Bath AUA

Bath AUA providing local support to help you enhance your career, boost your job prospects and create valuable networking opportunities

Topic: Members

Reflections of a recent graduate

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📥  Members

Author: Zoe Jeffery, PA to the Vice President (Implementation) 

At this time of year, I usually look back over what I have achieved (or not), things that have happened (good and bad), and try to make sense of how I can move forward in all aspects of my personal and work development.  This year, however, is slightly different and I would like to share with you why.

My journey began last September (2016) when I decided that I would like to study a masters in design. I knew I couldn’t take time out from my job to do this so I enrolled on a distance learning programme through Northumbria University.  The course was full-time for 1 year and although some thought it was impossible to work and study full time at the same time, I went ahead and did it anyway (I really don’t like being told I can’t do something).

My undergraduate degree is in fashion and textile design, and for the past ten years since graduating the opportunities for me to work in that industry have not (by my choice) been there. I have, however, always held such a deep passion for my creative fashion practice and have made sure that I design and make clothes when I can.

When I first embarked on the master’s programme I thought that it would be a continuation of my fashion practice and that I would be designing and making a collection of clothing, like I had for the undergraduate programme, but as the course developed I found that this was not going to be the case.

The course is based upon philosophical and psychological design theory, which really makes you think about what you do as a designer.  It involves reflective practice and action research, along with learning about the ‘human’ element of design through the use of empathy. Throughout the masters I learnt to use reflective practice and capability mapping to find out exactly who I am and how to get the best out of what I do.

When someone asks you what do you do? We normally answer with a generic job title, for example ‘I am a PA and I do this’.  We build up an idea of who we are through this title and sometimes we never take time to truly understand that we are much more than this.  Capability mapping is something that I really suggest everyone should try to find time to do.

Here is how you do it:

I used  virtual post it note board, but you can do it manually too.

Create a new board with you at the centre (use a picture or image that represents you).

Now, think about you as a person. What skills do you have that you can do really well? Add these to the board.

Then think about your values and attributes, for example kindness, empathy etc. and add these to the board.

Finally, add your passions to the board, for example baking, sewing, music, family -- anything that you love.

Once the post-its are in place, start to group them in to capabilities. It is quite amazing how you can start to build a picture of capabilities you never knew you had.

You will then have a board that looks a little bit like this:

There are so many personal development skills that I learnt whilst on the master’s programme, and I would really like to use the skills I have gained to help others with their personal development and careers goals. If anyone is interested in finding out more about these, I would be very happy to sit down with you and go through how you can start to better know what you are capable of.

So as 2018 approaches and I look back over what has been a deeply profound experience, I am more optimistic and positive about who I am, and what I can do. The best thing about it is that there is no need to wait until the end of each year to reflect back, I now have the tools to do this each and every day.

I am pleased to say I passed the degree and obtained a commendation and graduated on 4th December 2017.

Zoe Jeffery

My Fellowship of the AUA – a reflection

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📥  Members

Author: Iain Forster-Smith, Director of Administration, Faculty of Engineering & Design

As a member of the professional services team your main focus is always those you need to support.  Ensuring you do your upmost to provide everyone with what they need, from the staff you manage to colleagues and students both internal and external.

Finding time to reflect on your own professional development and achievements can sometimes be left on the back burner for another day. One day my boss, Gary Hawley (Dean, Faculty of Engineering & Design), told me to have a reflective day and spend a bit of time on things I needed to do.

So I did, I reopened the work I had started well over a year ago on the AUA Members site to finally submit my Fellowship application. The members site has a fantastic tool that enables you to easily capture all your personal development activity as well providing you with tools to support your own personal development plan.

For me applying for this Fellowship cements a number of key areas. My dedication to the Higher Education sector, there are many other types of fellowships I could have applied for, the AUA Fellowship signifies my work within the sector and has an amazing personal achievement for me. I believe firmly that your own and team development is vital to keeping ahead of the game and ensures we are all preparing for the future. Being a Fellow of the AUA, recognises that I have developed my own skills and knowledge, as well as showing that I have worked with others on their own personal development, and I have positively been able to influence others.

The process may seem an effort at first glance, but to be honest the effort is very little compared to the satisfaction you gain when successful in your application.



My tips to anyone who is considering applying to become either an Accredited Member of Fellow of the AUA would be to, keep up to date your personal development record on the AUA, reflect positively on your achievements and use the AUA CPD Framework to help you focus on what is needed. Everyone should have a critical friend who can read through your statement and provide you useful insight on your achievements. Finally, think wisely about your references, the people chosen must know how you commit yourself to both your own development and supporting the development others (depending on your role). Don’t put it off, with the Christmas break ahead it’s a perfect time to begin reflecting – so get cracking.
If you are interested in knowing more I will be setting up an interactive workshop in early 2017 for members to come along and start working through advancing their membership – so watch this space!


Reflections on the AUA PG Certificate – year 1


📥  Members

Author: Sally Lewis, Placements Officer, Faculty of Science

I began studying for the AUA’s PG Certificate in Higher Education Administration, Management and Leadership in October last year. This is a two year, distance learning course supported by three study days – mine have been in London – and is validated by Nottingham Trent University.
Although I have worked at the University for a fair few years, my previous roles were within an externally funded research unit (UKOLN) and it was only when I moved into my current role, within the Faculty of Science Placements Team, that I fully appreciated the range of professional service roles operating within HE and I was keen to increase my knowledge of the sector. My move coincided with the relaunch of the AUA Bath branch and I started going along to their events - including some informal coffee meets - where I got to know people from across the university and to hear about other development opportunities.

The PG Cert appealed because it offered me the opportunity to increase my knowledge and understanding of the HE sector and explore current issues. Fundamental to the course is the integration of knowledge into your own working practices – you gain very practical rather than theoretical and abstract knowledge. The self-directed nature of the course and the variety of options means that you can choose topics to study to suit your own interests and development needs. The first year consists of three assignments – each assessed by a 3,000 word essay. Having not had any experience of essay writing at postgraduate level before, this was the first skill that I had to develop, which I did with support provided through the programme’s online learning resources (and a visit to the drop-in writing centre on campus, highly recommended!). I chose to focus on: 1. Developments in the student voice; 2. The purpose and role of student support and guidance and 3. Current trends in the corporate governance of HEIs in the UK. Each of the assignments required me to look at the topic from my own institution’s perspective which gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues from across the University - and I am grateful to all colleague who shared their insights and expertise with me. I was able to relate the knowledge I was acquiring in my first two assignments to my work supporting students and the third assignment gave me the opportunity to learn about an area of which I had very little previous knowledge.

I am now starting on the second year of the programme – which is quite different in structure and focusses on developing reflective working practices …more of which later!

If you are interested in finding out more about the course, please do get in touch.



Bath AUA Membership deal - why you should sign up

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📥  Members


The AUA is committed to helping you succeed in your career. Our Bath Membership Scheme supports your career by recognising that you are dedicated to improving yourself and others.

Top 5 reasons to join the AUA:

....through Branch activities at Bath - learn more about this University

....getting to know colleagues at Bath from other departments

....attending national events is great way to keep in touch with professionals like you

....supporting your development, providing you with a wealth of tools and resources

....solving problems, keeping informed and networking

What you get if you join the AUA and who is it for:

AUA exists for our members. We offer support to help you enhance your career, boost your job prospects and create valuable networking opportunities. AUA membership empowers you to take control of developing your career whatever stage it is at.

Bath Membership Scheme:

The University supports the AUA and has purchased the bulk membership opportunity from the AUA, allowing you to sign up through the Branch Advocate for a discounted membership paid for by salary deduction.

Through the Bath scheme all members of staff who wish to join the AUA are entitled to the membership at the discounted costs below:

Subscription type:
Monthly Salary Deduction -  £5.07
Single annual payment - £60.80

Membership not through this scheme costs up to £10.80 per month/£143 annual payment

If you wish to join email your local Branch Advocate for further details  -