UCL News


UCL SLASH (Laws, Arts and Humanities, and Social and Historical Sciences) hosts three conferences for non-academic staff

2 September 2014

Within a period of six working days in July, three conferences aimed at non-academic staff took place within the UCL SLASH (Laws, Arts and Humanities, and Social and Historical Sciences).

Speaker at 2014 SLASH conference These were developed, organised and delivered by a broad range of staff working together including Departmental and Faculty Administrators, Faculty Managers, and colleagues in Professional Services roles outside of SLASH.

We kicked off on 10 July with our first-ever SLASH Administrators Conference, aimed at staff in roles up to and including Grade 6. Organised by a working group of Departmental Administrators together with HR colleagues, the event gave colleagues the chance to develop personal impact skills, to find out more about SLASH, and to meet colleagues working in different faculties and departments. Cathy Brown, Joint Faculty Manager (Arts and Humanities / Social and Historical Sciences) opened the conference. The acting skills of some of the facilitators came to the fore (new careers may beckon?), and with initial positive feedback, another conference is now planned for next summer.

The inaugural SLASH Professional Services Conference on 15 July, was opened by Professor Jo Wolff, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and brought together over 40 staff working in Professional Services roles which wholly, or primarily, support SLASH. This conference served as a focal point for a broad initiative begun in earnest in March 2014 entitled 'Transforming SLASH-facing Professional services into a coherent and integrated community'.

Colleagues spent the first highly interactive session working together on ways of breaking down perceived and actual barriers, to effective working in support of SLASH.  A stimulating session on operational, personal and strategic networking was followed up with group and personal planning activities to help enhance working relationships.  Rex Knight, Vice-Provost (Operations), attended the conference assisted in closing the morning's event with his observations. A further networking event is planned for the Autumn.

If you are interested in finding out more about the SLASH Professional Services initiative, a Yammer Group has been set up ('SLASH Professional Services') which you are welcome to join.  This will give you access to useful documents such as the newly created Directory of SLASH-facing Professional Services contacts.

Two days later, on 17 July, we held the 5th SLASH Administration Managers' Summer Conference. An introduction to Action Learning Sets proved popular with about half of the 40 delegates choosing to continue with this developmental activity post-conference. A fascinating and thought-provoking afternoon session on unconscious bias, delivered by the business psychology consultancy, Pearn Kandola, was very positively received. As ever, there was a fun element to the day, and delegates voted on their 'Book you Must Read on your Holidays'. Following their own nominations and supporting cases, submitted ahead of the day, the winning choice was 'I Lick My Cheese and Other Notes: from the Frontline of Flatsharing' by Oonagh O'Hagan (!). The next planned event will be a half-day Winter Conference.

Post-conference feedback surveys will help to shape future events and work plans. Any ideas or queries please contact, in the first instance, either:

Bob Carey (b.carey@ucl.ac.uk) or Sonia Sookhan (s.sookhan@ucl.ac.uk).

Sonia Sookhan, HR Consultant, UCL Human Resources Division