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.
Author: Jenny Medland, Student Experience Officer - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
It’s not often you’ll take time on a Wednesday morning to discuss whether you’re an elephant or a dolphin but that’s the position I found myself in when I attend the ‘Difficult Conversations’ training delivered by Mediation at Work.
The day-long workshop offered a mix of theory, group discussion and extremely helpful roleplaying exercises. I attended the training as I’m new to line management, but have found the content and advice really useful in all aspects of my role, including some of the trickier meetings!
We looked at the three kinds of difficult conversations you’re most likely to have in the workplace, and below I’ve summarised my key takeaways on how to manage them constructively.
1) Giving Bad News: Own it! It can be tempting to evade responsibility, but people will respect honesty and straight forwardness. Be honest, direct, and allow the other person time to process and the opportunity to come back with questions.
2) Addressing Conflict: Validate rather than justify. If someone is criticising or commenting on your behaviour, rather than jump to being defensive take the time to listen to what they’re saying, validate their perspective through active listening, and move the conversation on by focusing on a potential compromise or shared goal.
3) Giving Difficult Feedback: Start off by asking for permission to offer feedback e.g. “I’d like to talk to you about your behaviour in that meeting – is this OK”? Giving permission immediately makes people more responsive to hearing feedback and makes the conversation a two-sided discussion.
The best bit of advice I was given was probably the simplest – prepare yourself! Whilst you can’t ‘script’ a difficult conversation, identifying your own ‘default conflict behaviour’ (Kilmann’s conflict mode instrument is a helpful starting point); picking an appropriate setting/time and planning a rough structure for the conversation (we discussed the DESC model as a good one to use) can help keep the situation calm and you confident.
Find out more about the courses offered by Mediation at Work through their website.
Our Faculty/School Professional Academic Services have been awarded the AUA Mark of Excellence! We are the second institution in the country (but the first in the South) to receive the award, which demonstrates our commitment to the education, training, development and support of our staff. More information about the Mark of Excellence is here:
As noted in our award letter: The panel was very impressed with the work that staff had done to build upon the Framework to develop the University’s Effective Behaviours Framework approach, noting the drive and ambition to develop this further. The assessor highlighted as an area of exceptional practice, the high levels of staff engagement through the use of the SPDR+ and the high quality developmental conversations that this has brought about.
Thanks to everyone who has helped us to get to this stage, including our committed teams; Amanda Wylie, Staff Development Manager; our HR Business Partners and of course our project sponsors, Richard Brooks (Director of HR) and Diane Aderyn (Director of Finance and Commercial Services), who said of the award:
The University of Bath ‘Effective Behaviours Framework’ is based on the on the AUA CPD framework and has been enthusiastically embraced in the Academic Professional Services. I am delighted that the impact of this work has been recognised in the award of the Mark of Excellence; really effective performance by professional services is vital to the success and development of the University and this award will provide additional impetus to our plans to relaunch the Framework across the wider University.
The Directors of Administration, Iain-Forster Smith, Ann-Marie Hartland, Amanda Harper and Amanda Spencer have been invited to an AUA ceremony in London on 1st December to collect the award, photos to follow thereafter! Iain and Ann-Marie will also be delivering a working session at the AUA Conference earlier that day: http://www.aua.ac.uk/event_pages-211-2016-Development-Conference.html
Colleagues across the University -AUA members AND non-members alike- are warmly invited to attend all AUA talks this year
AUA Bath members have identified three themes for this coming year, our sessions will cover:
• Sector issues
• University priorities
• Career progression
A list of sessions booked so far are below with sign up details to attend:
23 November 2016: CMA and Immigration – Mr Mark Humphriss (University Secretary)
29 November 2016: Students’ Union Top Ten – Miss Amy Young (Representation & Engagement Manager) & Miss Lucy Woodcock (SU President)
5 December 2016: The Centre for Learning and Teaching – Professor Andrew Heath (Academic Director)
11 January 2017: Strategy & planning - Professor Bernie Morley (Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost)
Please sign up, come along and engage with the future.
Further details on the AUA and local activity here at Bath (including our new membership deal) can be found by clicking on the following links:
Or follow us on Twitter: @AUA_Bath OR #AUABath
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:
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 - email@example.com
Author: Ann-Marie Hartland, Director of Administration - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
As we're working towards the Mark of Excellence, it has given us a great opportunity, not only to be accredited by the AUA for the support and value we place in the development of our staff but to reflect on how the framework has become embedded within our teams and the impact it has had.
Launched in March 2016 at the AUA's Annual Conference, the AUA Mark of Excellence is a new award for Higher Education Institutions which recognises that the organisation has demonstrated its commitment to working with the AUA Statement of Values and CPD Framework and has embedded them into its organisational development provision.
Only recently, one of our probationers commented on the comprehensive nature and clarity of her objectives, not only focussing on the tasks themselves but on the 'how' they should be carried out. It has taken time and commitment to get this far but for those who do fully engage, the framework is becoming increasingly helpful in identifying areas for development and training. It's also helping us as Faculty/School managers to ensure that we are tailoring our staff development programme to the needs of our teams. Building on our progress so far, we're hoping to embed the effective behaviours framework into our grading structure, so that career progression within the framework is more clear but for the moment, we will just be focussing on the assessment day and convincing our assessor that we truly are excellent!
We will update soon hopefully celebrating our success in achieving the award.