Introduction to Higher Education

Venue: Innside Hotel, Manchester

Fees: AUA Member £100+VAT | Non-member £200+VAT

Date: 04/06/2020

About this Event

This event has been postponed and bookings have temporarily closed. New details to follow in due course.

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.

Join the conversation at #Intro2HE.

Ideal 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.

Details in brief

Location: Innside Hotel, Manchester

Date: 04/06/2020

Start time: 09:30

End time: 16:40

Fees: Member £100+VAT | Non-member £200+VAT



Matthew Andrews

University of Gloucestershire

University Secretary and Registrar

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.

Kenton Lewis

Kenton Lewis Associates

Director and Principal Consultant

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.

Chris Trask

University of Manchester

AUA Treasurer and Deputy Director of Finance

Chris Trask is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and Deputy Director of Finance at the University of Manchester since 2017. Since 2010 Chris has worked at the University of Manchester in a number of senior finance positions working directly with both Academic and professional services leadership teams. Previous work experience is within industry across a number of European countries. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1999 after working in accountancy practice in Bristol and London. Chris holds a degree in History from the University of Nottingham.


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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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