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Communities of Practice

We have established Communities of Practice across UCL that help staff to collaborate and improve their practice areas, to share best practice and enhance service delivery.

What are Communities of Practice?

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. 

Our Communities of Practice (CoPs) bring together groups of staff from across UCL who perform similar functions, work in defined practice areas, and need to build similar capabilities – regardless of their line management structures.

The purpose of CoPs are:

  • to contribute to an environment in which staff can achieve more fulfilling careers and which supports the delivery of high quality professional services,
  • to unite professional staff, so that they are more aligned, engaged and empowered,
  • and to provide staff with opportunities to learn from each other by sharing knowledge and expertise while working together on self-selected projects.

Each CoP is supported by a Senior Sponsor, a member of UCL’s Senior Management Team; their role is to support and champion the cause of the CoP and ensure alignment with the university’s strategies. While there is a CoP set-up process, CoPs are all different in how they grow and develop and they each shape the direction of their CoP and the projects they choose to work on. 

Communities of Practice at UCL 

Go to the Communities of Practice SharePoint Hub

Current Communities of Practice
  • Communications and Marketing: Student Recruitment, Internal Communications, Digital Communications, Events Management
  • Human Resources: HR Generalists, Recruitment
  • Planning: Data and Insight, Project and Programme Management
  • Student and Registry Services: Widening Participation, Student Health and Wellbeing, Programme Administration (Teaching)
  • Research Support (Technical staff): Research IT, Engineering Technical Staff
  • Research Support: Pre-Award Management, Post-Award Management
  • Estates: Facilities Management
  • Finance: Financial Management, Procurement and Purchasing
  • Information Services: IT Systems Management & Service Delivery
  • Innovation & Enterprise: Partnership Development

Communities of Practice now part of business as usual

Now that Communities of Practice are firmly established at UCL they have been transitioned to business as usual and 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 see the CoP website or contact Gia Lulic, CoP Project Support Officer. 

Within UCL, our CoPs have collaborated on self-selected projects focused on improving their practice areas, sharing best practice and enhancing service delivery. We completed an evaluation of the Communities of Practice project in 2018 and 2019, both times you’ve told us how they have helped you to generate new ideas, be more creative and solve problems. And 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 also asked what you considered to be some of the most important organisational benefits from having CoPs at UCL: 76% said maximising knowledge sharing, 69% said improving communication and 61% said helping innovation and ideas creation.

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