UCL Association University Administrators (AUA)



July 2007
AUA at UCL - Lifelong Learning

Report by Christopher Hallas:
This presentation and discussion was hosted at the Institute of Neurology, in the Queen Square "quarter" of UCL and was led by Alexandra Boss and Lynn Maslen.

Alex and Lynn began the session by providing a brief history of the square and introduced participants to the UCL connections with the area. Thereafter, with refreshments on hand, we experienced a mixture of brainstorming sessions, presentations and discussion on the concept of "lifelong learning" - so there was something to meet all "learning styles".

A key learning point for many participants was that the concept of "lifelong learning" is not new, but has deeply entrenched historical roots and has re-emerged over time in different guises, as outlined by Alex and Lynn. The presentation moved to focus upon providing an outline of a current, dominant, theoretical "paradigm" of lifelong learning. Alex and Lynn explained that this was a post-Dearing and politically endorsed conceptualisation of lifelong learning, with core principles presented in the 2003 DfES White Paper on "The Future of Higher Education". Essentially, the paradigm presents lifelong learning as a work-related activity with economic necessity being the predominant justification for such activity. The perspective argues that sustained efficiency and competitiveness relies upon a well-educated population, which is not educationally static but which requires continuous updating and upgrading in terms of knowledge and skills.

In discussion, participants recognised the value of this perspective in terms of the development of HE policy direction and in managing the allocation of scarce resources. Participants also identified the challenges that this paradigm posed for UCL, as they saw it. However, participants expressed a clearly shared view that a more personally engaging perspective was one which conceptualised lifelong learning in broader terms and projected LLL as the ongoing learning activities chosen and undertaken by individuals in continually changing environments.

Discussions continued long after the close of the session and participants were in agreement that it had been an event that could be repeated for those AUA members who had not been able to attend.

April 2007
AUA Annual Conference - Promoting Excellence in HE Management

Report by Fiona Harvey:
This year's AUA Conference was held at Nottingham University 2-4 April 2007. We had 13 delegates from UCL Chris Hallas, Jeannette Strachan, Malcolm Bailey, Sheila Massiah, Sue Chick, Sarah Rutterford, Belinda Fullelove, Jeanette Philips, Paula Speller, Heather Mitchell, Alec Gray, Judith Taylor and me.

My first session was on Monday the Branch Co-ordiantors' meeting which I found very interesting. It was led by Chris Hallas who once again made the session fun and motivational. The session enabled us to share ideas with other BC's on how to plan events, recruit members and have a successful branch.

In addition, I attended a good mix of sessions but enjoyed "making your own luck" for career advancement in HE. "The idea of the University" looking at the purpose of higher education.

The Quiz and Gala Dinner were both fantastic events. Here are some pictures of us having an enjoyable Conference.

Branch Co-ordinators' Session 2 April - assisted by our regional Co-ordinator Terry Bransbury (left of picture)
(from left to right) Paula, Sarah, Jeanette, Belinda and Sheila at the Quiz
(from left to right) Malcolm, Femi (Olabisi Onabanjo University), Fiona and another AUA member at the Gala Dinner
Chris with Ann Patey from the University of Portsmouth
Alec and Heather

Report by Paula Speller:
This was my second AUA conference and another great opportunity to network with like-minded, professional administrators from around the world. It also gave me the chance to visit a university I'd not been to before. This year I selected sessions on topics of professional interest rather than those directly connected to my area of work. Many sessions were interactive, requiring either periods of personal reflection or small group discussion, both of which resulted in the sharing of ideas and experiences. There were plenty of opportunities, between sessions and over meals, to network with fellow delegates and discuss issues raised at working sessions or by keynote speakers. The suggestion that administrators are "the guardians of the template", made by Professor Frank Furedi during his plenary address, certainly gave rise to much debate.

This year's social programme included a general knowledge quiz which Sarah, Jeanette, Belinda and I attended. Unfortunately, even though we joined forces with delegates from Liverpool John Moores and the University of East London, we didn't win. All but 2 of UCL's 13 delegates were able to attend the gala dinner. Good food and lively conversation made this a most enjoyable event.

I found this year's conference both informative and inspiring. It was useful to have time to learn more about some of the organisational and personal development techniques that are being used within the HE sector, such as Appreciate Enquiry and Emotional Intelligence. I left this year's conference feeling re-energised and in possession of some new ideas and skills to put into practice on my return to work.

February 2007
Progressing Your Career in Higher Education Management and Administration, Christopher Hallas and John Ryan

Report by Paula Speller:
On 21 February Christopher Hallas, UCL and John Ryan, University of Worcester gave a stimulating and informative presentation on how to take control of career progression rather than leaving it to chance. Participants were asked to think about their career aspirations and the factors that might help or hinder them in achieving their goals. Christopher used his own career history to demonstrate that sector knowledge, self-awareness and planning are key factors in taking the luck out of career advancement. Using assessment and planning techniques, including the "Wheel of Fortune", participants were given the tools to start developing their own career action plan. The session ended with some hot tips about career and development opportunities available to those who know where to look.

This interactive presentation took place at Thames Valley University and was well received by an audience of over thirty new and long-serving HE administrators. The activities of the session inspired participants to suggest several topics of interest for future presentations and workshops, in particular "breaking out of comfort zones". The presentation was followed by further discussion over drinks and a delicious assortment of sweet and savoury snacks prepared by TVU's catering students.

History of Universities in the United Kingdom, Mike Ratcliffe, Oxford Brookes University

Report by Paula Speller:
Mike Ratcliffe, Director of Academic and Student Affairs gave AUA members an informative and entertaining history lesson on UK universities from the 12th century to the present day. The foundation stories of several early UK universities were included in the presentation along with the opinions of several prominent figures on issues such as the idea of the university, research and polytechnics. Mike also spoke about some significant events and publications that have influenced and shaped the UK higher education map, including the establishment of the first colleges for women at Cambridge through to the Robbins and Dearing Reports.

This well attended presentation was held on 1 February and was hosted by City University. A wine reception followed the presentation and members had the opportunity to network with colleagues from across the London region.

January 2007
What is it you do again? - a guide to departmental administration

Message from Chris Hallas:
Providing that your AUA membership is still up-to-date, you should have received the latest Good Practice Guide, Number 31, "What is it you do again? - a guide to departmental administration".

You'll see that two of our own branch members are joint authors - Helen Matthews and Margaret Lloyd. Helen has been the main, co-ordinating author. This is another achievement for our branch and yet another 1st for us. I'm sure you will all join me in extending "congratulations" to Helen and Margaret.

If you haven't received your copy of the guide, please contact the AUA National Office (aua@man.ac.uk) or our Branch Coordinator, Fiona Harvey.