Managing Change in Higher Education Annual Open Forum

City University London

Friday 6 July 2018

09:30 to 15:30

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Friday, 6 July 2018 | 9:30 to 15:30 | City University London
Member: £100+VAT | Non member: £200+VAT

The details

The Managing Change in HE (MCHE) themed network is hosting its ninth Annual Open Forum for those AUA members (and non-members) interested in improving practice on managing change in higher education.

There will be an opportunity to share good and bad practice, network and consider how to work more collaboratively.

As with previous Open Forums, the programme has been designed to improve professional practice in the sector and provide an opportunity for colleagues to learn from practice. This year the focus will be on identifying issues that need to be addressed in the higher education sector and the key tenets for success.

Opening Plenary | Sashaying Along the Ice Floe!: Leading and Managing Change in the new HE environment

Professor Peter McCaffery | BA (Hons), M.Sc (Econ), PGCE, Ph D, FCIPD, FCMI, FRSA 

Professor Peter McCaffery has over thirty-five years leadership, management, teaching and research experience – including 17 years reporting at Board level – across a range of institutions from Further Education Colleges to USA Ivy League University, involving successive business turn-arounds as Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive at the University of Cumbria and Deputy Vice Chancellor at London Metropolitan University.

A Winston Churchill Fellow and Idlewild Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, Peter is a graduate of The Cabinet Office Top Management Programme and has acted as a consultant for a variety of bodies including the British Council, the governments of Botswana and Jamaica and the Centre for HE, Germany.

Awarded a National Leadership Fellowship by the Leadership Foundation for HE, he pioneered a Wider Management Mentoring Programme at London South Bank University for the university’s BME managers in partnership with the public and private sector, and led the equality and diversity team whose work was showcased by the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) in their Sustaining Excellence in HE Review.

Peter is also the UK editor, author and collaborator for the Epigeum (Oxford University Press) project that pioneered the first world class, on-line programme with global reach on university leadership and management development; derivative of his international best-selling guide: The HE Manager’s Handbook: Effective Leadership and Management in Universities and Colleges (Routledge, 3rd edition – to be published – summer, 2018).

Working Session One
Session 1a | Change Teams: Evolution Across the Sector

Simon Donoghue | Lead Consultant | SUMS Consulting

The session will look at the development and growth of change teams across the sector. Simon will examine how the role and remit of these teams have adapted to reflect changing institutional context, change maturity and level of overall change capability.

Between 2013 and 2016, we saw surprisingly little growth in the number of UK universities that had internal change teams; however, where those change teams existed they had tended to grow in both size and remit. Since 2016, the landscape for the sector has continued to develop at a remarkable pace. This session revisits the way that change teams are set up across the sector and explores the new expectations that have been placed upon them in light of Brexit, TEF and continued funding uncertainty

Simon will explore how different universities have structured their professional change management resources to deliver large-scale and transformative initiatives. Whether they’ve chosen to integrate organisational development into strategy and planning, or decided to pool disparate resources into strategic projects, we will show that one size doesn’t fit all – and that no structure is perfect.


About Simon

Simon has over 20 years’ senior-level professional and academic experience gained within HE. Prior to joining SUMS, Simon’s positions included Head of the Strategy Project Group (University of Leeds), Chief Executive for the White Rose University Consortium and Board Member for the US National Consortium for Continuous Improvement. Simon was awarded a Leadership Foundation Fellowship for his work on Effective Strategy Implementation, which was internationally showcased and published widely. He has consulted for a wide range of international universities and continues to use this experience for the benefit of SUMS members. Simon brings energy and structure to complexity and uncertainty – and thrives on working upon complex change initiatives. Outside of work Simon brings this energy to regularly competing in road and track cycling events. Simon is based in North Yorkshire and works with a wide range of SUMS Members on strategic change initiatives.


Session 1b | Our Experience Of Deploying A Bespoke Change Management Approach

Holly Sorce | Head of Change Management | King’s College London

Niamh Godley | Change Manager | Bush House | King’s College London

Using our experience as the first change management team in KCL we will share our story of embarking on a change programme which required bespoke creative delivery of change management in a higher education institution. In a period of such unprecedented change for the University and the sector, staff had to make fundamental changes to the way they worked and we have been able to demonstrate significant impact in supporting both academic and professional services staff transition into new ways of working. _______________________________________________________________________________________________

About Holly and Niamh

Holly is an experienced HE transformation practitioner. Having on worked on a variety of change programmes from restructures and IT to estates, she brings 16 years of HE sector knowledge and wisdom. As Head of Change Management for King’s Holly is working across a number of transformation programmes in addition to developing and delivering training on change to all levels of staff in the institution.

Niamh’s entire professional career has focused on education, working on a diverse areas from access to higher education for underrepresented group, to leading on improving the student experience and engagement. She subsequently retrained in Business psychology and has a passion for exploring what it takes to implement change in University setting.

Session 1c | Transformational Initiative: the latest buzz words? Change for Changing Times!

Phil Rowsby |Research Quality Enhancement Officer | Heriot-Watt University

Darren Cunningham |Direction of Administration and School Registrar | Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt University had a number of transformational initiatives (TI) taking place during 2017. The research support TI has reviewed how researchers are supported centrally and the different approaches/processes/systems used by our six academic schools. The Transformational Initiative has looked at: structures, systems and processes.  The methods used will be used to review professional services provision across all our locations.


About Phil

My association with Heriot-Watt University goes back to 1993 (when I was an undergraduate) and the early 2000s when I was a research student.

I’ve worked with policies, procedures and legislation in other settings but not in the HE sector.  I’ve had a varied career: working in residential lettings, undertaken housing research and strategy development for local authorities, worked for landlord organisations and the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

I’ve also had a couple of ‘years out’ travelling!

About Darren

Darren Cunningham joined Heriot Watt University in November 2014 as a Director of Administration and School Registrar. As an experienced academic administration manager Darren has held several senior managerial positions in renowned universities both the UK and Australian higher education sectors spanning over 20 years. He has successfully managed projects in respect to the strategic planning process, student experience, lean techniques, and academic support services. He is a Chartered Manager and a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and is currently finalising a PhD in Leadership and Management at Lancaster University.

Working Session Two
Session 2a | Changing How We Change: Building Capability For Change Through People, Processes and Project Management

Barry Verdin | Change Lead | Open University Portfolio Office

Louisa McLeod | Portfolio Support Officer | Open University Portfolio Office

Like many organisations the Open University faces many changes in the internal and external environment. We recognised the need to get better at being able to change. Initially we focussed on building project management capability to deliver change. However we still struggled to land change. Something was not working.

Then we introduced a number of measures to bring together best practice from the worlds of both project management and change management combining these into a single framework for managing projects and change, we built a community of change practitioners and introduced them to inspirational speakers on story-telling, resilience and emotional intelligence and we have sought to integrate change management into the language and practice of how we do projects.

We are on a journey of discovery. We still have a long way to go but the early indications suggest we are making a significant impact to the way in which we manage change.


About Barry and Louisa

Barry Verdin is Change Lead in the OU Portfolio Office and has worked in the field of change and project management for over 15 years. Barry is an Associate Lecturer on Managing Systemic Change and System Tools for Managing Change.

Louisa McLeod is pivotal in delivering the University’s assurance activity and is the back bone to the OUs PPM infrastructure and methodology.


Session 2b | “Its only a new building”; Dealing With Changes Relating To A New Work Environment

Val Hughes-White | Campus Operations Officer | University of Edinburgh

Easter Bush Campus is a relatively new campus for University of Edinburgh. Over the past 8 years we have had 10 building projects (over £300m of investment) for the development of a new campus – with both a school and research institute relocating onto the campus, as well as developing new activity relating to an innovation centre and new research/teaching/clinical facilities also being developed. Managing expectations of the building users and getting their input into the development of the new campus has been key to the success of the new campus. This will session highlight the main changes, and associated challenges, that the University has had to deal with throughout this development.


About Val

Val has worked in Higher Education for over 25 years (Dundee, Oxford, Reading and Edinburgh) and has extensive experience across a wide range roles across the sector, predominately in research intensive and/or clinical environments.

She has worked on the Easter Bush Campus for 7 years, as Campus Operating Officer she has had a central role in the development of the campus strategy. The campus has a turnover of £80m per annum, and is home of the The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, which encompasses The Roslin Institute, Roslin Innovation Centre, two Innovate UK agri-centres, a small animal hospital, equine hospital and farm practice as well as two farms.

Session 2c | How To Manage Change And (Not) Alienate People

Claire Snowball | Head of Strategic Projects | Goldsmiths University

Amy Jolliffe | Projects Manager | Goldsmiths University 

In 2017 Goldsmiths moved 200 members of professional services staff from small individual offices to a large open plan hot desking environment.  The move to open plan and hot desking was a significant cultural change for Goldsmiths and it was the first time that we have really embedded change management into our project management process.

This session will focus on how we made change management a central part of the project, to ensure that staff were managed through the change, and what we have learnt from this experience.


About Claire and Amy

Claire Snowball is the Head of Strategic Projects at Goldsmiths University. She has a background in project management, and worked as a Project Officer at the Co-operative Group before joining Goldsmiths as a Projects Manager in 2014 and became head of the project team in 2016.

Amy Jolliffe is the Projects Manager at Goldsmiths University. Joined Goldsmiths in 2015 as a Project Officer, before becoming a Junior Projects Manager in 2016 and Projects Manager in 2017.

Working Session Three
Session 3a | Do less. Do It Better: A Year On

Susie Palmer Trew | Head of Portfolio | The Open University

In the Summer of 2016 The Open University shared their story of tackling a University wide problem of too much change with the AUA Managing Change. This story led to them being finalists and eventual winners of the Association of Project Managements PMO of the Year.

This session will cover how the team have re-written the rules on how the University is growing capability, delivering change and the impact of this on the University’s biggest transformation to-date.


About Susie

Susie Palmer-Trew is the Head of Portfolio, leading The Open University in making the right change and the change right. Working across the University and HE sector Susie is known for her outcomes driven approach and expertise in PMO creation.

Susie takes her work very seriously, but not herself.

Session 3b | Not All Students Or Projects Are Created Equally? | Case study of a project that broke all the project management rules

Hannah White | Head of Business Change | King’s College London

In a perfect project world we would have a clear business case justification, objectives and scope for our projects. And project management would be about implementing the agreed deliverables within the agreed governance. But in reality, how many projects meet those criteria?

In my experience many of the projects that are really needed: are ambiguous, “emergent” and hard to pin down. They are the areas that most need to be transformed; but are so messy that previous attempts have failed. Here’s a case study of how to cope, get the changes you need and get the best out of project management.

The case study I’ll use was initially about providing “non-standard” students (freestanding, executive, CPD, language, short courses) with standard registry processes and systems. But it ended up considering library access management, finance, policy, process, governance mechanisms, and ultimately challenging the project methods we used to create a solution. _______________________________________________________________________________________________

About Hannah

Success depends on a flexible approach, and I have built a broad skill set and a deep knowledge of the university sector, to ensure that the change is successful, and benefits delivered. I currently work in a Programme Management Office delivering a university wide student lifecycle project and have multiple roles including Process Improvement, Business Analyst, Product management, and Change Manager.

I am enthusiastic about managing a team delivering projects that support student’s engagement and attainment in their learning and reduces administrative pressure which ultimately improves staff experience. All projects require strong technical implementation and consideration of the effect on staff and students. I have experience in engaging internal and external stakeholders right from the initiation of a project, to ensure success at every stage. A live system isn’t a success until the staff or students are satisfied using it.

Outside of work, I am a qualified coach and mentor.

Session 3c | Purpose, Process, People or How making things visible can give you clarity, understanding and the ability to get it done!

Christine Stewart | Lean Practitioner

So many times we think we are doing the right thing for the right reasons and in the right way. Then we discover so is someone else but not in the same way we are or the goal posts get moved and all that effort was for nothing! This session will look at how having a clear purpose of what you need to do and why can lead you to work with the right people, on the right thing, at the right time and in the right way.


About Christine

Christine is an experienced lean practitioner; she has worked in the manufacturing, financial and higher education sectors to develop organisations, processes and people to become more effective and efficient. She has experience in working with organisations to develop their strategic plans for improvement, reviewing and developing processes to deliver customer value and harnessing the knowledge and experience of staff in order to implement sustainable change.

Who is it for?

The Managing Change Open Forum is ideal for professionals managing projects and change as part of their role, managers and leaders who are managing teams/departments currently going through change and professional experiencing change in the workplace.

Learning Outcomes
  • Understanding the importance of change management in project management
  • Practical ideas and techniques for supporting people through significant cultural change
  • Managing expectations
  • New strategies for managing change

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

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