Shared professional interests

Our themed networks connect you to colleagues who work, or share an interest, in a specific area of higher education.

Get connected with like-minded colleagues and those in the know.

Our networks

Applicant Experience

Network Coordinator: Janet Graham MAUA, Director, SPA

supporting professionalism in admissions spa

Launched in March 2010 by the AUA and SPA this network is for all staff in HE who are involved in the whole ‘Applicant Experience’ from outreach and widening participation through application, transition and the student experience.

This network is convened by SPA, the UK-wide independent Supporting Professionalism in Admissions Programme, that supports professionalism in admissions in the widest sense and which is funded by all the UK HE funding councils. SPA is developing its ‘Applicant Experience Strategy’ working with institutions.

The network is a cross function forum for experts and those new to higher education working in different areas of HE administration. It aims to discuss and share views, disseminate current issues and developments, and increase understanding of the applicant experience within the HE provider institution at a strategic and practitioner level.

The network covers: how policies and procedures should be developed to meet the needs of the institution and applicant; how the use of the web, IT support and paperless systems could be expanded; how planning and change could be managed; the role of marketing and customer relationship management; contextual data and the individual holistic assessment; monitoring and tracking of applicants; and other areas the group itself identifies as important to an applicant experience strategy.

There are four stages that comprise the applicant experience and staff involved in the group would most likely have some contact with these stages:

1. Pre-Application

2. Application

3. Post-Application

  • Unsuccessful applicants and feedback
  • Offer making and post-offer

4. Transition


Membership of the network is open to anyone who is interested in these areas and would like to learn more about and contribute to professionalism within the wide area of the applicant experience, the precursor to the whole student experience. Members of this cross-function Network would not only feed into the development of good practice but would also learn more about working together with colleagues both in their own institution and externally who are involved in the broad and wide ranging applicant experience and be able to enhance their personal and professional development.

There is an opportunity to contribute to the development of good practice in the applicant experience area which would feed into SPA’s work as well as professional development opportunities through the AUA and the UCAS Professional Development Programme.

Discounts are available for Network members to attend SPA conferences and events.


Change network

Change network

Network Coordinator – Christopher Sarchet FAUA, Associate Consultant, Sums Consulting

Middle Managers are literally ‘caught in the middle’ between senior management and a diverse grouping of stakeholders and have to operate in very public arenas. They are asked to effect change with limited resources primarily relying on their experience, and are asked to achieve it at ever increasing speed!

The majority of those interviewed realised that communication was paradoxically the answer and the problem. They said that they would welcome practice based assistance from their colleagues on the projects that they were facing (and this to include advice from failed projects with lessons learnt) and ideally have access to a network of experienced professionals in the sector. The profession of management was still considered to be in its infancy in the sector.

The network seeks to improve professional practice by:

  • Hosting an annual open forum 
  • Providing working sessions to the AUA Annual Conference, reviewing experience and providing practical advice
  • Publishing Good Practice Guides based upon experience of achieving change in higher education (eg Good Practice Guide 36 Communication Good Practice Guide)
  • Providing networking and support opportunities for colleagues


Departmental Administrators

Departmental Administrators

Network Coordinator – Katie Allan MAUA, Faculty Education Manager, University of Bristol

This network is the place where you can share good practice, find mutual support, exchange information and generate great ideas. Membership is open to anyone interested in departmental administration.

The network exists to:

  • Promote awareness and understanding of the strategic importance of the role of faculty, school and departmental administrative staff to their institutions
  • Provide a forum for to discuss areas of shared interest
  • Provide opportunities for career development

The network seeks to improve professional practice by:

  • Hosting a regular departmental administrators conference
  • Present working sessions at the AUA Annual Conference
  • Updating and promoting the departmental administrators Good Practice Guide
  • Provide networking and support opportunities for colleagues and a forum to discuss areas of shared interest
  • Explore new ways to use technology to enhance networking 

“I am a passionate advocate for the vital work undertaken by administrative staff in departmental and school contexts and believe that they are often under-valued within their institutions as a whole. I am keen to develop the network and to reach out to new and existing members to provide them with development opportunities and support for their roles and also to promote departmental administration to colleagues as a rewarding career.”
Katie Allan, Network Coordinator


Equality and Diversity

Equality and Diversity

Network Coordinator – Vacant – to apply please visit

Network Secretary – Joanne Davis, Administrative Officer (Academic Services), Warwick Business School

The network exists to:

  • Provide specialist advice to the AUA Board of Trustees in relation to equality and diversity matters, both proactively and in response to requests
  • Promote awareness and understanding of equality, diversity and widening participation issues
  • Proactively support members in the implementation of policies and procedures and in embedding good practice in this area
  • Contribute to the AUA Annual Conference by proposing and advising on appropriate sessions relevant to equality and diversity
  • Liaise with the AUA office in developing and planning relevant equality and diversity workshops for the HE sector
  • Network with other organisations and sources of expertise within and outside the HE sector
  • Assist the AUA in disseminating good practice in equality and diversity, through publications and events
  • Provide a forum for AUA members to discuss areas of shared interest around equality and diversity
  • Have a formal role in providing AUA and other networks with expert advice in relation to their policies and practices relevant to equality and diversity
  • Contribute to the ongoing maintenance of the AUA website by providing advice on sections relevant to equality and diversity

We welcome all members who have expertise or interest in equality, diversity or widening participation. 

As a members of the network you can expect to gain the following:

  • Increased knowledge and awareness of equality and diversity matters
  • Involvement in events and activities
  • Playing a part in promoting equality and diversity in the AUA
  • Face-to-face networking with other members

“I’m really excited by this opportunity to lead the Equality and Diversity Network as its new Coordinator. Equality and diversity issues are hugely important, and think the work of the network is vital to promote good practice and developments in this area. My vision for the Equality and Diversity network is that we lead the debate about equality issues, and engage effectively with both AUA members and the sector as a whole. I hope to offer enthusiastic leadership and a welcoming and open Network.”
Gillian Hargreaves, Network Coordinator


Finance and Financial Procedures

Finance and Financial Procedures

Network Coordinator – Vacant – to apply please visit

This group is for finance professionals and finance support staff working in HE. It is also of interest to those who are responsible for financial decisions but are not necessarily finance professionals. Through this network we aim to share finance best practice, information and ideas that may impact on our work in our departments and faculties, the HE sector, and the wider finance world (the latter in order to keep updated, especially if in the future it may be adapted by the standard setters/regulatory bodies to impact on the HE sector).

The network exists to:

  • Share best practice in finance (including purchasing and reporting)
  • Share finance-related news and articles (e.g. ACCA, financial press) that could have potential impact on our processes
  • Share changes to published accounting standards and how we are all dealing with this (e.g. the new SORP for HE)
  • Share knowledge in general (including supporting research staff with basic full economic costing)
  • Broaden the support network for finance professionals working in HE and provide guidance to one another on matters that can often be unique to the HE sector.
  • Assist non-finance staff by addressing their finance issues in jargon-free terms

Membership is open to finance staff, finance support staff, budget holders, non-finance staff who are responsible for finance matters and anyone with an interest in finance in higher education.

“I hope network members will use this network to share documents and snippets of information they have found from their regulatory bodies, their institutions and generally in the media, and open debate and conversation on their findings so that we can provide the best possible knowledge and support in our roles.”
Allison Biggs, Network Coordinator


HE in FE

HE in FE

Network Coordinator – Trevor Moore, HE Systems Development Manager, Bradford College

This network is designed to benefit colleagues whose roles focus on HE within FE and mixed-economy colleges. It is intended to promote links between colleagues nationally, raising awareness of the professional network that surrounds them and can support them. It is intended to provide a forum that allows practitioners of HE in FE to raise issues and queries with their peers, to share best practice, to produce guidance and training that is focused on their specific needs and a voice to ensure that this section of our profession is actively represented and engages with national developments.

This network exists to:

  • Raise awareness of the AUA and the support network it provides for colleagues working in HE in FE
  • Engage with colleagues from a large cross section of FE and mixed-economy colleges providing HE in the UK
  • Provide a forum that allows colleagues to raise issues and share best practice in a supportive environment 
  • Develop guidance and training materials that address the specific circumstances that HE in FE practitioners encounter
  • Lobby on behalf of members

“I have been a university administrator for 15 years, specialising in HE in FE and mixed-economy colleges. For the last 10 years I have been a manager in one of the UK’s largest providers of HE in FE (Bradford College). I have carried out, managed and advised on a very broad range of processes during this time, and have have gradually progressed from general administration and management to more technical, data-focused and developmental roles.”
Trevor Moore, Network Coordinator


International Higher Education

International Higher Education

Network Coordinator – David Law MAUA, Keele University

The International Higher Education Network (IHEN) was formed to raise awareness of the international dimension to HE. The network provides the opportunity for you to get involved in the international work of the AUA.

The network exists to:

  • Provide specialist advice to the AUA Board of Trustees in relation to international matters, both proactively and in response to requests from the Board
  • Promote awareness of the international dimension to HE
  • Support greater understanding of the international dimension of HE by promoting and encouraging opportunities for members based in the UK and Ireland to gain experiences in other countries
  • Assist the Board of Trustees in developing study tours
  • Contribute to the AUA Annual Conference by proposing and advising on appropriate sessions relevant to the international dimension in HE
  • Support the AUA’s international links with partner organisations and to develop links in countries without such partnerships
  • Network with organisations and sources of expertise within and outside the HE sector
  • Assist the AUA in disseminating good practice gained through international interactions, through publications and events
  • Provide a forum for AUA members to discuss areas of shared interest around the international dimension in HE

The IHEN is open to all with an interest in how institutions operate in different national and international contexts.  Enthusiasm and a willingness to bring ideas for activities inside and outside of the UK and Ireland are the most important qualities of IHEN members!


Organisational Development

Organisational Development

Network Coordinator – Amanda Owen-Meehan

Organisational development (OD) covers the performance, development and effectiveness of organisations. It focuses on how organisations function and their capacity to learn and change in order to improve their effectiveness. The Organisational Development Network exists to provide a forum for discussion and sharing of knowledge and good practice to help develop and enhance AUA members’ understanding of organisational development particularly in terms of coaching and mentoring.

The network is a member-led group that provides resources and opportunities for AUA members and staff within HE to share knowledge to develop and enhance their understanding of organisational development, particularly in terms of coaching and mentoring.

Within this overarching aim, the network will have a multi-disciplinary focus to cover a wide range of organisational development areas particularly mentoring, and coaching but also broader areas such as: leadership development, team building, performance improvement, workload and workforce (the former focussing on efficient use of resources and the latter on training and succession planning issues) planning and so forth.

The network exists to:

  • Provide specialist advice to the AUA Board of Trustees in relation to organisational development matters, both proactively and in response to requests from the Board
  • Provide a forum for members to network and discuss areas of shared interest around organisational development in HE
  • Provide a range of resources in relation to organisational development. In particular, to support coaching and mentoring as tools for organisation development
  • Promote awareness and understanding of organisational development issues
  • Support members in the implementation of policies and procedures in this area, both proactively and in response to specific queries
  • Support AUA PG Cert mentors and provide information to aspiring PG Cert mentors
  • Support the AUA in information exchange and disseminating best practice in this area through publications and events
  • Network with other organisations and sources of expertise within and outside HE

The network is for anyone with an interest or experience in organisational development, particularly coaching and mentoring and how this relates to both their current role and future career development in HE.

Members can expect:

  • Increased knowledge and awareness of areas within the organisational development area
  • Involvement in AUA events and activities
  • Networking with other members and interested OD practitioners within HE and potentially practitioners in other sectors
  • Potential for networking with other members of professional bodies




Network Coordinator – Anne Jackson FAUA, Registrar and Secretary, Bishops Grosseteste University

This network enables you to exchange ideas and share good practice in: HE in FE, European collaborations and university business cooperation. 

The network discusses and exchanges information and good practice about:

  • Operation and organisation of different national and international collaborative partnerships
  • Quality assurance of validated provision
  • Programme delivery from FE, HE and international perspectives
  • Development of HE provision in an FE context
  • The role of university and college administration
  • University business cooperation

“I am passionate about HE and about the AUA, and I am now looking forward to serving the AUA in this role, bringing together partnerships specialists so that we can all network and develop further professionally”
Anne Jackson, Network Coordinator


Private Providers

Alternative Providers

Network Coordinator – Angela Foo, Quality Executive, ESCP Europe

This network focuses on Alternative Providers (AP) and Private Providers (PP), and people or organisations who want to work, learn more or become involved with them.

The network addresses pressing matters causing concern specifically with PPs by knowledge transfer and mutual support. Areas include designation, HTS, HESA, student finance, supporting each other to a QAA regulated environment.

We are a very inclusive group that operates openly and transparently to encourage the sharing of best practice and knowledge transfer opportunities while supporting each other in a non competitive environment, during challenging times, giving members a forum to network with others in similar roles facing similar challenges.

The network exists to:

  • Attract more AUA members working in private/alternative providers
  • Give those members a forum to network with others in similar roles facing similar challenges
  • Provide the opportunity to share ideas, knowledge and best practice to support each other with any challenges or complexities associated to PP
  • Attract new members who want to gain a greater understanding of PPs or work in  an area of the sector that engages with PP

We undertake the following activities:

  • Set up a forum for sharing knowledge
  • Hold quarterly meeting of the SIG to debate current topic and issues.
  • Deliver sessions at national and regional conferences
  • Work with the AUA team to encourage membership to private providers
  • Integrate PP/APs more fully with public providers and vice versa
  • Represent the AUA at any PP related events

Membership is open to anyone working in or with private providers and those with an interest in private providers.


Quality Practitioners

Quality Practitioners

Network Coordinator – Ruth Burchell, Quality Assurance Agency 

The Quality network aims to provide resources and opportunities for AUA members to engage in a variety of activities to promote a deeper knowledge and understanding of academic quality assurance and enhancement issues.

The intention is to have a small number of key members to coordinate activities/ information, and to draw on the wider AUA membership according to the expertise needed. It is hoped that in the longer term, as people contribute to the work of the Network, the core membership will grow.

The Quality group intends to develop online resources in the following areas for administrators (non-specialists or those just starting out in quality support) wishing to learn more about QA:

  • Finding out about academic quality and standards in HE
  • Learning the quality and standards vocabulary

In the longer term, it is hoped that the group will develop at least one practical guide on supporting the quality processes in HE.

The network will be seeking contributions to discussion papers/resources focusing on some of the following issues:

  • Innovative approaches to Quality Assurance (QA) – sharing experiences
  • The enhancement issue – how are people addressing the Quality Enhancement (QE) agenda and how successful are they being?
  • Student engagement in QA (SSLCs, surveys, etc) – and the ‘student as customer’ debate
  • Measuring quality without policing
  • Synergies between QA of taught and research provision

There are many networks for higher education quality specialists at a strategic level – for example the ARC Quality Practitioners’ Group, the Quality Strategy Network, GuildHE/UUK groups, and the various networks of Quality Assurance (QA) auditors and reviewers – many of whose members will also belong to the AUA. The AUA Quality Practitioners Network will add value to the sector by focusing on enhancing the professionalism of HE administrators who support the quality processes in HE.