Christmas cards from the Development Monthly Editorial Board
– Mark Hollingsworth (he/him), University of Birmingham
– Amy Kenyon (she/her), University of Winchester
– Johnathan Dempsey (he/him), Brunel University London
– Dr Ella Popper (she/her), Association of University Administrators
– Chiara Singh (she/her), University of Bristol
Mark Hollingsworth | City, University of London
Merry Christmas everybody
I was asked to submit some Christmas photos of myself but obviously couldn’t send one from this year as only the deeply suspect or truly insane have their decorations up before 1 December so here I am from last year with the man himself and other festive treats provided by the excellent Student Services team at University of Birmingham, including reindeer and a ‘big’ wheel.
Christmas and the turn of a year is inevitably a time for reflection on the last twelve months and optimism about our next spin around the sun. 2022 was an eventful year for me. Back in February I had a really difficult time personally with the loss of a loved one and found it very hard. I know so many of us go through challenging times so it’s a reminder to be kind in all of our professional interactions as you don’t always know what someone is dealing with. I am lucky that I have a really good support network and part of that included some friends and colleagues at work with whom I was able to talk about things and it really helped. They know who they are and I’ll always be grateful to them.
Also, last month, I moved roles to a new institution in a new city which has been an incredibly positive experience. I’m reminded again what a tremendous sector we work in and how lucky we are to have a career that impacts so significantly on the lives of our students. No matter what role you play in HE professional services I hope you are able to look back on the year positively and have optimism about 2023.
So I wish whatever you would wish for yourself over the break. Whether it’s classic turkey, tinsel and tunes, a particular tradition from your own part of the world, or just a chance for two weeks off – stay safe, be kind, and enjoy.
Merry Christmas one and all,
Chiara Singh | University of Bristol
As we reflect on the past twelve months, on our achievements, challenges, and spaces for growth, I hope you take time out to relax, recharge, and reconnect. Be kind to yourself and others, give yourself a pat on the back for surviving 2022, and let’s be grateful for all the things we take for granted. I’ll leave you with some of my favourite words from Leonard Cohen…See you in 2023! “Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that’s how the lights gets in.”
Amy Kenyon | University of Winchester
I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all learned a lot over the last couple of years, not least the value of social interactions and our relationships with others. I’m so thankful that this year we’ve been able to return to running many events in full and in person, and it’s been wonderful to welcome new students and wave off our graduates and to celebrate what working in HE is all about.
I took this series of festive photos of Winchester Guildhall (one of our graduation venues) a few years ago, and it reminds me of just how special our wonderful City is and how much we value being a part of it. Doing things ‘in person’ again means that I get to visit this wonderful building more often!
Jonathan Dempsey | Brunel University London
My year has been one of personal and professional ups and downs and it has been those personal downs that have forced me to stop and refocus what is important.
We are all higher education professionals, that is why we are members of the AUA, but above all that we are human and sometimes we just need to stop and re-evaluate what is important to us and what are our personal values.
Our personal values should guide all that we do, inside and outside of work. Sometimes that is just taking your leave, leaving work on time to be with friends and family, or in my case working less and getting a puppy! All are valuable when we are caring for ourselves and I hope to carry this thinking on in my personal and professional life, and I hope you do too!
Merry Christmas from me and Persie
Dr Ella Popper | AUA
This Christmas marks my first year with the AUA! I’ve enjoyed getting to know our members and learning about their professional development needs.
My highlight this year has been our Annual Conference, where I met many of AUA members face-to-face for the first time.
Next year, I am looking forward to launching exciting new developments from our strategic review.
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