Here's the latest news from AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation.
AMOSSHE, the national Student Services Organisation, is supporting five of its members to deliver short, fixed projects looking into Student Services. The teams will all report by summer 2013, and research spans a range of the services that members work across.
Ben Lewis, AMOSSHE Chair and Head of Student Advisory Services at Cardiff University, said:
"I am delighted that AMOSSHE is directly supporting work in Student Services across the UK on developing what we offer and evidencing our impact. We’re enabling staff in teams who might not otherwise have been able to pursue projects to help shape the future of their field. When the panel convened to consider the funding proposals, we were so impressed with the quality and breadth of ideas that we agreed to double the amount of funding for the #amossheis20 projects. To have five new pieces of work report at our annual conference ‘Imagine…’ this summer is exciting for delegates, and we hope for many other staff in the sector across the UK."
The project funding was awarded following a competitive invitation to put forward research ideas. The projects are (listed alphabetically by higher education provider):
All of the projects’ outputs will be available in summer 2013.
The projects have been funded as part of a range of activities to mark AMOSSHE’s twentieth year. This summer will also see the issue of a commemorative publication. Follow the celebrations on twitter @amosshe_uk or using #amossheis20.
AMOSSHE marked its twentieth birthday in 2012/13 with a range of events and membership resources.
The Association of Heads of Polytechnic Student Services was established in 1976. Its constitution was rewritten in 1992, formally creating the Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education. This evolved into AMOSSHE, the Student Services Organisation.
AMOSSHE delivers against the propositions that:
As part of this remit, and in light of 2012/13 being our twentieth year, AMOSSHE undertook a programme of celebratory activity, inviting members to drive this work.
In early January 2013, AMOSSHE invited members to put forward ideas for small research projects in any area of Student Services. We received several high quality proposals, and were so impressed we invested reserves in funding more work than we had originally anticipated: five projects in all.
These projects are part of our commitment to a membership priority led research agenda, supporting members’ professional development, and broadening the evidence base for Student Services in the UK.
The small research projects support innovative activity or learning in Student Services that would not normally attract full funding from within the practitioner’s university. Our critiera included clear benefits to the wider AMOSSHE community to learn from the project.
As a result of the expertise, high standards and dedication of the AMOSSHE member project teams, the twentieth anniversary projects were extremely successful, and made a real impact in the sector. Because of this, AMOSSHE is dedicated to a continuing programme of funding for member-led projects. This programme of funding is called AMOSSHE Insight.
AMOSSHE is delighted to publish the case study report and supporting materials resulting from its national Students FIRST project. Students FIRST asked:
Dr. Andrew West, Chair of AMOSSHE and Director of Student Services at the University of Sheffield said:
“Students FIRST is a landmark piece of work. Prior to Students FIRST, there was little readily-available evidence to test the rationale behind targeted-spend bursary models. Equally, the learning in this project underpins a range of tools and templates to help improve the relationship between HE professionals (like Student Services staff) and commercial IT providers, to put the student at the centre of those relationships from the outset.”
Professor Sir Deian Hopkin, chair of the Students FIRST project board said:
“At a time when the cost of higher education is being increasingly borne by students themselves, it is vitally important that we keep a close eye on participation rates to ensure that no-one is deterred from achieving their potential simply because of money. We also need to speak the language of students, and supporting them via the media they use and understand best. Students FIRST provides important insight into one effective way targeted bursaries can be used to support students, and how universities can make the best use of communications technology.”
AMOSSHE thanks those involved in the project for their support in the past eighteen months. JISC provided essential funding as part of its Relationship Management in Higher Education programme strand. Anglia Ruskin University and the University of East London worked closely with the researchers and commercial partners, and John Smith’s Booksellers provided critical information about products and usage. BlackBoard Connecttxt and Modus contributed helpfully to the guidance materials produced. Finally, the researchers at Continuum, the Centre for Widening Participation showed a great deal of professionalism in analysing what seemed to be endless streams of data. Students FIRST’s outputs are truly from the sector and for the sector, and will inform future developments both in bursary provision and technology interactions in higher education.
Ben Lewis has been elected as the Chair of AMOSSHE, the Student Services Organisation and will take this post from 1 September 2012 for two years. Ben has been influential in AMOSSHE’s development for several years, including posts as Treasurer and Vice Chair. He has supported the organisation to increase its profile, with a focus on membership engagement and giving a voice to Student Services professionals.
Ben is Head of Student Advisory Services at Cardiff University. He leads a range of student support services provided at Cardiff University covering advice and guidance, financial support, international student support, disability, dyslexia and mental health support and the Chaplaincy. He was Vice Chair of AMOSSHE for the period 2010-12 and previously spent two years on the AMOSSHE Executive Board, including one year as Treasurer.
Ben Lewis, incoming Chair of AMOSSHE and Head of Student Advisory Services at Cardiff University, said:
“We face challenging times, but also times of opportunity. I am looking forward to working with colleagues to develop the way AMOSSHE can represent our members’ interests and grow new resources which can help us all in the future. I thank Andrew for his support, friendship and dedication to the organisation and it's members.”
Dr. Andrew West, the outgoing Chair of AMOSSHE and Director of Student Services at the University of Sheffield, said:
”I am delighted to be handing over the AMOSSHE leadership baton to Ben Lewis, with whom I have worked closely over the last two years in his role as AMOSSHE Vice-Chair. AMOSSHE enters the next academic year in a strong position and with exciting plans to develop our activities and services further, for the benefit of members. Ben is very well placed to take these developments forward and I send him my warmest wishes.”
Also taking on new roles in the officer’s group at AMOSSHE are: Brian Hipkin (Regent’s College London), Vice Chair; and Nicole Redman (University of East London), Vice-Chair (Operations). Sally Olohan (Nottingham Trent University) has been re-elected to the AMOSSHE Executive, and will be joined by three newly elected board members: Sam Dale (Durham University), Fay Sherrington (University of Salford), and Chris Twine (University of Birmingham).
AMOSSHE wishes all of the Executive officers and board members standing down at the end of August the best of luck with their future endeavours.
The full Executive committee for 2012/13 is:
AMOSSHE is delighted to announce a host of new services for AMOSSHE members adopting the Value & Impact management approach. In June 2011, we delivered the Value & Impact Toolkit to widespread sector acclaim. Today marks the next wave of Value & Impact management support.
Work to assess the Value and Impact of Student Support services is related to three key drivers and benefits:
The Value & Impact bank (members only), launched today, brings together existing evaluation materials from UK HEIs. It enables managers to consider what is currently available and how they might adapt that for their own evaluations. The Bank also allows members to draw on their tradition of sharing good practice and ideas, and to contribute to this evolving management practice.
Ben Lewis, Vice Chair of AMOSSHE and Head of Student Advisory Services at Cardiff University said:
“The Value & Impact Bank is a vital resource for Student Services managers. It champions the great work already being delivered by AMOSSHE members to fully understand the difference their services make to students, and to act on that learning to improve the student experience. The Value & Impact Bank will be the essential home for holistic evaluation as it develops.”
The Value & Impact Bank is an exclusive resource for AMOSSHE members. It can be accessed by logging into www.amosshe.org.uk and selecting ‘Members Resources.’
Feedback from pilot institutions involved in the Value & Impact Project and from colleagues who have considered using the Value & Impact Toolkit has highlighted the difficulties of the initial stages of introducing Value & Impact management. To help overcome these obstacles, AMOSSHE has developed a bespoke CPD offer of masterclasses to be delivered direct to university teams.
“We designed Value & Impact Onsite specifically to address the challenges of moving to holistic service evaluation that Student Services across the UK have reported to us. These include addressing staff concerns, skills needs, departmental culture issues, change management, and the opportunity to test and become familiar with the tools and templates from the Value & Impact Toolkit in a safe environment. If these issues sound familiar, Value & Impact Onsite could be invaluable for your department.”
Value & Impact Onsite is available to book from today. Information about the service is at www.amosshe.org.uk/projects/vip/onsite.
We will be tweeting from today’s Value & Impact workshop using #amosshevip. Follow us @amosshe_uk to find out more about the new services launched as part of Value & Impact Day, and top tips from the workshop.
AMOSSHE is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Sir Deian Hopkins as an independent chair for the JISC-funded Students FIRST project board. Students FIRST, coordinated by AMOSSHE, is working with partners at University of East London, Anglia Ruskin University and John Smith, together with several other technology providers, to investigate the impact of targeted bursary interventions on student retention and transitions.
Professor Sir Deian Hopkin has a keen interest in widening participation and student finance. Deian is the President of the National Library of Wales, after 44 years in higher education which included roles as the Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University and his appointment as the interim-chairman of the Student Loans Company (SLC) in 2010 following his inquiry into the SLC’s performance. Deian is looking forward to working with all the Students FIRST project partners, and exploring the difference that technology-delivered bursaries make to the student experience.
Professor Sir Deian Hopkin said:
“At a time when the cost of higher education is being increasingly borne by students themselves, it is vitally important that we keep a close eye on participation rates from different parts of the community to ensure that no-one is deterred from achieving their potential simply because of money. We also need to ensure that students are properly supported when they do enter university and Student FIRST is an important initiative in this respect. I am delighted to work with my colleagues to find the most effective ways of making bursaries work, to the benefit of students now and in the future. “
“Professor Sir Deian Hopkin’s passion for UK higher education, together with his experience of improving student finance provision at the SLC will be a real boost to the board. We are delighted that he is joining us, and the priority that he is according Students FIRST alongside his other national commitments shows the importance of the project. Students FIRST will greatly enhance our understanding of the impact of directing bursary support to specific provision at universities. It will be interesting to see whether the links between support provision, finance advice, and individualised student information can become seamless using the innovative blend of technologies in Students FIRST.”
In this StudentAffairs.com podcast, AMOSSHE Chair Andrew West discusses higher education professional bodies and AMOSSHE’s Value & Impact project.
Listen to the podcast here.
AMOSSHE has today published to members a management support pack to accompany the Value & Impact toolkit. The management support pack is a supplementary resource for managers, bringing together a change and culture management guidance with the value and impact resources. Adopting Value and Impact, across a department or even just within one specific service, is about a change in management approach. The support pack aids managers in introducing and embedding the Value and Impact approach in their teams. Find it here: Management Support Pack (members only).
Work to assess the value and impact of student support services is realted to three key drivers and benefits:
In these stringent times amidst the rhetoric of fees, student experience, widening access and key information, it is essential that managers challenge themselves to understand and address the value and impact of their services.
The pilot experience in the initial Value and Impact Project exposed many challenges for management wishing to adopt the approach. Asking teams to evaluate their services holistically can be daunting. It takes time, asks professions to consider their services and performance in ways they may not have previously considered, and requires tools and skills to be developed and refined. AMOSSHE has responded to these complex challenges by working with Jan Shine, Paullus Consultancy, to create a suite of management support resources and a development programme. The management support pack is the first output from this collaboration.
Dr Andrew West; Chair of AMOSSHE and Director of Student Services at the University of Sheffield said:
"Value and Impact of student services is a rewarding and challenging experience. I am delighted that our recent member survey demonstrates that so many of our members are making use of AMOSSHE's Value and Impact toolkit. Our new management support pack is a great additional resource to help members embed this holistic approach to evaluation."
The management support pack is a members' only resource, and can be accessed by logging in to the members' area of the website. It will be followed with two training days in 2012: a strategic conference 'Value and Impact: why do we do what we do?' on 20 January 2012 and a practical workshop 'Value and Impact: leadership strategy' on 21 March 2012. AMOSSHE is also developing a members' only repository of tools already used in Student Services departments across the UK: further information about this is available from the Value and Impact Project Officer.
AMOSSHE thanks Jan Shine of Paullus Consultancy for her work in developing the Management Support Pack.
The AMOSSHE toolkit is available in two formats: a full PDF and an online resource.
Liz Bromley, AMOSSHE Vice Chair (Operations) 2009-2013 and Director of Student Life, University of Salford, appeared on a Granada News feature about clearing.
Bromley said: "It's not just about them [students] coming in the door; it's about them being successful, being happy, and leaving as graduate that's going to into the world of work and do really well."
Today’s publication of the National Student Survey results show another improvement in student satisfaction with personal development provision at institutions across the UK. AMOSSHE members* often have lead responsibility for this work, and we are pleased to see this as a key area of improved satisfaction.
We commend the hard work and commitment of managers of Student Services and their teams across the UK in delivering high quality student experience. AMOSSHE will continue to work with our members towards continued improvement in the value and impact of student support services within the holistic student experience.
* 35% of respondents to the 2010 AMOSSHE members’ survey were responsible for study skills, 15% for English language skills, 69% for health promotion and 35.4 for volunteering.
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