Development Monthly

The AUA offers opportunities for learning and development beyond your day job; to improve your professional practice and enhance your experience of working in HE professional services.

To mark our 60th year of connecting and developing our members, we have created Development Monthly. This new monthly bulletin will share highlights from the AUA, with the knowledge and expertise of our membership and stakeholder community, plus best practice from the sector and beyond.

Reflecting the breadth of areas that our members work within higher education, readers can expect a variety of professional development news and insights around a monthly theme including, articles, hints and tips, practical tools, sign-posts, and a taster of AUA opportunities.


Development Monthly has been created for the benefit of the whole sector and all HE professionals are encouraged to sign up using the form below.

If you’re already an AUA member, there’s no need to complete this form, you’ll automatically receive this bulletin as part of your member benefits.

Issue #3: November 2021

Sustainability in HE

This month in Development Monthly we are focusing on the theme of sustainability. Approaching the theme from two different perspectives, we, of course, look at issues around environmental sustainability, but we also broaden the theme to consider the sustainability of our sector and of our roles within it.

In this issue…

Sustainability in higher education

Andy Nolan

“Universities across the UK were prominent at COP26.
Our students protested and our academics gave evidence. In the most populous of COPs our universities were there. Never before has a COP meeting been such a circus. To those who were there – well done. You ensured that leaders, politicians and civil servants knew just how important all this is.
We saw Glasgow packed and the Glasgow pact signed but just as the final cards were being played our croupier, Alok Sharma, admitted it nearly all fell apart as China and India played aggressive hands and the pact nearly cracked. The phasing down, as opposed to phasing out, of coal was a significant and defining moment for the conference but also the Paris Agreement.” Read the article

Opinion Piece | Are our roles sustainable? Challenges for Professional Services Staff

Lydia Crow

In sharing this piece we wanted to start a conversation around the challenges we experience in our professional environments and the impact that they have on us as HE professionals. Lydia has shared some of her thoughts on the role that language plays in shaping this environment. What are your thoughts?

In November 2019, I hosted a session at the AUA Autumn Conference focusing on Challenges for Professional Services Staff, badged broadly as Sustainable Staff.

Focusing on sector-wide structural issues, I was interested in critically analysing the language used to describe and communicate with Professional Services staff… Read the article

Changing jobs

Sam Bayley

Sam Bayley talks about his new role as Head of Faculty Operations at the University of York, his new responsibilities, moving into a more strategically-focused role and running multiple departments. Watch the video

Top five tips for sustainability in HE

Zoe Fraser

Zoe Fraser, Administration Manager in the Department of Archaeology, University of York, offers her advice on making HE departments more sustainable. Watch the video

Challenges of COP26: a higher education perspective

Amanda Woodman-Hardy, Angus Morrice & Sophie Ross-Smith

COP26 has been a fantastic two weeks for the Higher Education sector. It has been an opportunity to showcase world-changing research, increase awareness and interest in global environmental issues and highlight the importance of continued investment in this area.
For the Cabot Institute for the Environment, it has been a long and busy journey to COP26 which started 12 months before. But the Institute has been well rewarded over the two weeks with over a thousand mentions in the press, heightened engagement and interest in public engagement activities and social media and more awareness raising of the Institute as a serious player in the environmental knowledge, education and solutions space.
 Read the article

Article Spotlight | “Creating a sustainable future for higher education”

Alison Johns

In this piece, I aim to reflect on what we can learn from the past that will sustain us into the future. What has changed? What remains the same? What cuts to the core of the higher education endeavour? What should we expect in the future? Read the article (Perspectives Journal)

Issue #2: October 2021

Future skills

What skills do HE professionals need to master in order to prepare for the future world of work? This is the question we asked contributors to the second issue of Development Monthly.

In this issue…

Skills for the future

Dame Shirley Pearce, DBE

“The world in which we work is changing all the time. This continuous change is having an impact on the skills we need in all parts of the HE workforce. It should influence the way we educate new staff and the way we support the continuous professional development of everyone in HE. The skills needed for any job have always been changing and developing. But right now, it seems that the rate of change is becoming so great we should intensify our efforts to ensure we don’t expect new skills to be assimilated by ‘learning on the job’ Read the full article

Creating an inclusive environment

Helen Curtis

I recently attended a conference entitled ‘Living the Dream’ discussing how to think about equality and diversity more strategically and build an inclusive environment. A question I have been asking myself is how do we as leaders, managers, and members of the HE community work towards inclusion? To this end I have been conducting a review in the Bristol Medical School to understand what inclusion is and what does it mean to our staff, an important question we need to answer if we are planning on working towards creating an inclusive environment. Read the full article

Changing jobs

Roscoe Hastings

Roscoe Hastings, Director of Academic Services at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, discusses his recent job transition, his motives, covid’s impact, his career objectives while also offering advice to HE professionals looking to follow in a similar path. Watch the video now

Top five tips for modernising through automation

Jordan Kirkwood

Jordan Kirkwood, Head of Operations at King’s College London, offers his advice on the basic elements of using automation tools, and their value in modernising processes in HE. Watch the video

An engineering approach to HE project management

Hazel Clifton

Project management in Engineering is based on the approach of iterative design and development. But what happens when you apply this methodology to a brand new Higher Education Provider?
You get mock terms, a more professional and streamlined organisation, and a unified staff body with common goals and visions Read the full article

Article Spotlight | University administrators have worked to promote diversity in higher education”

Heidi Flanagan

As Black History Month draws to an end, Heidi Flanagan would like to thank her white colleagues in university administration for being allies during a tough year. Read the full article (Wonkhe)

Issue #1: September 2021

What now? Shaping our future

Each issue of Development Monthly will be structured around a broad theme and in our first issue we wanted to take some time to pause and reflect on the events, experiences and learning from the last 18 months or so. As we think about the beginning of new academic year, we ask ‘What now?’ and consider how best to shape our future as HE professionals.

In this issue…

Autumn is here

Sara Corcoran

For the education sector September/October is the start of the new year, with all the hopes, aspirations and positive commitments that new beginnings bring. In the calendar year, this period of late summer and early autumn is the time when we gather in the fruits of our efforts, a time of harvest.
Read the full article

Taster webinar | Your mental wellbeing beyond the pandemic

Mariyana Bushara

In her webinar, Mariyana Bushara from the University of Sussex discusses and provides advice on managing your mental wellbeing beyond the pandemic.
Watch the webinar

Article spotlight | Meeting the needs of professional services staff

Susannah Marsden

In this article on Wonkhe, Susannah asks if the pandemic experience can help better define the role of professional services staff in HE.
Read on Wonkhe

Top five tips for hybrid working

Vikki Goddard

In this video, Vikki gives us a rundown of her top 5 tips for returning to campus and hybrid working.
Watch the video

AUA CPD planner

Simon Moore

Take a look at how you can use the automated CPD planner to get personalised advice on how to improve your performance and professional practice.
Watch the video

Changing jobs

Rosella Brennan

Rosella Brennan talks about her recent transition from Coventry University to Head of Registry Services at Arden University.
Watch the interview

Perspectives Interviews | Moving widening participation outreach outline

Jon Rainford, in interview with Matthew Andrews

In the first of our new Perspectives series, Matthew Andrews interviews Jon Rainford about his popular article on moving widening participation outreach online during the pandemic.
Watch the interview