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  • 29 June 2011 16:58 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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.

  • 09 June 2011 10:28 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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:

    • It underpins the evidence base for the contribution of student support services in HE,when the HE student experience is perhaps in sharper focus than ever before.
    • It forms part of the continued development of professionalism in the student services community and the increasingly strategic approach to the management and delivery of student service.
    • It leads to demonstrable and practical improvements in the delivery of student services, so contributing to improved student learning, achievement and success.

    Dr. Andrew West, Chair of AMOSSHE and Director of Student Services at the University of Sheffield said:

    "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 in due course.

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