Graduating from the PgCert | AUA Blog

The AUA Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Administration, Management and Leadership (PgCert) is a self-directed, independent, work-based learning programme for higher education professionals working within UK higher education administration. Here, two of our graduates talk about their experiences at this year’s Graduation, and what it means to collect their qualifications in front of hundreds of colleagues. Click here for further information.

Laura Roper PgCert AMAUA
Accreditations Officer
Faculty of Management
Bournemouth University

This year I had the absolute pleasure of attending the AUA Annual Conference as a graduate of the PgCert in HE Administration, Management and Leadership. Having worked in HE for over 13 years the experience of completing the PgCert with the AUA has honestly been life changing for me. Through the process of completing the PgCert I have come to better understand the wider HE environment and how my role fits within it. The course has helped me to realise that I am capable of giving back to the HE community and so not only did I graduate but I also had the pleasure of presenting to 60 delegates at the conference.

The morning of the graduation took me back to my undergraduate graduation which was MANY years ago. I felt so excited to go and see Jane and Fiona from the PgCert team and collect my gown and mortar board, ready for the ceremony. The Plenary in which the graduation ceremony took place felt like a real celebration of the work that my 13 fellow graduates and I had completed and it was a pleasure to meet with Dame Shirley Pearce and hear her talk regarding the current TEF evaluation. I can honestly say I had butterflies in my tummy when I queued up to receive my certificate surrounded by friends and colleagues.

After the ceremony we spent some time taking our graduation photos and were treated to a lovely afternoon tea with our close friends and families.

It was an absolute pleasure not only to graduate from the PgCert but to graduate surrounded by colleagues from the sector, all of whom understand the importance and value of furthering our knowledge in an area in which we are all passionate.

Since registering on the PgCert I have:

  • Presented in Norway at an international conference
  • Presented at two AUA annual conferences and one AUA regional symposium
  • Run a number of workshops and presented at conferences within Bournemouth University
  • Become Second Author on a book chapter in LeanHE coming out later this year
  • Started studying the MSc in HE Administration, Management and Leadership at Nottingham Trent University

I can honestly say that all this started after I began the PgCert and realised that I (we all!) are capable of doing so much more in the HE community.



Charlotte Cowley PgCert AMAUA
School Manager
School of Economics, Finance & Management
University of Bristol

Tuesday 16 April 2019 had been a day that I had been anticipating for three years. When I first started the PgCert programme in April 2016, I had no idea that the journey I was about to embark on would be so epic. In the space of 36 months, I had identified strengths and weaknesses within my professional skill set, changed job role twice, inherited a new team, felt the emotional impact of an intense workload and had become a mother for the first time. Weaved throughout all of this was my journey to the completion of the PgCert, something I could not have achieved without the support of my family, my student cohort, my mentor and the AUA Professional Development team. Needless to say, the graduation ceremony that took place on 16 April this year was more than just a formality; it was an acknowledgement of achievement and recognition that we, as students of the PgCert, had dedicated two years of our lives to improving our knowledge of the sector, our management and leadership skills, and our confidence in our own abilities to be great at what we do.

It was a great feeling to be sat amongst colleagues that had all shared the PgCert experience and that were feeling equally as nervous, yet excited to be collecting their certificate on stage in front of hundreds of people. The gowns set us apart from the masses but also filled many of us with a sense of pride; we see hundreds if not thousands of students within our working environments who long for the day to wear such a robe, which made the whole experience even more rewarding.

Prior to the formal start of the ceremony, Dame Shirley Pearce greeted us all with congratulations for “such a fantastic achievement”, which was very lovely and helped many of us to relax beforehand, and then we were given instructions on where to stand etc by the AUA Professional Development team, Jane Reid and Fiona Ramsay. As we were called up one-by-one on to the stage to receive our certificates, the applause and cheers from the audience was uplifting and suddenly all the nerves were gone. I can honestly say that during that moment, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and joy.

Following the ceremony, and before we gathered together for group photographs, I was approached by someone I hadn’t seen since before my submission of my final assignment, and that was my PGC mentor, Heather Moyes. It was so wonderful to see her! I had no idea that she would be there, so it was a truly lovely surprise and I felt overcome with emotion as I hugged and thanked her for everything she had done to support me through the programme.

Following lots of group photographs and catching up with colleagues, we were then whisked off with our friends and families to a lovely afternoon tea at Christie’s Bistro, not far from the conference venue, where we had more formal group and individual photos taken and enjoyed lunch whilst catching up with each other. It was such a lovely occasion and the attention and celebrations we were given really made the day incredibly special.

I wish to thank the AUA, and in particular Jane and Fiona, for organising such a wonderful day for us and our friends/families, and for the time and effort you invested in making it an occasion that we shall never forget.


Leave a Reply

0 comments on “Graduating from the PgCert | AUA Blog