Here's the latest news from AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation.
The current political climate in the UK and abroad has highlighted deep societal divisions about race, gender, class and religious identities. So as Student Services professionals it's a good time to ask ourselves: how do ideas of culture, social identity, power / privilege dynamics, unconscious bias and intercultural conflict influence our relationships with students and institutional colleagues?
AMOSSHE is hosting a continuing professional development day to discuss these topics and find ways to start dialogues and build bridges.
'Understanding cultural differences to start dialogue and build bridges' takes place on 27 April 2017 at Woburn House, London.
The day provides professional development and also training for trainers, including a resource guide with information about how to conduct similar sessions within your organisation.
Find out more and book your place here: Understanding cultural differences.
360 degree thinking: leadership / collaboration / innovation is the AMOSSHE national conference 2017. Let's take a 360 degree approach to Student Services, with perspectives from all angles to drive student success – encompassing inspiring leadership, effective collaboration and innovative practice.
360 degree thinking takes place from 5 to 7 July 2017 at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, UK.
Join AMOSSHE down on the seafront in Brighton for three days of leading edge expertise-sharing by AMOSSHE members and sector organisations from around the world, as well as inspiring keynote speakers, networking and social opportunities. Take a look at the conference programme, venue and speakers: 360 degree thinking.
AMOSSHE is delighted to announce two keynote speakers to open 360 degree thinking on Wednesday 5 July:
We have more exciting keynote speakers to announce for the rest of the conference, so watch this space.
It's worth booking early! As a residential delegate you can secure a discounted early bird rate, and also sign up to take a sunset flight on British Airways i360, the world's tallest moving observation tower!
Book your place here: booking and prices.
AMOSSHE Executive Member Pete Quinn, who was previously Director of Student Support at University of York, was elected to the Executive role in July 2016 for one year because Fay Sherrington changed her role to become AMOSSHE Vice Chair. Pete is now pursuing consultancy work, so the role becomes available for a representative of an AMOSSHE member organisation. The entire AMOSSHE team extends their thanks to Pete for his work with AMOSSHE during this academic year, and wish him well for his future in the higher education sector.
The AMOSSHE Executive Committee has consulted the list of candidates who members voted for in June 2016, to find the unelected person with the most votes to take Pete’s place as Executive Member for the remainder of the 2016/17 academic year. AMOSSHE is delighted to welcome Jill Stevenson, Head of Student Support Service at University of Stirling, as the new Executive Member.
Here’s the statement Jill made when nominating to join the AMOSSHE Executive:
As Head of Student Support Services at the University of Stirling, I am privileged to have the opportunity to make transformational changes that make tangible differences to the lives of our students. I would be delighted to extend this impact across the sector as a member of the AMOSSHE Executive. I believe that I can contribute a unique combination of energy, drive, and a fresh perspective, coupled with an extensive knowledge and understanding of the student support and equality and diversity agendas.
I recently led a significant restructure of Student Support Services at Stirling, resulting in the creation of an increasingly integrated, resilient and student-focused service. At the heart of this initiative is a desire to optimise the student experience through the provision of adaptable, accessible and well-promoted services, delivered by a customer-focused team of the highest calibre.
I am deeply committed to creating a shared culture of accessibility, inclusion and respect for diversity. I consider the development of strong partnerships – internally and externally within and outwith the higher education sector – as pivotal to this ambition. This vision, coupled with the ever-increasing demand for all our services, requires universities to share knowledge, expertise and resources to develop impactful and innovative initiatives that not only enable students to achieve their potential at university, but also equip them with the resilience and life skills to become confident and employable graduates.
As a member of the AMOSSHE Executive, I would seek to foster effective collaborations, and create a sound evidence base that convincingly demonstrates the impact of Student Services to policy-makers and funders. I’m excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with and represent my sectoral colleagues in pursuit of our shared ambitions to enhance the lives of our students.
Here's the AMOSSHE quarterly bulletin for winter 2017: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 5.6 MB).
In this bulletin find out about the AMOSSHE national conference 360 degree thinking, which takes place in July. There’s also news about a host of other AMOSSHE events coming up in the spring.
Find out about the Student Services projects AMOSSHE is funding this year through AMOSSHE Insight, and catch up on the outcomes of our most recent continuing professional development event, which discussed how Student Services can tackle gender-based violence in higher education.
AMOSSHE is holding a continuing professional development event about how Student Services can more effectively support trans students in higher education: Supporting trans students.
Focussing attention on support for trans students has never been more timely. Recently the London Assembly Health Committee published a report on the mental health needs of LGBT+ people, which finds that while these people are more likely to experience mental ill health than the wider population, LGBT+ people are often overlooked in needs assessments and consequently in mental health commissioning decisions.
Meanwhile in Texas, USA, legislators have introduced a bill to senate that would restrict trans-identified people from utilising restrooms and changing facilities that align with their gender identity. This applies to public colleges and universities. State-led actions such as this contribute to the sense of a hostile culture for trans students around the world, impacting their mental wellbeing.
Supporting trans students is an opportunity to review updated guidance from the Equality Challenge Unit for staff in higher education institutions across the UK and colleges in Scotland about improving experiences for trans students and staff. The event also explores in a practical way how Student Services can enable trans students to realise their academic potential.
Supporting trans students takes place on 23 March 2017 in Birmingham. Book your place now!
AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation, is looking for contributors to lead sessions at our national conference 2017 - 360 degree thinking: leadership / collaboration / innovation.
The conference takes a 360 degree approach to Student Services, taking in perspectives from all angles to drive student success – encompassing inspiring leadership, effective collaboration and innovative practice. The conference takes place between Wednesday 5 July and Friday 7 July 2017 in Brighton, UK.
We want your proposals for informative and stimulating workshops or presentations that will engage delegates and contribute to everyone’s understanding and professional development.
Find out all about the conference theme and call for proposals, and submit your session proposal, here: National conference 2017: call for session proposals.
Please submit your session proposals by 17:00 on Wednesday 15 February 2017.
Forging an engaging academic community, and building effective relationships with colleagues, students, and external stakeholders, are key aspects of the work of Student Services. To help Student Services leaders and practitioners engage with these communities, AMOSSHE is hosting a conference to explore how we can work with institutional colleagues and stakeholders to create effective relationships, and how we can create engaging communities for our students that enhance their learning experience and promote retention and success.
Engaging Communities, the AMOSSHE winter conference 2017, takes place on 17 February in Manchester, featuring a range of AMOSSHE member-led sessions showcasing innovative practice and strategy, as well as inspiring keynote presentations from key voices in the sector.
Our first confirmed keynote is Sara Fernandez (Executive Director, Student Hubs). Student Hubs supports students to tackle social challenges, learn about issues and connect with each other. Their work includes supporting student leaders in UK universities to learn, connect and do something to tackle social issues, through volunteering, skilled placements, project incubation and critical engagement events.
AMOSSHE member-led sessions confirmed so far include:
Find out more and book your place here: Engaging communities.
Here's the AMOSSHE quarterly bulletin for autumn 2016: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 4.5 MB).
This bulletin introduces AMOSSHE's newly elected Chair Ben Bailey, and Vice Chair Fay Sherrington, as well as the Executive Members who were also elected in July this year.
There’s also an overview of what AMOSSHE has planned for the 2016/17 academic year, as well as highlights of our upcoming continuing professional development events.
Today Universities UK published recommendations for higher education providers to help implement approaches to address violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting students. AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation, was part of the taskforce set up to examine these issues, and contributed a Student Services perspective to the recommendations.
AMOSSHE Chair Ben Bailey said today:
“AMOSSHE welcomes Universities UK’s recommendations, because the difficult and sensitive issues they deal with continue to be recognised and addressed across the higher education sector. Student Services are often at the front line in tackling incidents of violence, harassment and hate crime, and a joined-up approach within institutions and a collective effort by the sector as a whole is essential for creating an environment where these challenges can be tackled effectively, and eliminated as far as possible. Students feeling safe supports them to achieve their academic potential, and implementing these recommendations will help create the positive, secure educational experiences that so many students already enjoy, but all deserve.
“Having contributed to the taskforce through our representative Maria Lorenzini (Director of Student Experience, Bangor University), AMOSSHE is confident that the perspectives and concerns of Student Services are reflected in the recommendations. AMOSSHE will continue to focus on ensuring that Student Services leaders have the knowledge and confidence to apply the recommendations in their own institutional context.”
In response to the publication, AMOSSHE is hosting an event to explore the recommendations in a Student Services context. The event explores how to implement the recommendations through Student Services strategy and practice, while sharing good practice and ideas. Find out more about the event here: Tackling gender-based violence.
Here are the Universities UK recommendations: Taskforce publishes recommendations to universities on dealing with violence against women and harassment.
On 22 September 2016 HEPI (Higher Education Policy Institute) published a report called ‘The invisible problem? Improving students’ mental health’. The report highlights the growing demand for mental health services within universities, and discusses underfunding of counselling services both within universities and within the NHS. You can access the HEPI report here: Many universities need to triple their spending on mental health support: urgent call for action in new HEPI paper.
Here is AMOSSHE’s response to the report:
AMOSSHE is pleased that this report raises the profile of the issues that our members have been dealing with for a number of years. Recent member feedback carried out by AMOSSHE showed that 80% of contributors believed there was a noticeable increase in complex mental health crises amongst their student population from 2014 to 2015. It is very pleasing to see that the report recognises the challenges that students face in accessing mental health services due to the lack of continuity of care between home and university. It is important to recognise that most universities in the UK provide a range of wellbeing and mental health services that may work alongside, be integrated with, or be separate from counselling services. A ratio of students to counsellors is not necessarily a reliable way to determine the level of staffing support that is provided to students within our diverse universities. Funding is a crucial element for supporting students with mental health needs, and AMOSSHE supports the notion that universities should continue to increase funding in mental health and counselling services where appropriate, alongside other supportive wellbeing services.
AMOSSHE supports over 160 higher education providers across the country with over 600 members. Over 95% of our members have reported through our surveys that they have mental health services under their remit. Our members are primarily directors of student support services and heads of support areas such as mental health, counselling and wellbeing services. For further information please contact the AMOSSHE National Office.
You can find details of AMOSSHE's member survey about student mental health here: AMOSSHE members feed back about student mental health and suicide.
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AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation is a UK non-profit professional association. Company registration number 4778650.