Here's the latest news from AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation.
Today’s publication of the National Student Survey results show another improvement in student satisfaction with personal development provision at institutions across the UK. AMOSSHE members* often have lead responsibility for this work, and we are pleased to see this as a key area of improved satisfaction.
We commend the hard work and commitment of managers of Student Services and their teams across the UK in delivering high quality student experience. AMOSSHE will continue to work with our members towards continued improvement in the value and impact of student support services within the holistic student experience.
* 35% of respondents to the 2010 AMOSSHE members’ survey were responsible for study skills, 15% for English language skills, 69% for health promotion and 35.4 for volunteering.
Following a nominations process in May and June 2011, Liz Bromley, Director of Student Life at University of Salford has been reelected as AMOSSHE’s Vice Chair (Operations) and Dr. Gillian Jack, Director of Student Services at University of Glamorgan has been reelected as AMOSSHE’s Vice Chair (Finance).
Liz Bromley is Director of Student Life at University of Salford, responsible for a broad range of the non-academic aspects of the student experience. She works closely with the Students’ Union to ensure that the range of student support, including all advisory, welfare and faith matters at the University are appropriate for the diverse student body. Liz’s background includes working for the Open University for a number of years and being a magistrate. She sits on AMOSSHE’s National Executive Board and is Vice Chair (Operations), managing the National Office team and chairing the multi-faith knowledge community. On her reappointment, Liz said:
“Working at the heart of AMOSSHE as Vice Chair (Operations) for the past two years has been rewarding and fulfilling. I am very pleased to be continuing this in 2011/13, and look forward to continuing to work with the office team to support colleagues across Student Services in influencing public policy and advancing professionalism. AMOSSHE is a superb way to engage with the sector across the UK; I encourage everyone to get involved.”
As Director of Student Services in the University of Glamorgan, Dr. Gillian Jack is responsible for the strategic development of student support policies and procedures, and delivery across a multi sited diverse community. She has undertaken a variety of management roles at a strategic and operational level, in addition to specific project and programme management experience. Gill has been Vice Chair (Finance) of AMOSSHE since 2010 and worked closely with the National Office to improve financial reporting and policies for the organisation. On her reappointment, Gill said:
“AMOSSHE has changed considerably over recent years, and it is a privilege to be involved in shaping these developments and the delivery of a high quality student experience. I am committed to transparency for our members and enjoy working with the National Office and Executive to ensure we deliver the best possible value. As we support the sector to assess value and impact of all our services, being recognised for contributing to this aspect of our professional organisation is a fantastic opportunity.”
AMOSSHE is delighted to welcome the following colleagues to the Executive board, including a previous chair returning to the board: Ben Bailey, Senior Assistant Registrar at the University of Derby; Sara Doherty, Director of Services for Students, St. George’s, University of London; Dr. Chris Lusk, Director of Student Services, University of St. Andrews; Nicole Redman, Head of SMART team, University of East London; and Julie Walkling, Director of Student Services, Anglia Ruskin University. They will commence their appointments to the Executive Board on 1 September 2011 and serve until 31 August 2013.
Dr. Andrew West, Chair of AMOSSHE and Director of Student Services at the University of Sheffield, said:
“I am delighted to welcome these colleagues to the Executive at this exciting time for AMOSSHE, the Student Services Organisation. Our recently launched Value and Impact toolkit is a key element in our work supporting student services professionals across the sector, and the next year will be a critical and busy time for the Executive. I look forward to working with our new Executive group in the coming year.”
AMOSSHE responds to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) higher education white paper: 'Students at the heart of the system':
AMOSSHE welcomes the explicit recognition of Student Services and welfare provision as key higher education institution (HEI) services in the white paper published to parliament yesterday by David Willetts. ‘Students at the Heart of the System’ acknowledges the HEI’s duty of care and that good pastoral care can sometimes ‘make the difference between completing a course and dropping out.’ AMOSSHE also welcomes that the proposals around graduate skills and employability in many ways build on existing good practice, employer engagement and internship schemes. This is long overdue recognition of the contribution that support services make to the student experience, employability, and equipping students for life beyond university.
‘Students at the Heart of the System’ is a clear signal that AMOSSHE’s Value & Impact Toolkit could not be more timely. Using the value and impact approach, departments can understand the effect that their pastoral care has and support the statements made by government in the white paper. In meeting Access Agreement requirements and thresholds, institutions are asked to ‘focus on clear outputs from access activities and measurable progress against appropriate measures and targets.’ AMOSSHE proposes that institutions consider the Value & Impact Toolkit when thinking about these measures, and utilise the tools that will best enable them to assess their fair access and widening participation successes.
Dr. Andrew West, Chair of AMOSSHE and Director of Student Services at the University of Sheffield said:
‘We are pleased to see that the student experience is at the heart of the White Paper and that Student Services provision is explicitly recognised as a key HEI service, pointing in particular to the impact of student support on student success and retention. The evaluation toolkit ‘Understanding the Value and Impact of services that support students’ recently launched by AMOSSHE can support HEIs in assessing student services to ensure that they deliver support that makes a real positive difference to the student experience.’
AMOSSHE today issued a briefing note to its members highlighting the main points of interest in the White Paper as they relate specifically to Student Services. AMOSSHE will consider each of the consultations set out by the White paper, and will respond to these as appropriate. We will discuss the implications of the White Paper and our responses with related professional sector groups where appropriate. In particular, we have agreed to work with the Academic Registrars’ Council (ARC) on areas of synergy relating to the ‘Students at the Heart of the System,’ including consultation responses.
AMOSSHE is delighted to publish the toolkit resulting from its national Value & Impact project. The toolkit contains theoretical and practical guidance for managers looking to understand the value and impact of the services they deliver. In these stringent times amidst the rhetoric of fees, student experience, widening access and key information, it is essential that managers challenge themselves to understand and address the value and impact of their services.
Work to assess the value and impact of student support services is related to three key drivers and benefits:
"Value and Impact evaluation represents a rich, reflective process paying strong dividends in terms of improved user understanding, professional learning and service enhancement. The evaluation journey begins here - I wish you well in your travels!"
Professor John Craven, Chair of the Value and Impact Project Steering Group and Vice-Channcellor at the University of Portsmouth said:
"Now more than ever, it is essential that we understand the value that our services add to the student experience, and the impact that high performing services can have. I commend the outcomes of this project to you and look forward to its wide dissemination."
Far from being an end to AMOSSHE’s value and impact work, the toolkit is the first chapter of a significant journey. The project clearly exposed the need for work and change in approach to assessing services, which will represent considerable advances in professionalising the sector and supporting students in the most appropriate way for each institution. The toolkit is neither prescriptive nor a quick fix. The templates it provides should not be used in isolation or without fully considering the assessment context. Every institution and set of services is unique; this resource offers starting materials and concepts that can be adapted by managers to their institutional situation.
AMOSSHE thanks those involved in the project for their support in the past fifteen months. HEFCE’s LGM fund provided seedcorn funding that made this work possible, Universities UK championed the work and provided meeting and launch event space, and several sector wide professional bodies gave welcome advice. The project was guided by a steering group under the steady command of Professor John Craven, and further aided by a peer support group made up of student services professionals from across the UK. The four pilot HEIs, University of Brighton, University of East London, University of Surrey and University of York, committed incredible resource to this work, over and above anything AMOSSHE could have hoped for. Finally, the consultants CHERI were unswerving in their commitment to and tireless pursuit of toolkit materials. The outputs of the Value & Impact Project are truly from the sector and for the sector, as will AMOSSHE’s future work to support value and impact approaches.
The AMOSSHE toolkit is available in two formats: a full PDF and an online resource.
Two formal launch events are taking place: on 9 June 2011 at the University of Sheffield and 13 June 2011 at Woburn House, London. Slides will be on www.amosshe.org.uk in due course.
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AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation is a UK non-profit professional association. Company registration number 4778650.