Transforming Our Professional Services


Celebrating UCL Communities of Practice

4 May 2020

We hosted a live webinar with world leading specialists in Communities of Practice to celebrate the success of our communities at UCL. During the webinar we discussed the value of online communities and shared learning while remote working.

Photo of people at a workshop

Interview with Communities of Practice specialists

On 23 April 2020, Daniela Bultoc, UCL Head of Communities of Practice hosted a live interview with Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner, Communities of Practice world leading specialists. Etienne is best known for his seminal work and research on coining the term ‘Communities of Practice’ (CoP) and advancing social learning theories and systems. Beverly is known for cross-boundary processes, the use of new technologies and value-creation framework in communities. The event was open to all UCL CoPs, core and wider members,

As well as discussing the origins and theory of CoPs and social learning, Etienne and Beverly reinforced the value of CoPs while we are all adapting to working remotely. They highlighted the importance of online communities during a period of remote working for: building a sense of belonging and identity; helping keep us motivated by engaging with a group regularly and; for being creative in how we use various online tools that can enhance collaborative learning.

During these times of uncertainty it was encouraging to hear about how much of our learning can happen ‘at the edge of our certainty’, and how CoPs are well placed as a space to promote this kind of learning. Through being a part of a community, members are encouraged to share not only their successes but the challenges they experience and it is hoped they can use the communities as a place to ask for help and generate new innovative solutions that contribute to improving their own practice and support the university’s mission.

Etienne and Beverly also introduced the ‘value creation framework’. This is as a framework to help evaluate and promote the value that CoPs generated at different levels: from immediate value at an individual level, to potential and applied value at practice area and realised or transformative value at an organisational level through influencing new strategies and policies. 

Watch the interview

Communities of Practice transition to HR Organisational Development 

We had organised an event for the 22nd April to mark the transitioning of CoPs into business as usual, and most importantly to get together and celebrate the successful completion of the of UCL CoP project under the TOPS programme. However, in light of the pandemic unfortunately we had to cancel the event.

The transition to business as usual still happened as planned, and we can confirm that CoP now sit in Human Resources in the Organisational Development, Employee Experience function led by Kate Faxen. If you would like to find out more about CoPs please contact Gia Lulic, Project Support Officer. If you are interested in joining an existing CoP, please contact the current CoP leads. You can find a full list of current CoPs and their leaders on the CoP SharePoint.

The CoP project was the first project to be launched as part of the TOPS programme in Autumn 2017. Since then, we have established 20 communities across nine different service areas with a membership of over 2,500 staff from across UCL. 

Within UCL, our CoPs have collaborated on self-selected projects focused on improving their practice areas, sharing best practice and enhancing service delivery. In the wider Higher Education sector, UCL’s CoP won a national award for the best organisational development and culture change initiative at the 2019 UHR (Universities Human Resources) Awards for Excellence in HR.

We will continuing to grow our communities and work towards our vision of all staff having the opportunity to join a CoP that is relevant to their role and career development

More information