Those who attended the annual Association of University Administrators conference shared their experiences with other University of Bath staff members recently. Rosie Hart, Programmes officer, reports on the session:
We invited Association of University Administrators (AUA) members to a feedback celebration to hear from staff who attended the AUA Annual Conference 2016 in Leeds. More University of Bath staff attended this year's conference than ever before so AUA advocate, Iain Forster-Smith invited attendees to present on their experiences.
Iain Forster-Smith started the session by talking about a working group he attended by Edinburgh Napier University staff. The group had got him thinking about our processes at the University of Bath. They had brought in a business intelligence software that made it easier to analyse information they collect to plan for the future, based on evidence. He found their honesty refreshing as they shared their experiences about the stages of the process. They openly admitted that the period at the start had been 'chaotic' and only now were they at a 'stable' stage.
Angela Pater talked about her rewarding experience of presenting at the conference and encouraged others to consider it in the future. Angela traveled to Poland on an AUA Study Tour in 2015, visiting universities across the country to find out about differences and similarities in their university systems. Her session at the AUA conference showcased her group’s findings and experiences. Interestingly, some Polish born Brits had attended and were able to provide more information and insight during discussions.
Rachel Acres had a very unique story of her time in Leeds. Rather than seeing the trip as a break or an excuse to take it a little bit easier than usual, she went for an early morning run on the second day. In a dramatic turn of events, Rachel fell and injured her ankle and ended up on crutches with not one, but two fractures! Still, she soldiered on and was back at the conference the same day and attending working groups, presentations and social events.
Tom Bond opened up discussion on the Higher Education Landscape following the CMA’s published recommendations to the HE sector, which led to lots of lively discussion in the room. Tom also spoke about being an AUA newbie and how he had enjoyed attending his first conference. He is already thinking about next year and how he will select his working groups differently without feeling the pressure to attend only sessions directly related to his current role.
Caroline Dangerfield talked about the value of attending AUA conferences, with 2016 being her third time. She gained from the time away from the office to think creatively, discuss some big issues, and work on her own self development. Her experience of networking and making contacts from other universities gave her a sense of pride in her profession and a reassuring feeling that we’re all in it together. Her favourite working group was on Emotional Intelligence and Collaborative Teams. It focused on a greater understanding of the benefits of developing emotional intelligence in HE.
Rosie Hart spoke of her enjoyment of Ben Goldacre’s talk (creator of www.badscience.net). The humorous and highly entertaining nature of his talk provided some light relief. He talked about the various inanimate objects the Daily Mail claimed contributed to cancer. He highlighted discrepancies with some in the list also being cited as preventing cancer, such as coffee. His mission is to move focus from sensationalist headlines to truth, evidence and real results. Rosie recommended his Ted talk to all.
Last up was Rebekah Hole, who shared Caroline’s enjoyment of the Emotional Intelligence and Collaborative Teams working group. Most of the attendees from Bath went to this session and there was unanimous agreement that this was a successful and useful session that could and should be explored further. Rebekah found their breaking down of the categories of emotional intelligence (EI) interesting. As a line manager, she found it a really valuable process to think about these different aspects, how they can help us consider the way we interact with others in the workplace and the importance of EI in making a team work well together.
Presentations were followed by a buffet, which gave members an opportunity to ask each other more in-depth questions and make plans for next year’s conference.
Bath AUA Advocate
|Engineering & Design|
Regional AUA Advocate
|Office of University Secretary|
|Rachel Acres||Humanities & Social Sciences|
|Tom Bond||Engineering & Design|
|Caroline Dangerfield||Vice-Chancellor’s Office|
|Rosie Hart||Engineering & Design|
|Rebekah Hole||Humanities & Social Sciences|