Introduction to Higher Education


Thursday 6 December 2018

09:30 to 16:40

« View all events »

Join the conversation online #Intro2HE


Thursday, 6 December 2018 | 9:30 to 16:40 | The Wesley Hotel, London, NW1 2EZ
Member: £120 +VAT | Non member: £220 +VAT

The details

Higher education today is evolving at an unprecedented rate. Keeping up with the changes is almost a full time job, but engaging with the wider context and understanding the bigger picture is important if you are going to maximise the contribution you make to your organisation. This introduction to the UK higher education provides you with a thorough overview of the sector. A brief look back at the historical developments lays the foundation on which to explore the more recent changes and the current influences and their impact. There is a strong emphasis on understanding how political, economic, social and academic considerations impact higher education, and you will be encouraged to reflect on how your own role and institution contributes to, and is influenced by, these external factors.

“Provided an opportunity to engage with other university administrators, share experiences and learn about the current state of HE administration.”

“An excellent event that provides useful context for all we do and encourages administrators to take genuine pride in our work.”

Who is it for?

This event is essential for all HE professionals. As a new entrant to the sector you will gain a thorough introduction to HE and as a current HE professionals you will deepen your knowledge allowing you to move your career forward.

What will I learn?

HE: The first 1000 years (or so)

  • The higher education sector is not now nor has it ever been homogenous. Understanding this context puts the current sector into a sharper focus.  The Introduction to Higher Education therefore starts with a look into the historical development of higher education throughout the United Kingdom from the 11th Century to the present day
  • The session offers a review of the way in which higher education evolved differently in each of the four countries that have formed part of the United Kingdom during this period, and how these developments have shaped and been shaped by those countries leading to the distinctive forms of higher education that make up the sector today
  • Further information about how key developments in the sector, such as external examining and the classification system, arose and how these developments informed and continue to inform debates within the sector (whether or not the historical antecedents to current discussions are recognised)

HE: The sector today and tomorrow

  • Understanding what is meant by ‘higher educational sector’: the structure and organisation of the contemporary sector, including the role of providers of higher education, professional bodies, statutory organisations, and government
  • The size, scale and scope of higher education, including the benefits to graduates and the sector’s contribution to society generally
  • Current issues affecting the sector, and the forces shaping the agenda of governing bodies
  • Some (informed!) speculation about the issues that the higher education sector will be grappling with in the medium term – and that form the context for the work undertaken by professional higher education administrators

An introduction to HE finances

  • Context: a look at the position and role of HEIs in the UK economy, recognising the significant part higher education plays in the overall economy
  • The changing financial environment: an overview of from where HEIs get their funds, and a review of funding and the impact of changes over recent years
  • Operating HEIs: covering effective use of resources and considering whether or to what extent a University should be business-like
  • Financial management: a brief explanation of tools, jargon and the financial cycle to help you understand finance in your institution and the sector
  • Current issues and changing financial strategy in the sector

The place and space of administration in the sector

  • Locating administrative functions in the broader context of Higher Education activity; starting to define who ‘we’ are
  • An exploration of professionalism and the professional identity of administrative and managerial staff; addressing questions of what our professional identity is, could be and/or should be, as well as the extent to which our professional identity is fixed
  • Unpacking, as a participant, your own professional position in the context of personal development; an opportunity for self- and peer- reflection

Balloon Debate

  • This final session will be highly interactive, with delegates debating and comparing. Instructions for the balloon debate will be sent to you closer to the event.
Who will be speaking?

Dr Matthew Andrews, University Sectary and Registrar, University of Gloucestershire

Matthew is University Secretary and Registrar at the University of Gloucestershire. Prior to that he was Academic Registrar and Director of Academic and Student Affairs at Oxford Brookes University. He started his career at Durham University where he held various posts including Director of the Graduate School and Director of Undergraduate Recruitment, and was a personal tutor at Hatfield College.  Matthew holds degrees in Philosophy and Theology, Seventeenth Century Philosophy, and Social Research. In addition, he obtained his doctorate from Oxford University after researching higher education in the nineteenth century. Matthew is a long-standing member and Fellow of the AUA, having supported the work of the Association in numerous guises including as Chair for 2012-14.  He is a member of the Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA) and sits on a number of national HE groups, including the UCAS Council. His interest in contemporary higher education policy and practice includes serving as a member of the editorial board for three professional journals in the UK, USA, and Australia.


Dr Kenton Lewis MBE, Director and Principal Consultant, Kenton Lewis Associates

Kenton is an educational sociologist and an experienced manager, trainer and executive coach; his coaching client list includes middle and senior managers from across Higher Education. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Kenton worked for 18 years in higher education administration, management, leadership and governance. He has been a Trustee at the AUA, is a founding member and Trustee of The Bride Group (an independent, charitable social mobility policy association), and is a Lay Observer for the Ministry of Justice (PECS). Kenton holds Fellowship of the AUA, CMI and RSA, and is a Principal Fellow of the HEA. He has won multiple national and international awards for innovation in higher education, including the Lord Mayor of London Dragon Award, two e-Learning Age Awards, and the Guardian Public Service Award. He was recognised in the 2014 New Year Honours with an MBE for services to higher education.


Joanne Payne, AUA Trustee and Head of Professional Services Finance, University of Southampton

Joanne joined the University of Southampton in 2006 as Business Accountant for Estates & Facilities. She was promoted in 2010 to Head of Professional Services Finance for the former COO group, and then in 2015 to her current position as Head of all Professional Services Finance. Joanne is a graduate of Loughborough University and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. She has previously worked in manufacturing industry for Manor Bakeries and Amphenol (engineering), and also in the retail sector for the Nuance Group (international duty & tax free retailers). Joanne is Treasurer and a Trustee of the AUA.

Please note that all event bookings are subject to the AUA Event terms and conditions:


“An excellent event that provides useful context for all we do and encourages administrators to take genuine pride in our work.”

"Although I've worked in HE for nearly 10 years it was really useful to get the history and origins of the sector and Matthew is a great speaker."

“Provided an opportunity to engage with other university administrators, share experiences and learn about the current state of HE administration.”