Working Sessions

Working Session One

Developing an agile partnership
Creating and sustaining a culture of collaboration
Robin Armstrong Viner | Head of Collection Management | University of Kent
Sian Downes | Drill Hall Library Manager |Universities at Medway

Techniques for embedding sustainable change
Laura Whitmore | Academic Services Manager | University of Gloucestershire
Matt Scott | Academic Services Administrator | University of Gloucestershire

Sustainable Staff: Challenges for Professional Services
Lydia Crow | previously an Advocate of the AUA Essex Committee

A tale of two countries
Sharing knowledge and experiences with HEIs in the USA
Sophia Harding | Collaborative Academic Partnerships Manager | Staffordshire University
Clare McWilliams | Academic Governance Coordinator | University of Stirling, Scotland
Sharon Barnes | Head of Academic Planning in the Department of Management | London School of Economics & Political Science

Working Session Two

The importance of supporting and enabling good governance in a turbulent HE sector
Lisa Baker | Deputy University Secretary | University of Lincoln
Tory Cliffe | Governance Officer | University of Lincoln

How to design a new campus from scratch… and make it work!
Nick Allen | Executive Officer | The University of Northampton

Pritesh Nathubhai | Strategic Planning Officer| University of Liverpool
Francoise McKay | Voice and Reporting Senior Analyst | University of Derby

Slimmer, stronger, sustainable?
Hannah Lowry | Head of Faculty Operations | UCLan
Kate Moss | CAS Team Leader | UCLan
AUA Autumn Conference 2019 | Sustainability

101 Developing an agile partnership | Creating and sustaining a culture of collaboration

Exploring how three universities used the procurement and implementation of a shared technology platform to create a collaborative relationship that allows them to innovate and adapt and to do more with less while continuing to provide distinct library services, a seamless experience at their shared campus and sustains existing and future bilateral partnerships.

Seeking to achieve sustainability, Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU), the University of Greenwich and the University of Kent innovated and adapted their approach to implement a single, shared technology solution to deliver an improved academic and student experience at each of the three Universities’ campuses.

Delegates can learn how this approach has contributed to financial sustainability around the procurement and sharing of learning resources; developing sustainable cross-institutional leadership; and improving its collective agility and resilience.

This interactive workshop will enable delegates to understand how the partners successfully created a culture of collaboration. Through a series of group exercises, delegates will experience some of the tools and techniques the three Universities used to embed working in partnership across and between their respective teams.

Robin Armstrong Viner

Head of Collection Management | University of Kent

An AUA member and Chartered Librarian (MCLIP) Robin Armstrong Viner has 15 years’ experience of shaping, developing and supporting teams to implement transformational change and deliver service excellence. As Head of Collection Management at the University of Kent, he has made a significant contribution to achieving sustainability, providing leadership to help matrix teams do more with less, create a culture of innovation and adaption and maintain teams’ resilience and wellbeing. A shared services evangelist, Robin is keen to maximise the benefits of partnership working for customers, deploying his engagement skills to build collaborative relationships with academic and professional services colleagues and student representatives.

Sian Downes

Drill Hall Library Manager | Universities at Medway

Sian Downes has been the Drill Hall Library Manager for almost a year, having previously been in the academic liaison side of librarianship for over four years. Sian is the lead on bringing the partnership between the University of Kent, University of Greenwich, and Canterbury Christ Church University together to explore how to maximise the expertise and potential of each institution for the benefit of staff and users. Sian has devised and run numerous workshops within the partnership to develop the vision and strategy, and to bring staff together to work across the boundaries and maximise the potential of the partnership.

102 “…but we have always done it this way!” | Techniques for embedding sustainable change

An interactive session focusing on Laura’s experiences of using design thinking and lean methodology to overcome resistance to change in her organisation. Delegates will receive an overview of models and techniques they could use within their own environments to work in a SMARTER, leaner and more agile way. They will have the opportunity to practice using these tools and will leave with some tried and tested approaches to use in their own areas of work.

Laura Whitmore

Academic Services Manager | University of Gloucestershire

Currently employed as an Academic Services Manager at the University of Gloucestershire, Laura supports the School of Business and Technology with a team of 7 Administrators. Having been in Higher Education for just 2 years, Laura previously worked as a change management consultant, supporting public and private sector organisations on major transformation projects. Laura now enjoys deploying the tools and techniques to emended change within the Higher Education sector; liaising with Academics, students and professional services in order to create an efficient and effective environment for all!

Matt Scott

Academic Services Administrator | University of Gloucestershire

Currently employed as an Academic Services Administrator at the University of Gloucestershire, Matt supports the Computing, Engineering and Higher Apprenticeship courses in the School of Business and Technology. Matt has worked with a number of Schools and courses to deliver a high-level of service to students and academics, during his 6 year career in Higher Education. Matt is currently studying for his MBA and has a keen interest in leadership and management within the HE sector. The main focus of his current research is to discover how the perceptions of leadership characteristics have changed during the 21st century. It is intended that this information will support the development of aspiring leaders in professional services and inspire leadership qualities from within.

103 Sustainable Staff: Challenges for Professional Services

The political environment of the sector has changed substantially in the last several years, and there is a great deal of uncertainty about the future shape and function of Higher Education across the UK in terms of student cohort, delivery of teaching, and support for research. Much has been written and discussed about scenarios and concerns relating to sustainability across the sector in light of this uncertainty. Comparatively little, however, has focussed upon the role of Professional Services staff.

In this session, delegates will be invited to discuss and consider challenges around; language, resources, and resilience. Delegates will be encouraged to consider to what extent their own teams are affected by these challenges, and how best to survive (and support others) in the Higher Education sector in the twenty-first century.

Lydia Crow

Lydia Crow began what would become her accidental career in Higher Education in 2004 after graduating from her undergraduate degree. Lydia has worked at college and school level as well as centrally, and has substantial experience in English and Scottish Higher Education across a number of areas, including both taught and research student matters, medical education, policy development, and Tier 4 issues. She has been a member of the AUA for fifteen years and was previously an Advocate of the AUA Essex Committee.

Lydia has undertaken a number of student representative roles, including institutional postgraduate representative, Postgraduate Officer on the NUS Scotland Executive Committee, and as a member of the NUS Postgraduate Committee. As part of her representative work, she has been a member of various working groups and committees, including the Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee, and the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) Doctoral Researcher and Executive Committees.

Lydia’s research interests include digital ethnography, folklore, and the study of place. Lydia achieved her doctorate in Nordic Studies in 2018.

104 A tale of two countries | Sharing knowledge and experiences with HEIs in the USA

In May 2019, a group of 12 AUA members participated in the AUA Study Tour, visiting HE institutions in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. Tour members will share reflections on their experiences representing the AUA on the Tour, and the learning gained through the lens of “sustainability”. Focusing on the tour’s main themes: Student expectations, experience and success; research and teaching; and funding in higher education; they will discuss what they learned around addressing issues of financial sustainability of our institutions and developing agile and robust working practices in a time of increasing challenge. They will also share how they are planning to use this experience to support their roles back in the UK.

There will be a group discussion on the topic of sustainability with particular reference to challenges colleagues are facing in the current HE climate and how they might use existing or new international engagement/experiences to support these challenges.

Sophia Harding

Collaborative Academic Partnerships Manager | Staffordshire University

Sophia Harding works as a Collaborative Academic Partnerships Manager at Staffordshire University. She has worked in Higher Education since 2000, in the UK and overseas, in a variety of roles and departments, for example student welfare, student recruitment, information services (Library), academic registry, human resources, and as coordinator on externally funded projects for academic faculties. Her role as Collaborative Academic Partnerships Manager is a varied, culturally enriching and professionally stimulating position which she has performed for a number of universities in the last seven years.

Sophia has been a member of the AUA since 2005. She was selected to lead the AUA USA Study Tour 2019. It has been an amazing journey.

Clare McWilliams

Academic Governance Coordinator | University of Stirling, Scotland

Clare McWilliams has been working in the Higher Education sector since graduating from her undergraduate degree in 2012. She started her career as a student sport sabbatical officer during which she was Student Director of the British Universities and Colleges Sports Board. After her year as a sabbatical, Clare took up a role in the Academic Registry at the University of Aberdeen having responsibilities for complaints, academic appeals and academic quality. Looking to further her knowledge and experience she was accepted onto the Ambitious Futures Graduate Programme for University Leadership undertaking projects in retention and academic governance at the universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow. Following her work with Ambitious Futures, Clare worked in planning at the University of the West of Scotland managing the University’s operational planning process and developing a review process for the institution’s programme portfolio. She now works as Academic Governance Coordinator at the University of Stirling where her day to day life is dominated by all things complaints, student discipline and academic appeals.

Clare became a member of the AUA through her participation with the Ambitious Futures programme in 2015.

Sharon Barnes

Head of Academic Planning in the Department of Management | London School of Economics & Political Science

Sharon Barnes is the Head of Academic Planning in the Department of Management at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She’s worked in HE since 2000, most of that time in LSE’s Department of Management & its predecessor in a variety of roles from programme management to research support and now planning. She also spent a few years at Anglia Ruskin University in the Faculty of Health & Social Care.

LSE is one of the UK’s most international universities, both in terms of staff and students. This makes it a varied place to work and Sharon loves learning about so many new cultures.

She has been member of the AUA since 2006, gaining Accredited Member status in 2017, and was the LSE’s AUA branch advocate for five years

201 Navigating the way to success through good governance | The importance of supporting and enabling good governance in a turbulent HE sector

Sustainability starts and finishes with governance, a University cannot flourish without adherence to its principles. Good governance informs and facilitates decision-making which, in turn, enables a University to grow and prosper. Coupled with accountability and transparency, governance (as an overarching framework) allows a University be sustainable in the long-term.

Using case studies, delegates will be tasked to spot early red flags, engage in conflict resolution and attempt to solve problems caused by poor governance. There will be three key areas: financial governance; strategic plan; and accountability and transparency in relation to leadership.

Lisa Baker

Deputy University Secretary | University of Lincoln

Lisa is currently Deputy University Secretary and Head of Governance at the University of Lincoln and has worked in HE governance and administration for over 20 years.  She is Officer to the Board of Governors and its sub-committees and the Senior Leadership Team and responsible for ensuring good governance processes lead to appropriate decision-making.  She heads the Secretariat department which oversees the management of student contention cases and delivery of the information compliance agenda.  She also chairs the Academic Offences Committee and the Standing Regulations Oversight Group through which regulatory changes are driven through the approval process.  Lisa is also module co-ordinator for Organisational and Board Effectiveness and teaches on the MSc Governance.  She is also currently a part-time student herself having recently started the Senior Leaders’ Masters Degree Apprenticeship, a mentor on the AUA’s PG Certificate programme and, outside of work,  a school governor.

Tory Cliffe

Governance Officer | University of Lincoln

Tory’s role as Governance Officer at the University of Lincoln entails supporting senior management in decision-making and policy processes. Her diverse committee portfolio has given her a wide-range of key strategic and operational areas of the institution, including the student experience, programme development and civic engagement.

Having started out in HE as VP Activities at Hull University Union, she then worked for the University of Hull, in a range of roles including Quality, Faculty administration before completing a year-long secondment as Governance Manager. She is passionate about the student experience, and channels this by promoting student engagement in higher education governance.

Outside of work, Tory is a School Governor at an infant school in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, where she enjoys being on the critical friend side of governance. She is also a member of their Finance Committee, and is the nominated Governor for Special Educational Needs and Disability.

202 Out with the old and in with the new | How to design a new campus from scratch… and make it work!

The University of Northampton relocated from two former sites into a new town centre campus in 2018. This £330million campus had sustainability at its core in terms of space design and utilisation, energy usage and campus operations. This has included the creation of an onsite Energy Centre to fuel the campus, the adoption of non-subject specific classrooms, open plan, hot-desking and activity-based working spaces (for academic and professional staff) and maximisation of the campus as a community asset.

This interactive workshop will provide an opportunity for delegates to understand the master planning process for the new campus and provide an insight into the operations of a brand new campus following its first year of operation. Delegates will also have the opportunity to consider how sustainability can be built into any campus and will leave with sustainability measures to take back to their own workplace.

Nick Allen

Executive Officer | The University of Northampton

Nick is Executive Officer in the Office of the Vice Chancellor. In this role, Nick works with the Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer to support a range of activities including acting as the University representative on the Northamptonshire Armed Forces Covenant group. He was part of the team which supported the development of the new Waterside Campus.  In his former role at Northampton, Nick supported the University award ceremonies, certification and conferment processes and was previously a member of Northampton’s quality team, supporting external examining and external scrutiny at the University.

Nick has also worked at The Open University – where he worked as a member of a team funded by HEFCE supporting nationally-funded teaching and learning projects and schemes. He has also worked at Sheffield Hallam University, where he worked as an Administrative Assistant within an academic unit.  Nick is one of the two Joint Midlands Regional Co-ordinators for the Association of University Administrators (AUA), a graduate of the AUA PgCert, an active PgCert mentor and is a former Chair of the PgCert Board of Study and a former AUA Trustee.

203 Attracting and retaining the next generation of HE administrators

This will be an interactive workshop aimed at challenging current practise in attracting and retaining university professional services colleagues. The presenters will share their experiences of being young professionals in Higher Education through the intersections of age, gender and ethnicity to provide context. Drawing on current literature and data they will offer the chance of an open forum discussion around what ‘the next generation’ of professional services staff should look like, in addition to their workplace needs and values.

The main part of the session will challenge current policy and practise and whether they are robust and sustainable enough to attract and retain the next generation of employees. We will split the group and facilitate discussion to generate practical and innovative solutions to address this challenge.

Pritesh Nathubhai

Strategic Planning Officer | University of Liverpool

“Pritesh has recently joined the University of Liverpool’s Strategic Planning Team where he provides focused support to the University on planning related issues, policy implementation and strategy development. Prior to this, Pritesh held roles at De Montfort University (DMU), including completing the Ambitious Futures Graduate Programme after graduating from the University in 2016. At DMU, Pritesh was part of many introducing many University-wide initiatives including a new scholarship for prospective international LGBTQ+ applicants, a network of 100+ global HEI’s to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and a short-term work experience framework to improve the University’s graduate outcomes. Pritesh’s main interests include HE policy, using data creatively to inform strategy development and improving communities through civic engagement.”

Francoise McKay 

Voice and Reporting Senior Analyst | University of Derby

Fran is a reflective practitioner working in and researching student experience and educational enhancement in the sector. After graduating from the University of Nottingham in 2016 Fran completed the institution’s Ambitious Futures Graduate Scheme, leading projects across faculties in Nottingham and Leicester. On completing the scheme Fran stayed at Nottingham as the new Faculty of Arts Senior Administrator in Education and Student Experience and was instrumental in the set up of the university’s new Liberal Arts undergraduate programme. Fran has recently graduated from the University of Oxford having read for an M.Sc. Education (Higher Education), completing a dissertation on the impact of the TEF on professional service staff in Russell Group institutions. In August 2019, she started working at the University of Derby as the institution’s new Voice and Reporting Senior Analyst, collaborating with planning and student service provision

204 The LEAN Registry | Slimmer, stronger, sustainable?

As many universities face financial woes, institutions are looking at ways to plug the gaps, some will look at restructuring and redundancies whilst others are trying to make themselves more efficient through modernisation. Academic Registry in UCLan recognised the need to support and facilitate change as part of the objectives in its People Plan to ensure successful delivery of the Registry’s strategic aims. It prioritised training and development for staff in leading sustainable change, improving technical skills and knowledge of how IT can support administrative processes.

Using the principles of ‘Plan Do Check and Act’, this session will take attendees through the creation of their problem statement, understanding their customer, scoping their project, setting expectations and managing both waste and failure demand. Delegates will leave with practical ways of introducing a continuous improvement culture which engages colleagues in the process, and methods for improving processes based upon customer drive. We will share how this approach has put the Registry ahead of the game, and taking this approach with consistent periodic review we shall remain ahead, reliably dependable whilst progressive in our innovation and development.

Hannah Lowry

Head of Faculty Operations | UCLan

With experience of 6 HE institutions starting with her own degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at University of the West of England, Hannah has spent over 20 years’ working and studying in Universities. Following time living abroad, including studying at Université Michel de Montagne, Hannah accepted a role in the University Language Centre at the University of Manchester as an Admissions Assistant before progressing to an administrative role in the Faculty of Humanities.

Hannah relocated to London and commenced working at the Institute of Education, part of University College London in PGCE Admissions which involved student placement arrangement, moving 9 months later to join the University of East London. Continuing in admissions, now at school level working in Combined Honours, Hannah gained further programme administration experience at UEL and progressed to a Senior Administrator role in the school, supervising staff whilst also taking a lead in the recruitment and marketing of the school.

Hannah came to the University of Central Lancashire as the School Admin Officer for the Northern School of Design, she later secured the role of Senior Admin Officer in Enrolment Management. A step up followed to a Business Partnering role which evolved into her current post of Head of Faculty Operations within the Academic Registry where Hannah works as part of a Senior Management Team with a solution focus to support Faculties and Schools to achieve strategic objectives related to course development and the regulatory requirements of professional and statutory bodies.

Kate Moss

CAS Team Leader | UCLan

Currently working as a CAS Team Leader in one of seven Course Administration Service Hubs at the University of Central Lancashire, Kate has recently stepped into a supervisory role, leading and managing staff through exceptionally high levels of change and uncertainty whilst also delivering excellent support services to students and academics across the Faculty of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences. Kate has embraced her LEAN experience, and has now successfully run a number of variously sized projects to apply these principles in day to day operations. Having worked at the University since 2005, and been a member of the AUA since 2008, Kate has a strong background in course administration, and providing solution focussed support to both academic staff and students in all areas of course delivery. Kate was influential in the development of an integrated administrative support system to the School of Social Work’s CPD activity, working with students, employers, professional bodies and a number of university departments to facilitate the delivery of an innovative flexible “CPD workshop to master’s qualification” framework available to Social Workers and social services support staff across the country.


In her spare time(!), Kate volunteers as the AUA Advocate for UCLan, and arranges a range of activities and events to support colleagues with their professional development, both within the institution and beyond, working collaboratively within the North Wales and North West Region Advocate team.