providers will take a risk averse approach, and this will ultimately create more barriers to participation at university. For example, there is a danger that higher education providers may lower their threshold for using fitness to study procedures to remove students from learning environments, instead of providing holistic support to enable students to continue their studies.

    Whilst we do not agree that a legal duty of care is the right way to facilitate the adoption of good practice across the sector, we sympathise with and support many of the LEARN Network’s aims and proposed actions.

    We support the continued adoption of a whole institution approach to student health and wellbeing, including:

    • Reviewing how academic attendance and performance issues are communicated and monitored.
    • Ensuring that fitness to study / fitness to practise procedures focus on support to remain at university wherever possible.
    • Improving training for academic and professional services staff on identifying and raising concerns about a student’s welfare and on the implementation of reasonable adjustments in the learning environment.
    • Improving referral pathways between universities and the NHS, and learning from good practice that already exists in the sector.
    • Implementing key UUK guidance, for example on sharing information with trusted contacts and postvention approaches, including conducting reviews where a death is a suspected suicide.

    We also recognise that designing and sharing good practice is only one part of the equation and that more needs to be done to demonstrate how the sector is measuring and evaluating the impact of institutional approaches. We are fully committed to working with sector partners to identify relevant metrics to measure progress and ensure that there is a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

    AMOSSHE will continue to work with our members, sector partners and the LEARN Network to identify and develop good practice that supports our students’ wellbeing and learning outcomes.

    1) Office for Statistics (2022). Estimating suicide among higher education students, England and Wales: Experimental Statistics: 2017 to 2020.

  • 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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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  • 23 May 2023 10:55 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    AMOSSHE bulletin (opens in a new window)Here's the AMOSSHE bulletin for spring 2023: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 15 MB).

    In this bulletin find out about our upcoming National Conference, which takes place in Belfast and online, and explores the theme 'inclusivity and making connections'.

    Also, get an overview of our work related to inclusivity and support for disabled students, and helping students with the rising cost of living. And find out our recommendations for the Office for Students in response to their consultation about tackling harassment and sexual misconduct.

    The bulletin also features updates from AMOSSHE's annual sponsors, whose support helps us deliver our programme of work and who help keep us in touch with developments and research in the sector.

  • 11 May 2023 08:27 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    AMOSSHE has responded to the Office for Students (OfS) consultation on a new approach to regulating harassment and sexual misconduct in English higher education. We recognise the seriousness of harassment and sexual misconduct, and we're committed to supporting practical and well evidenced solutions. We consulted widely with our members throughout the consultation process, and established member working groups, which informed the development of our key positions.

    While AMOSSHE is prepared, in principle, to support a new condition of registration, the proposals need to be revised for it to be workable for the sector. Sensible regulation must strike the right balance between providing guidance on how higher education providers can achieve good practice, and ensuring that proposals are not too prescriptive or ‘one size fits all’, given the diversity of institutions across the sector and the different contexts in which they operate. Our consultation response sets out what revisions are needed for AMOSSHE to support the condition and offers alternative solutions where possible.

    Read our consultation response

    Find out more about the consultation: Consultation on a new approach to regulating harassment and sexual misconduct in English higher education.

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