Message from outgoing Chair, Chris Ince MAUA

Hello fellow AUA members,

It only struck me in conversation the other day that I’m no longer Chair and am now Vice-Chair; not the strangest thing to happen in lockdown but one that had kind of snuck up on me!

The last two years being AUA Chair really have been an immense privilege and I’m now looking forward to the next year supporting Amanda and the rest of the Board. The AUA is a great organisation with an amazing range of people volunteering their time to support its activities, delivering sessions, working in the office or in some other capacity.  So, a huge thanks to all of you from me for anything and everything you have done.

The HE sector, along with everything else, is going to change rapidly over the coming months as we adapt to some new ways of working, different personal and institutional priorities or having to respond very swiftly to external factors. The AUA’s critical role in supporting you is emphasised in the research coming out of the Future HE Professionals Project and has informed our updated Strategy and Plan, which we are discussing at the Board of Trustees in mid-August. Although these are challenging and uncertain times there are some massively positive things to look forward to for the AUA.

I wish you all the best for what 20/21 brings and hope that an AUA conga, or a much over-hyped AUA rap, will feature at some point in the not too distant future.


Message from incoming Chair, Amanda Oliver FAUA

Dear AUA Members

I am delighted and feel honoured to be your new AUA Chair from 1 August. I have worked in the sector for over 36 years now and have been associated with AUA for over 20 of those, mostly as an Assessor for the PgCert, as Chair of Board of Studies, and on the Board of Trustees, and so paths would have crossed with many of you already and hopefully with more of you over the next two years in my role as Chair.

Firstly, I would like to thank Chris Ince, outgoing Chair, for his leadership and direction of the Board during the past two years. The AUA has made significant developments during this time, a new 12 month PgCert programme, an innovative and flexible approach to studying; launch of AUA Consulting sharing expertise and knowledge across the sector to provide business improvement; and embedding of the CRM and website communications delivering more effective and regular messaging to members to name but a few.

The next two years are undoubtedly going to be challenging for the sector and for those working in the sector as we continue to adapt to the unimaginable impact that COVID-19 has had on our professional and personal lives. What we can be sure of is that ways of working and communicating with each, with students, and with colleagues will be different, perhaps for the better some might suggest. Flexibility and agility will continue to be expected of us as will the need for all of us to be resilient but with an imperative to focus on the wellbeing of ourselves and others. The AUA has also been adapting to this approach and the imminent launch of the Diamond Jubilee Strategy and Vision, as we approach our 60th year as the AUA, will have at its core a focus on connecting individuals and providing professional development support to our members, meeting members’ needs for their ongoing and future professional development.

I am often known for having an optimistic approach to life and at this current time I feel no different. Enduring the impact of COVID-19 has taught me a lot about how we will need to work in the future and the need to look after ourselves in the process; but I also recognise the opportunities that this will bring for both those working in the education sector and for the AUA. The refreshed strategy and vision present these in the form of ‘Empowering you on your career journey; Improving your professional practice; and Supporting your professional development; you can read more about this here. Look out for exciting opportunities for members to develop themselves further in the future and ways in which the AUA will be your support mechanism for achieving this.

I look forward to serving as the AUA Chair and to meeting more of you over the coming couple of years. If you have any questions for me you can contact me at:


Introducing our new Trustees…

Ruth Coomber FAUA

Having been a member of the AUA since 2013, I have been able to engage in a wide range of activities available through membership which has supported my professional development. I have a genuine interest in supporting the work of the AUA and I have a strong commitment to the AUA Behaviours and values. I am delighted to be taking up my appointment as Trustee on the Board at an exciting time and look forward to supporting developing and widening the offerings for AUA members.

Gerry Weber FAUA

I am delighted to have been appointed to the Board of Trustees and look forward to helping the AUA to further strengthen its reputation for connecting and developing HE professionals. Personal and professional development have never been more important than they are today. The relentless pace of change – not to mention the occasional pandemic – requires professional staff to be increasingly adaptable and resilient. The AUA is uniquely placed to help individuals and institutions to achieve this goal.

Steve Smith MAUA

I’m delighted to be becoming an AUA trustee as the organisation approaches its diamond jubilee anniversary. I hope that I can use my experience in HE, and indeed that from a prior career in the private sector, to help the AUA develop and continue to support its members in facing the challenges ahead.


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