Here's the latest news from AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation.
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.
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, 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.
AMOSSHE is looking for contributors to lead sessions at our National Conference 2020!
The AMOSSHE National Conference is the UK’s foremost opportunity for Student Services leaders to share expertise and good practice, develop strategy and skills, and build professional networks. The key themes for this conference are inspiration, design and excellence.
The conference takes place from Wednesday 8 to Friday 10 July 2020 at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne, 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.
Being part of the AMOSSHE National Conference programme is a prestigious professional development opportunity. You can raise your personal profile, draw attention to your work, benefit from peer perspectives, and develop new networks of colleagues with similar interests and areas of expertise.
Find out all about the conference and call for proposals, and submit your session proposal, here: National Conference 2020: call for session proposals.
Please submit your session proposals by 17:00 on Monday 24 February 2020.
Here's the AMOSSHE bulletin for summer 2019: a roundup of AMOSSHE news, events, and more (click image to view - PDF 12 MB).
This summer the AMOSSHE National Conference 2019 took place in Birmingham. Over 300 people took part, exploring the themes of building communities and strengthening collaboration, with a focus on evidence-based practice. This bulletin gives an overview of some highlights from the conference, including the inspiring keynote speakers and pictures from our 1920s-themed gala dinner.
Also, the bulletin features a roundup of AMOSSHE's latest continuing professional development events, and details of how to join AMOSSHE in the 2019/20 academic year. Membership gives you access to the AMOSSHE network of sector leaders, as well as online resources, discounted continuing professional development events, and opportunities for research funding, international exchange visits, and more.
The AMOSSHE annual general meeting earlier this month featured an announcement of the results of the AMOSSHE Executive Committee elections.
Every year six roles become available on the AMOSSHE Executive Committee, and members have the opportunity to nominate themselves to join the team. This year there was no competition for the available Vice Chair roles, so these appointments didn't require a membership vote. But six members nominated themselves for the four available Executive Member roles, which meant that the final candidates were chosen by a membership ballot.
The elected members, who will serve for the 2019 to 2021 term of office, are as follows:
The four Executive Members, elected following a membership ballot, are:
Also, Helen McNeely was elected as an Executive Member last year but will now move to the Vice Chair (Operations) role for the next two years. This means that an Executive Member role will be available for one year. This will be taken by Lesley O’Keeffe (Brunel University London).
Congratulations and welcome to all our new Executive members! They will begin their term of office from 1 August 2019.
The Executive team also gave their thanks to the outgoing Vice Chair (Operations) Nicole Redman (University of East London), and acknowledged her huge contribution to the work of AMOSSHE.
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.
Helen McNeely (Head of Student Affairs, Queen’s University Belfast) takes the role of AMOSSHE Vice Chair (Operations). Here’s Helen’s nomination statement:
I have been on the AMOSSHE Executive Committee for the last five years and am currently mid-way through my current term. I am therefore not due for re-election until next year, but as the role of Vice Chair (Operations) has become available I am standing for that post.
Having been involved with the AMOSSHE Executive Committee for the last five years, and in particular worked with the National Office on a number of continuing professional development (CPD) events, I have a good understanding of the organisation. My priorities in the role are to continue to support and further develop the capacity of the National Office to support the ambitions of the organisation. We are a diverse group of professionals working in an increasingly important part of the sector - AMOSSHE has ambitions to influence policy as well as equip our members in the many and varied roles we have. However, these ambitions can only be realised if we have a good underpinning support structure - namely our governance structure and the National Office. The Vice Chair (Operations) plays an important role in this relationship, therefore in this role I would like to both play my part in shaping the ambitions as well as helping deliver them alongside the other Executive members and the National Office team.
Nic Streatfield (Head of Student Services, York St John University) takes the role of AMOSSHE Vice Chair (Professional Development). Here’s Nic’s nomination statement:
I am Head of Student Services at York St John University and manage a wide range of student support teams. I have been a volunteer on the AMOSSHE Executive Committee for four years now, spending the last two as AMOSSHE Vice Chair (Professional Development) where I have helped to expand the number and range of AMOSSHE continuing professional development (CPD) events. Working with our amazing AMOSSHE National Office staff and consulting with AMOSSHE colleagues from across the four nations I have worked hard to ensure high quality CPD events that reflect the current range of issues members are facing. Aside from strategic oversight of AMOSSHE CPD I have, amongst other things, worked on the AMOSSHE benchmarking survey, website development, mentored AMOSSHE Insight projects, helped develop the Resilience Toolkit and have represented AMOSSHE at national and international events. I also co-wrote the Advance HE Getting to Grips with Safeguarding guide for university governors published in 2018.
I am a Cognitive Analytical Therapist and worked in university counselling and wellbeing services for over ten years at the Universities of Manchester, Sheffield, York, Leeds and Royal Holloway before becoming Head of Student Services in 2013. I was a trustee for Mental Wealth UK and was on the board that negotiated the merger with another student-led charity to form what is now Student Minds. I have a written a chapter for the forthcoming Sage publication Student Mental Health and Wellbeing in HE: A practical guide for universities, which is due out later this year.
Outside of work I am a FA qualified coach and manage my daughters' football team. I have also run three marathons, which required a lot of perseverance and were tiring, sometimes painful and certainly challenging, but ultimately were very rewarding [insert your own joke about similarity to Student Services here].
My colleagues would describe me as creative and imaginative in providing solutions to problems, calm and tactful in dealing with complex issues, and as a respected, reliable and consistent team player. I have a collaborative leadership style and encourage staff to talk things through to engage their teams and create a shared ownership of solutions. I have completed the Leadership Foundation's Future Professional Directors course and I am also a professional coach working on the Yorkshire Accord programme. I have approached my current Vice Chair (Professional Development) role with the same curious, collective approach by listening to members to ensure that excellent, stimulating and relevant CPD events are delivered. I will work to continue to offer great value CPD events covering the multitude of issues Student Services staff face, being mindful of emerging challenges and of the importance of putting on CPD events that focus on the less "popular" issues, which nonetheless impact upon our students. I will also expand the developmental aspect of AMOSSHE CPD in line with our strategy to equip members with the professional skills, knowledge and networks to influence change and enhance student success.
Angela Gardiner (Director of Student Services, University of Hull) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Angela’s nomination statement:
I have worked within higher education for over 24 years across three distinct areas: clinical practice, as a senior academic and head of department, and currently within professional services. Each area has enabled me to develop a diverse range of knowledge, skills and experience as a result. I bring a unique set of skills, knowledge and experience that can make a positive contribution to AMOSSHE and the future profile of Student Services within the sector.
As Director of Student Services at the University of Hull I have responsibility for a range of areas and activities, including registry, careers and employability, student support, student information systems, central student hub, and student engagement and transition - all of which have a direct link to a number of key agenda areas within the sector. A key focus for the sector is the student experience, and the work of AMOSSHE can ensure that the significance of Student Services in contributing to this agenda is recognised, and I am keen to support this important area of AMOSSHE activity.
I am committed to enhancing the opportunities and outcomes of under-represented and disadvantaged groups and individuals, and I feel the work of Student Service areas can make a significant contribution to this. The AMOSSHE network of organisations can provide an excellent conduit to drive this agenda and contribute to delivering the ambitious targets of the Office for Students, at the same time highlighting the value of Student Services within the sector.
Collaboration, collegiality and partnership working have always been at the centre of my work, and the opportunity to engage with this on a national basis is exciting, as well as crucial in the drive for service enhancement and excellence, which is of paramount importance in light of the current challenges the sector faces.
Simon Lee (Deputy Director - Student and Library Services, Teesside University) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Simon's nomination statement:
I am currently a member of the AMOSSHE Executive Committee, having been appointed in 2018, and I would relish the chance to continue to work alongside my colleagues to support the development and recognition of the great work of Student Services.
In my short time on the Executive I have embraced both the challenges and opportunities that being part of the committee offers. I have ensured I attend all committee meetings and hope I have contributed to the development of AMOSSHE and our profession. Examples include:
My day job is Deputy Director - Student and Library Services at Teesside University, where I lead a range of key student support functions including: Finance and Welfare support, International Advice, Counselling, Sport, and our multi-faith Chaplaincy. I enjoy tackling the more challenging issues facing Student Services, having researched the management of multi-faith spaces for AMOSSHE, and I am the newly-appointed Chair of the North East Regional Prevent Group.
If elected to remain on the Executive Committee I will continue to dedicate myself to the work of AMOSSHE and our commitments to providing effective support, research and professional development for our members.
Lesley O'Keeffe (Deputy Director Academic and Student Services, Brunel University London) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Lesley’s nomination statement:
Having held various roles in Student Services for seven years, and higher education more widely for 18 years, I've followed the work of AMOSSHE closely. It has provided me with examples of best practice, new ideas and networking opportunities, which I've used to improve the student experience at Brunel. I would now like to be part of the team that provides this professional support to other Student Services colleagues throughout the sector, and be part of shaping higher education for the better.
I would bring experience of change management, strategic and operational expertise, and an ability to connect and communicate with stakeholders in the sector.
Over the past few years I have worked to improve the Student Services provision within Brunel by changing the structure of the support available, ensuring services are more resilient to the changing regulatory and student expectations and demands. These changes have enabled Brunel to be more agile in responding to our students' needs, and to provide a more holistic service. Alongside this I have written, launched and been audited externally on our Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Students, which puts student wellbeing at the centre of everything we do.
Across the sector I have worked on sharing Brunel's response to the Changing the Culture guidelines, as well as running external conferences to share best practice around student welcome activities.
I am passionate about external engagement, as I think that we will best develop as a sector if we share what works, and what doesn't! Being a member of the AMOSSHE Executive feels like a natural next step for me, to be able to help shape the future of student support in UK higher education.
Jill Stevenson (Head of Student Support Services / Dean of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, University of Stirling) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Jill’s nomination statement:
I have been serving on the AMOSSHE Executive for two years, and would love the opportunity to serve a further term. I believe that I have contributed significantly to AMOSSHE, and that I have so much more to give, which will, I hope, benefit all of our members, Student Services, and our students.
I have recently been appointed as Dean of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at the University of Stirling, which I believe will provide me with a stronger platform to promote the value of all Student Services in delivering a world class student experience.
During my first term as an AMOSSHE Executive Member, I have:
If re-elected, I will continue to proactively, enthusiastically and professionally represent our members to lobby for increased recognition of the impact of Student Services on the student experience and student success. I am also keen for the Executive to increasingly involve our members in our influencing and developmental work, ensuring that we maximise the talent and experience that exists across our membership.
Chris Warrington (Head of Student Support, The University of Leeds) takes the role of Executive Member. Here's Chris’s nomination statement:
I'm fully committed to the importance of AMOSSHE and passionate about the role it plays in supporting colleagues as they address the pressures and challenges facing Student Services and higher education. Having served with the current Executive and National Office teams for the last two years I think we've made great progress and are ready to continue the development of AMOSSHE towards new goals and with even greater impact in the sector.
I am Head of Student Support at the University of Leeds and, like many AMOSSHE members, have responsibility for the disability, mental health and wellbeing services along with international student support. Alongside leading the teams delivering these services, my role involves enabling the wider university community to engage with the ways in which students are supported to achieve their aims and ambitions to be successful after university, whatever they choose to do.
I am standing again for re-election to the AMOSSHE Executive as I would like the opportunity to continue with the important work I've undertaken over the last two years, which has included:
I'd really value your support for my appointment to the Executive, and would love the opportunity to continue to do so for the next two years.
Join AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation for the flagship event of the Student Services year! The AMOSSHE National Conference 2019 is the UK’s foremost opportunity for Student Services leaders in higher education to share expertise and good practice, develop strategy and skills, and build professional networks.
Building communities and strengthening collaboration are key themes for the conference, with a focus on evidence-based practice.
The conference takes place from Wednesday 3 to Friday 5 July 2019 in Birmingham, UK.
Make the most of a broad range of insightful sessions, alongside opportunities for networking and celebrating success. Take a look at the conference programme, venue and speakers: AMOSSHE National Conference 2019.
Book early to get the best rates! We're doing our best to make our National Conference as affordable as possible. We've frozen delegate rates since 2017, and there are discounts for AMOSSHE members and member colleagues. Plus, if you book as a residential delegate, you can secure a further early bird discount. But hurry - early bird discounts end on 15 April!
Book your place here: booking and prices.
This is your time to think big, reach further, and innovate in our shared mission to enhance the student experience. We hope you and your colleagues will join us!
AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation is hosting a winter conference to explore how Student Services leaders in higher education can use data and technology effectively to enhance the student experience, retention and success.
Data-driven, technology-enabled services for students takes place on 8 February 2019 in Cardiff.
Through workshops and presentations led by sector leaders, this conference explores topics including:
Find out more and book your place here: Data-driven, technology-enabled services for students.
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.