Engaging with the wider context | 2nd AUA South Regional Symposium

The 2nd AUA South Regional Symposium, titled “Engaging with the wider context”, took place at the University of Kent on 2 May 2018. The event, hosted by Kent Business School, in the MBA suite of the Sibson Building, brought together 57 AUA members and non-members representing 13 Universities in the South region and beyond.

This event followed on from the themes developed at the AUA Annual Conference and Exhibition and explored issues relating to professional service staff including, Brexit; the Teaching Excellence Framework; Student Success; how the AUA can assist in career development; and a Survival Guide for Academic Departmental Managers.

The event was opened by Professor Karen Cox, Vice Chancellor of the University of Kent who spoke passionately about the transformative effect of higher education and the role of professional service staff in supporting the student experience.



The first speaker, Professor Jerry Forrester, Vice Chair of the Chartered Association of Business Schools presented a review of TEF 2 and lessons learnt and proposals for subject TEF. Jerry made the subject very accessible and focused on the important role professional service staff have in developing the TEF process within their Departments, Schools and University. Following on, Professor Amelia Hadfield, Director of the Centre for European Studies (CEFEUS) and Chair in European and International at Canterbury Christ Church University led an interactive Q&A session on Brexit and its potential impacts for higher education in the UK and beyond. Amelia was followed by Charlotte Verney Assistant Director, Planning & Academic Administration (Student Administration) at Canterbury Christ Church University, who reflected on her experiences of being part of the AUA over the last 10 years, in particular, how her engagement contributes to her professional development.

After a networking lunch, James Redmond, University of Kent; Dr Frank Sowrey, University College London; and Dr Jill Holliday, University of Essex, presented “Administration Impossible”, an understanding of the breadth of challenges we face as higher education managers and administrators. The session, which was recently delivered at the AUA Conference and Exhibition, offered some mechanisms to deal with the more difficult issues that may arise, and best practice examples of strategies for resilience from peers.The final speaker, Dr David Atkins, Student Success Manager at the Kent Business School, discussed the challenges higher education faces, in order to close degree attainment gaps between widening and non-widening participation students. His innovative work in student success has been nationally recognised and his insight into how student success is integral to TEF rounded off the formal part of the event.



Giles Polglase, AUA Regional Network Coordinator (South); and Melissa Mulhall, AUA Advocate at the University of Kent concluded the Symposium with a plenary session.

The organisers would like to thank the University of Kent team, for their time and resources:

  • Melissa Mulhall, AUA Advocate, University of Kent
  • Natalia Crisanti, Student Services
  • Lyndsay Whiting, Kent Business School
  • Mita Modal, Engineering and Digital Arts
  • Amy Green, Politics and International Relations
  • Alison Webster, Anthropology and Conservation

And Matt Maloney, Jordan Patterson the rest of the AUA Office for the excellent support.


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