Here's the latest news from AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation.
Racism and discrimination are unacceptable. The killing of George Floyd is a reminder that racism is a systemic challenge in our society. Sadly, this is true for the UK as well as for the USA. AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation is committed to creating communities based on dignity, respect and equal opportunities. The AMOSSHE Executive Committee and National Office stand in solidarity with Black colleagues, students, community leaders and all those fighting racial injustice and inequality across the world.
Everyone has the responsibility to understand and learn more about the impact of societal, structural, and institutional racism, and to work together to tackle this. It’s not just the responsibility of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) colleagues and students. It’s important that we listen to the voices of our Black colleagues and students when they describe their experiences of microaggressions, discrimination and racism and that we develop the skills and confidence to recognise and challenge these unacceptable behaviours. AMOSSHE aims to support our members in Student Services to do this, through our network, resources and professional development opportunities.
We are committed to promoting inclusive university communities that meet the diverse needs of our students. Our members can find professional development resources here about safeguarding and duty of care to all students, unconscious bias, and how Student Services can more effectively engage and support students from different racial, cultural and minority groups, so that these students feel comfortable, included and understood when accessing services.
We recently hosted a member discussion about access to and participation in higher education for underrepresented groups. And we’re planning to deliver a professional development event in the new academic year about understanding and appreciating intersectionality in order to effectively support students and staff.
We want to hear from our members to help us develop more resources and approaches to addressing racism in higher education. Contact us here.
Here's the AMOSSHE bulletin for spring 2020: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 4 MB).
Find out how our membership network of Student Services leaders has been responding to the pandemic crisis, putting student wellbeing and success at the heart of everything they do. Also, discover more about UK Student Services through the research we undertook late last year into the remit of our members' work, and the scale, scope and resources of counselling services.
As part of AMOSSHE's response to the COVID-19 situation, we've developed a programme of free webinars to support the sector with ongoing continuing professional development opportunities. Find out what's coming up, and join us!
This 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.
AMOSSHE is directed an Executive Committee of twelve members. Every year, half the roles on the committee become vacant, and all eligible members have the opportunity to nominate themselves to join the Executive team. This year, AMOSSHE members have voted to postpone the Executive elections in order to provide business continuity for our professional association and help ensure consistency of leadership through this unprecedented time of change.
This means that for 2020 only:
You can find out more about the AMOSSHE Executive Committee here: Who are we? and the AMOSSHE Rules of Association here: AMOSSHE governance.
The AMOSSHE Executive Committee has been reviewing our association’s strategy and programme of work in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation. The National Office team is working from home to support and enable our members, guided by the Executive team through virtual meetings. Here’s an update on our current position regarding AMOSSHE events.
The Executive Committee team has decided, with regret, to cancel the AMOSSHE National Conference 2020, which was due to take place in Newcastle upon Tyne in July.
This was a difficult decision to make, considering the importance of the conference for our member network and the development of the UK Student Services sector. However, on consideration of government guidance, the current priorities of our members, and the opportunities for members and sector colleagues to make the most of the conference, the team felt that cancellation is not only necessary but the most appropriate course of action.
AMOSSHE is still keen to ensure that those who would have attended the conference still have the opportunity to network, learn and share good practice. So we’re currently looking into opportunities to share content and enable networking remotely instead over the coming months.
In our last update we announced the postponement of two CPD (continuing professional development) day events in May. Our original plan was to hold these events in the first semester of the 2020/21 academic year instead. However, the Executive Committee has reviewed this and agreed that AMOSSHE will not host any physical CPD events until January 2021.
Instead of physical events in our usual format, AMOSSHE will aim to deliver CPD remotely through webinars, virtual meetings and suchlike. Look out for more information on our events page.
Following recent announcements and guidance by the UK government about COVID-19, the AMOSSHE Executive Committee and National Office team have made some decisions about how to manage upcoming AMOSSHE events. Here’s our current position on this.
We’re continuing to review the situation and we’ll provide further updates about our work when appropriate.
If you have any questions or concerns please get in touch with the National Office team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMOSSHE had planned to hold two continuing professional development day events in May. Considering the uncertainty of the current situation and the pressures faced by our members, the Executive Committee has decided to postpone these events until the new academic year.
The AMOSSHE National Conference is currently due to take place in Newcastle upon Tyne from 8 to 10 July 2020. At present we are planning to go ahead with this conference. However, in light of the most recent UK government advice, we are keeping this under active review, and will consider this again at our Executive Committee meeting taking place on 27 March. AMOSSHE will be guided by the information issued by the UK and devolved governments, so it’s possible that our decision will change accordingly.
Further information, including details about bookings and early bird discounts available for residential places, will be available after the Executive Committee meeting.
Here at AMOSSHE we realise that this is a very challenging time for our members and everyone working to support and enable students in higher education. Remember to look after yourself as much as possible in the midst of the pressure, and we encourage our members to reach out to our network for professional support and advice to help you steer your way.
In February 2020 AMOSSHE hosted a conference in Bath to explore aspects of mental health and wellbeing for Student Services leaders in higher education. Looking back on the event, conference lead and AMOSSHE Executive Member Jill Stevenson (Dean of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and Director of Student Services, University of Stirling) reflects on what we all learned.
It was a real privilege to co-chair the AMOSSHE Winter Conference with my Executive colleague, Simon Lee. This year’s theme was "mental health and wellbeing" which, as we all know, is probably the number one issue of concern for our students, their parents and supporters, and our staff who support them with such professionalism and dedication.
We really wanted to focus on some of the “big picture” issues, notably:
We had some fantastic, wide ranging conversations about all these topics and more, and we were thrilled to have a range of brilliant speakers to spark debate and widen all our perspectives.
All of our speakers were excellent, but I was particularly moved by Dominique Thompson’s opening keynote, which explored some of the reasons why students are presenting more and more often with conditions such as anxiety and depression. Her observations on fear of failure, perfectionism and competitiveness were really compelling.
It was also great to make more of our pre-conference evening session and to provide more opportunities for structured and informal networking. Cathy Gallagher’s opening address that evening struck some powerful chords around the role of sport and physical activity in enhancing wellbeing, and the opportunities that we can explore to forge stronger partnerships between sport and student services.
All in all, I came away feeling inspired and optimistic about the future in Student Services, and full of ideas about how AMOSSHE and our members can incorporate new learning into our new strategy and operational plan.
Thank you to everyone who attended - we hope you found the conference as useful and thought-provoking as we did!
AMOSSHE members can find all the resources from the conference here: Mental health and wellbeing.
Watch these interviews from the conference on Twitter:
Here's the AMOSSHE bulletin for winter 2020: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 2.9 MB).
In line with AMOSSHE's strategy, published in the autumn, we've been working to engage with higher education associations and colleagues around the world to share and learn from international expertise.
Find out in our winter bulletin what we've been up to, as well as updates about our recent professional development events in the UK. Our Winter Conference earlier this month was our biggest yet, focusing on mental health and wellbeing, and with restructures, student hubs and consolidating services big news for our members, in December we explored the challenges and opportunities for Student Services in this area.
AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation welcomes the launch of the University Mental Health Charter and its approach of defining key principles of good practice to improve staff and student mental health and wellbeing.
As part of the steering group for the charter, AMOSSHE worked closely with Students Minds and colleagues across the UK higher education sector to help shape the development of charter, and AMOSSHE members across the country have contributed their expertise and research, making this a truly sector-wide collaborative effort.
Jayne Aldridge, Chair of AMOSSHE said: “The introduction of this critical document signals an important step in supporting the wellbeing of everyone who studies or works within UK higher education.”
AMOSSHE's strategy as a professional association for Student Services leaders closely aligns to the vision of the charter: to enable higher education providers to continue to promote the mental health and wellbeing of all members of the university community. AMOSSHE aims to nurture a collaborative, skilled, passionate and empowered movement of Student Services leaders and partners to deliver innovative, impactful, world-class services that are proven to enhance the holistic experience and enable student and institutional success. The University Mental Health Charter will be a key tool to help achieve that vision, especially with its focus on students and staff alike.
Now that the charter is available for the sector to utilise, AMOSSHE will work with Student Services professionals to explore how to engage effectively with the key principles and resources. Representatives from Student Minds are leading a workshop to develop how Student Services can work with the charter at AMOSSHE's Winter Conference in February 2020.
Here's the AMOSSHE bulletin for autumn 2019: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 2 MB).
This autumn AMOSSHE published a five year strategy outlining the guiding values, mission and strategic priorities for our professional association. In this bulletin find out about our strategy, and also meet the Student Services leaders who were elected this year to join our Executive Committee. This team of volunteers sets the direction for AMOSSHE and helps to shape our membership benefits and events.
Talking of events, the bulletin features a roundup of AMOSSHE's latest continuing professional development event about safeguarding and duty of care, and includes details of our upcoming events programme for the 2019/20 academic year. If you're interested in joining AMOSSHE to access our network of sector leaders, our online resources, and discounted entry to our professional development events, the bulletin also has details about membership for 2019/20.
The AMOSSHE Executive Committee, in consultation with members at over 180 higher education providers, has developed our professional association’s strategy for 2019 to 2024 (click image to view - PDF 2 MB).
The strategy includes a statement of our organisation’s values, mission, guiding principles, and strategic priorities.
Beginning with an overview of AMOSSHE’s membership and our members’ Student Services, the strategy goes on to articulate the unique value proposition of UK Student Services, and a vision of what our professional association seeks to achieve by 2024. Then there’s our mission statement: what we will do to achieve our vision. The mission is driven by a sustainable five year strategy founded on values-based guiding principles, which focuses on three key strategic priorities.
You can also find news, features and photos on our blog
AMOSSHE members can find even more news, plus sector and policy updates
AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation is a UK non-profit professional association. Company registration number 4778650.