Meet Amanda Shilton Godwin | AUA Career Stories


Amanda Shilton Godwin FAUA | Head of Professional Development at the AUA

For the last five years Amanda has headed up all things professional and developmental, including content for conferences and seminars, the AUA CPD Framework and the Mark of Excellence. Today is her last day, as she is retiring to spend more time with her family and on her other role as a Labour Party Councillor. We are all very sad to see her go, but extremely grateful for her contribution and commitment to the AUA.

How long have you worked in HE and what was your first position?

I started off working in HE in 1996 – as General Manager of the Students’ Union at UClan. It wasn’t my first job – I’d worked for Oxfam for ten years before that.  After Uclan I went on to be Deputy Chief Executive of NUS Services – then the commercial arm of NUS. I was there for 7 years. Then after a spell as a Director at Henshaws society for Blind People here in Manchester I came to the AUA as Head of Professional Development.

What three words best describe the AUA?

Staff have a different experience of course, but for me, warm, connected and professional. We’re like family here.

What advice do you have for prospective AUA members?

Well I’d say join. And then, join in. The opportunity to learn and develop starts with you and your curiosity – what do you want to know about and understand better?  The real value of AUA membership is the connection to others and the inspiration you can get from learning about how others are tackling the same issues. So you have to get stuck in to benefit from that.

What do you value most about working in HE?

For me, it’s the connection to ideas and the freedom to explore them – that’s a huge privilege, I think. There are so many people doing such interesting work, and it’s been a big part of my job to have to find out about them and get them to speak at conferences and events.  I’ve met such a lot of interesting people.

What do you think is the most overused phrase in HE?

‘Going forward’. When – and why – did we start ‘going forward?’ And are we? Can we stop?

What does professionalism mean to you?

Above all else, behaving ethically and with integrity. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at work though

What can’t you start your day without?


What work accomplishment are you the proudest of?

As a forty year career draws to a close (gulp) that’s another big question.  I achieved a restructure and financial turnaround at UClan Students Union; and led the development of a £60 million Central Billing system while I was at NUS Services. But both those things are a long time ago now.  Here at AUA, I’m particularly proud of three achievements; moving the PgCert to NTU which has been a huge success; developing the Mark of Excellence which has supported opportunities for so many professional services staff; and most recently, shaping our new values. But all of these things have been big team efforts in which I have played a part. No-one ever does anything alone and I’m really proud of the great staff team here and grateful for the unstinting support I have had from fantastic volunteers. They know who they are.

What is your personal philosophy?

Justice; equality, integrity.

What is the one thing you cannot resist?

Checking WhatsApp for new pictures or videos of my 2 year old granddaughter

Where is your favourite place to be?

Manchester. That’s why I am here. You can go to the theatre or at a concert every night of the week – but in an hour you can be in the heart of the Lake District

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

I had a pools round when I was 16. It was pretty lucrative, at least I thought so at the time – about £3.00 a week. And illegal since I wasn’t 18!

What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?

Communications technology – phone and internet etc.  We didn’t even have a phone (‘a’ phone) in our house until I was about 7 or 8. And I had been at work already for about fifteen years before the first computer came into the office.

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

There’s a brilliant phrase in the book, The Help.(which I’d heartily recommend ) ‘You is important.’ Believing that would have been quite steadying for me at a tricky time. We all need to trust our kids to believe in themselves.



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