Association of University Administrators – 2013 Conference Reflections

While I have been a member of the Association of University Administrators (AUA) for a couple of years, I attended and presented at their annual conference for the first time in March 2013.

Why the AUA? There are certainly many HE professional associations/networks to choose to get involved in. The ODHE group itself is one, of course. Add to that the many other specialist organisations that include ARC, ARMA, ASET, AUCC, AGCAS, AURIL, AHUA, AISA, AMOSSHE, AUCSO, AUDE, SDF, UHR, and the lists and acronyms go on…

Firstly, the AUA has a substantial membership base of nearly 5,000 in the UK and a significant international presence, including strong connections with similar organisations in other countries. Its annual conference is the largest professional services development conference in the UK HE calendar and typically brings together over 700 delegates.

Secondly, our local University of Kent branch is very active and was thrilled to receive three AUA awards in 2012 including one recognising Branch Good Practice. The enthusiasm of our local membership was instrumental in my decision to also contribute more actively. I also like the idea of being involved with an organisation that is so much at the forefront in encouraging professional services staff to work in partnership with academic staff and students to encourage positive change and innovation in the core business of our institutions.

Thirdly, the AUA is making very good use good use of social media. They had great mobile apps at their conference, they make good use of Twitter (@THE_AUA) and Twitter hash tags (#AUA13) at their events and they use LinkedIn groups (Association of University Administrators more than many other associations I have come across.

The topic I presented at the AUA13 conference with University of Kent colleague Chloé Gallien was: Collaboration as a Catalyst for Change (see materials for session 200). As I mentioned in that AUA conference presentation, social media is just one way we can find new ways to collaborate and build relationships in a more social era.  And as one of my favourite authors, Nilofer Merchant, states: “Relationships are to the social era, what efficiency was to the industrial era.”

The call is now live for AUA14 conference proposals on the topic of Revolution and Reinvention. Why not join in by getting involved?

International Leadership and Development Programme 2013

International Leadership Bangladesh Principals with Meriel Box, Head of Development and Paul Evans, Strategy Management Director

In partnership with the British Council LJMU hosted a group of Principals from Bangladesh Universities for a week-long study skills visit, the theme centred on ‘Strengthening Leadership Capacity in Higher Education’.

Over the past year some of our senior managers have engaged in remote mentoring relationships with leaders from a mix of private and publicly funded Bangladesh Universities.

During their visit to LJMU, the international visitors shadowed their respective mentor, sitting in on strategic development and planning meetings. They enjoyed guided tours of our Libraries and other sites such as the Astrophysics Research Institute, Lairdside Maritime Centre and the Art and Design Academy. Other LJMU staff presented overviews of current practice relating to research, quality assurance, learning, teaching and assessment, student experience, employability, strategic framework and organisational development.

Feedback from the Principals was very positive and they confirmed that the visit had provided valuable insights and experiential learning. Dr. MD Golam Samdani Fakir, Pro-Vice Chancellor, from BRAC University said:

‘The programme was well conceived, organised and implemented. All the members from LJMU and the British Council involved in this programme have provided a great service. Engaging in different academic activities at LJMU and meeting my personal mentor was a most rewarding experience for me. The university has developed a comprehensive five year strategic plan with a well thought out scheme for its effective implementation. The most impressive part of my learning was the systematic processes for faculty and student development. The mandatory system of attending a postgraduate certificate course in teaching and learning pedagogy by faculty staff has ensured a continuous drive for quality teaching and learning. I will recommend introducing a similar course to our BRAC University’.

Written by Meriel Box

Workshop: Synchronised Swimming or Swimming with the Sharks?


31st May 2013, Westminster, 10.00 – 16.00

An opportunity to engage with like-minded colleagues who are Organisational Development practitioners. In particular to have the chance to explore some of the models, tools and techniques currently used in HE, and quiz a panel of specialists about how to enhance the Organisational Development profile within your institution.


  • What OD is, and isn’t, models of OD and the notions of OD in HE.
  • Is OD different from HR, SD and LMD?
  • Explore tools and techniques currently in use in HE – case materials
  • Quiz a panel of practitioners about improving OD work in your institution.

Learning Outcomes:

The workshop will equip participants with:

  • An enhanced understanding of OD and its application in HE.
  • A greater awareness of the work of OD practitioners in HE and where to get support and mentoring.
  • An enhanced understanding of the role staff development plays in OD planning and supporting activities and strategic development.
  • Ways to enhance the OD profile within your institution.


Jean Harrison & Meriel Box – Joint Chairs OD in HE Network

Download Booking form

Webinar: Implementing the UKPSF in the digital university

images-1Wednesday 17 April, 13.00-14.00

This webinar offers a guide to implementing the UK professional standards framework in the digital university. We look at how post-graduate certificates in teaching and learning in higher education (PGCertHE) courses and CPD processes are adapting to digital technologies, both in their design and operation and in the educational practices for which the PGCertHEs are preparing staff. We introduce a new wiki including case studies of technology-informed practice, indexed against the UKPSF areas of activity, core knowledge and values.

Sign up for this webinarread more about UKPSF, or download previous webinars.

Workshop: Changing the Learning Landscape

cll-web-bannerAs part of the Changing the Learning Landscape programme, the Higher Education Academy and CLL partners (including Jisc) are putting on 12 workshops assist academic staff, and staff with curriculum development and support roles, in the use of technology to enhance teaching and student learning.

Four of these workshops, developed in association with SEDA, are focusing on digital literacies:

14 March 2013 (Exeter) Where are we now with digital literacies? The experience of learners and the implications for development

30 April 2013 (Leeds) Influencing strategy and change processes to enable the embedding of digital literacies

21 May 2013 (London) Influencing strategy and change processes to enable the embedding of digital literacies

29 May 2013 (Birmingham) The role of digital literacies in supporting continuing professional development in HE contexts

The workshops are designed to be accessible to those new to the field of digital literacies and learning technologies, and are aimed at anyone with a staff/educational/teaching development aspect to their role, and to curriculum leaders, professional services and support staff. For further information on these, and to sign up, go to

There are also eight workshops aimed at academic staff in a range of disciplines. For a full list of CLL workshops, please see