Managing Change in Higher Education Open Forum

City, University of London
Friday, 21 June 2019 | 9.30 to 15.20
Member £100+VAT | Non-Member £200+VAT


Book now

Event Details

The Managing Change in HE (MCHE) themed network is hosting its tenth 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.

Who is it for?

For professionals who manage, or aspire to manage projects and change as part of your role or for 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

“Excellent reflective event that considered all issues around Change Management in Higher Education.”

“I learnt a tremendous amount in such a short space of time, very worthwhile indeed.”

“I have attended this event for many years, and always learn something new. Great to learn from other institutions and to share good practice.”

Opening Plenary | 10.10 to 11.15

Does a changing HE sector change the way we should approach change?

Simon Donoghue | SUMS Consulting

Simon Donoghue has over twenty-five years higher education leadership, management, consultancy, research and teaching experience – including Lead Consultant for SUMS Consulting, Head of the Strategy Project Group at the University of Leeds, Chief Executive for the White Rose University Consortium and Board Member for the US National Consortium for Continuous Improvement.

Simon is currently Lead Consultant for SUMS Consulting, a specialist higher-education consultant that provides both strategic and operational management support across the entire range of university functions and activities.  SUMS Consulting operates a unique not-for-profit membership model, working in close partnership with the SUMS member universities who own SUMS.  In this role, Simon has supported over 25 different universities with large strategy, development and transformational change projects ranging from strategy development, target operating model development, longer-term change and process change capability, reviewing the configuration and effectiveness of professional services.

Awarded a Leadership Foundation Fellowship by the Leadership Foundation for HE, Simon pioneered the creation and development of the first dedicated central strategic change team in a UK University and the creation and development of the first fully integrated strategic planning and transformation programme using the strategy map and balanced scorecard approach in a University.

Simon was instrumental in promoting the wider adoption of strategic change teams and integrated strategic planning and transformation approaches in other universities.  He has worked with a wide range of international (Malaysia, Poland, US, Norway, Sweden, Russia) universities, NGOs, sector bodies and Higher Education agencies to further develop and advance best practice in leading strategic change in universities.

His approach was featured in the Strategic Leadership of Change in Higher Education (Marshall, 2007), Execution Premium (Kaplan & Norton, 2008) & The Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities (Salmi, 2009).  Organisations that have invited Simon to present have included the World Bank, the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education, the Swedish National Higher Education Board, HEFCE, UUK, OECD and the European Balanced Scorecard Forum.

Working Session One | 11.30 to 12.20

Rapid implementation of change: closing the value to action gap

Saad Qureshi, SAE Institute UK

In times of considerable change, with ever shorter time horizons, how do we achieve our desired future state? Using several case examples this session will introduce innovative methodologies to achieve change, including a rapid implementation methodology and campaign-based tactics.

About Saad

Saad Qureshi is a rising BME leader in Higher Education (HE) and is one of the youngest Deans in the country at SAE Institute UK. He is certified in continuous organisational improvement and project management and has significant experience in business transformation. He is particularly focused on creating cultures of experimentation and innovation, and high performance that are learning based. He is the founder of providing free advice and resources to support staff in HE.

A Fellow of the Association of University Administrators (AUA) and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is also a Reviewer at the International Journal for Students as Partners, Advisor to the UK Research and Innovation Office, and sits on the Board of Studies and other working/development groups at the AUA. Saad is a visiting lecturer at King’s College London, where he was previously Education Manager, and before this rose up the ranks at School of Economics and Law becoming Director Academics and Corporate Affairs.


Improving and integrating student number planning

Helen Fawcett, Higher Education Lead Consultant, Waterstons
Kathryn Heywood, Business Intelligence Manager, Durham University

The session will cover implementing a new approach to student number planning focussing on

  • overcoming the comfort zone of spreadsheets
  • implementing change across organisational boundaries particularly between Strategic Planning and Finance
  • engaging others in change, including gaining senior buy-in to change
  • what happens when a senior stakeholder departs at a key implementation phase
  • lessons learned and success against the odds.

About Helen

Helen is Higher Education Lead Consultant at Waterstons. Helen is joining Waterstons from Durham University where she managed the University’s Strategic Planning Process, spanning the full breadth of the university’s activities. Experienced in business transformation she has managed has a wealth of strategic and operational projects, at Durham in the last seven years. Her early career was spent working in criminal intelligence and learning the importance of evidence-based decision-making. She is an experienced data analyst, programme manager and change manager with expertise in facilitation, process improvement techniques and quality management. Helen holds an MA in Management from Durham University and BEng in Mechanical Engineering.

About Kathryn

Kathryn is Business Intelligence Manager at Durham University. She manages the strategic analysis and forecasting functions and is driving the development of a management information service, transforming the way the university applies data to its business decisions and ensuring an evidence-based approach throughout. Her previous roles in the Government Statistical Service included leading on Higher Education  statistics to inform development and monitor success of government policies, managing stakeholders, publishing Official Statistics, and managing cross-departmental data linkage projects, with resolution of legal barriers. Kathryn holds an MSci and PhD in Physics, from Durham University.


Managing impossible projects: achieving change projects with limited resource and big expectations

Gregory Sheridan, HE Project Manager, University of West of Scotland

University change is increasingly happening at rapid pace with fewer resources, yet expecting high impact in short timespans. This is often in competition with traditional project management approaches which require time/cost/quality assurances. This presentation looks at implementation over 24 months of a Centralised Timetable at the University of West of Scotland and the practical project methodologies applied to achieve the project. This was done with no set budget, no set staff resources, and across 4 campuses. Also impacting the project was the complete shutdown of 1 campus and opening of a new £100m unproven campus and University restructuring.

The presentation will look at the project as a case study of managing a high impact project with great risk to fail and impact to the student experience alongside transitional methods of Project managed such as Prince2 and Agile. Concepts of strategic thought will also be examined such as handling high risk failure and the unknown during the project to remain fluid and able to react to circumstances rather than “come off the rails” as risks become reality.

About Gregory

Greg Sheridan is an HE sector project manager with over 10 years’ experience in the UK and USA. He is a member of AUA and the Institute for Leadership and Management and a certified Prince2 and Prince2Aigle project manager. His experiences focus on implementing complex customer service oriented projects in Universities. Past projects include Student HUB customer service desks, design of new university buildings, business change and technology implementation projects.


Change Management in Practice: The How and Why or the Why then the How

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

Using a case study from a university project, looking at how both ADKAR and neuroscience (Switch: Heath) were used practically to create engagement. And also uncover what organisational barriers were in place.

About Hannah

Effective and agile change professional delivering successful change in organisations and Higher Education Institutions. Implementation of organizational strategies, by integrating business analysis, system design and process improvement. I lead projects to ensure that business change is embedded with stakeholders alongside quality technical delivery of systems. Ensuring benefits are sustainable long-term, by coaching teams to deliver operational excellence; and embed continuous improvement methodology and change management to create change-agile cultures.

I’m also an experienced coach and mentor, and use my coaching skills in my work and to help individuals meet their goals

Working Session Two | 13.30 to 14.20

A Catalyst for change: bringing together Learning Services, Careers and Student Services under one roof

Maria Mirza, Assistant Head of Learning Services, Edge Hill University
Andy Billington, Help & Support Manager within Learning Services, Edge Hill University

The session will explore how over the period of 18 months Edge Hill created a innovative front-line service, bringing together three previously separate departments in a new building that would serve as Library, Student Services and Careers centre.

It will explore the strategic work needed to gain support for the building as well as the work undertaken to build relationships, manage expectations and negotiate between competing priorities for the building and service.

Alongside this we’ll explore the operational aspects of enabling a multi skilled frontline team that would represent all services in the building.  It will demonstrate how the growth and development of this team was managed to maintain a positive approach to service delivery; despite significant changes to contracts and areas of work. It will explore the challenges experienced, the work done to overcome this and the benefits that are being realised through the delivery of the new service and the building it is in.

Throughout we’ll explore the challenges of managing significant structural change alongside a large building project and the lessons learned since operating in the building.

About Maria

Maria is the Assistant Head of Learning Services which a role within the senior leadership team of a multi-professional academic and student support department. Her remit covers the strategic development of high quality, student-centric learning support services supported by excellent library resources and innovative learning spaces. She has worked in various HEIs during her career with the longest period of service being her current role which she has occupied for 11 years. Maria enjoys the challenge of working across organisational boundaries and managing a diverse range of professional services.

About Andy

Andy is the Help & Support Manager within Learning Services, responsible for the frontline service provision across virtual and physical service points. Managing a team of 23, he has the mission of ensuring that their knowledge and delivery of the Help & Support team is of an excellent standard, while providing the tools to grow and improve the service offered. Andy previously worked in banking and bookmaking sectors before joining the university in 2007.


Catalysing Change in a Faculty: from grassroots to Faculty Pro V-C

Jan Sablitzky, Portfolio Manager, University of Nottingham

In an interactive session, Jan will share experiences and theoretical underpinning of practices in engaging colleagues to support strategic-operational alignment and strategy delivery in the largest faculty within the University of Nottingham.

About Jan

Portfolio Manager, Green Chemicals Research Beacon /formerly Strategy Manager, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Jan has worked in 4 Russell Group universities across the UK and in other sectors in a variety of operational and strategic management roles over the past 30 years.  Jan is also an Executive MBA student at Nottingham Trent University on a Senior Leaders Masters Degree Apprenticeship.


Design Thinking; UX in Designing Services for Students

Alistair Dyer, Business Operational Manager, London Metropolitan University
Sharon Jones, HE Professional Services Director

The session will incorporate:

  • A brief introduction to service design; referencing LMU’s acceptance (or not!) of design thinking methodology.
  • A fast and furious workshop session demonstrating the value of gathering the user experience when considering the design of services.
  • A summing up of the session with useful guidance on further research session attendees can undertake

About Alistair

Alistair is currently the business operations manager for the Student Journey directorate at London Metropolitan University. He has 20 years’ experience of delivering frontline services to students and is an accredited change practitioner and project manager.

About Sharon

Sharon is an experienced higher education professional services director specialising in innovative change management, service design, quality assurance, international partnerships, higher education policy, governance and regulation, the law of higher education.

Working Session Three | 14.30 to 15.20

Good to great: aligning professional services to academic structures to achieve excellence

**This session is now full**

Simon Donoghue | Lead Consultant | SUMS Consulting
Katharine Rogers | Director of Faculty Operations | University of Newcastle

The professional services at the University of Newcastle Faculty of Medical Sciences are undergoing a reconfiguration to create an environment for Newcastle to achieve its strategic ambitions around the growth of research and education. However, as with any large organisational change, there is significant complexity, risk and potentially disruption to navigate. The new configuration of the professional services will deliver an efficient and effective structure that aligns with and supports the strategic academic objectives.  The presentation will take participants through the journey of the professional services reconfiguration – focussing on the development and design of a new operating model for the professional services, the development of professional services vision and values, and the design of the change management process.

About Simon

Simon Donoghue is Lead Consultant for SUMS Consulting. Simon has held senior leadership roles in Higher Education including Head of the Strategy Project Group at the University of Leeds, Chief Executive for the White Rose Consortium and Board Member of the National Council for Continuous Improvement (US). Simon works with a wide range of universities on strategic change and transformation programmes.

About Katharine

Katharine Rogers is the Director of Faculty Operations for the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Newcastle. Katharine has overall strategic responsibility for the effective and efficient professional services across the Faculty; comprising 7 research institutes and 5 schools. Katharine is a leading the development and delivery of the restructure of the professional services as part of the wider Faculty restructure leadership team.


Jump into the facilitator pool

Charley Bayley | Senior Business Analyst | University of York

Do you ever feel like meetings are going round in circles, or you always run out of time before that last agenda item? This is where facilitation could help you; a facilitator brings structure and process so that groups are able to function effectively and make high quality decisions. The University of York has established a pool of staff with generic facilitation skills, who can be requested to support others to plan and deliver events to achieve their objectives. Learn how they went about it, where it can add value and pick up some tips for facilitating collaboration in your meetings.

About Charley

Charley Bayley is a Senior Business Analyst at the University of York who bravely volunteered to be part of the facilitator pool when it was established. She has put her new facilitation skills into practice to support organisational change (and has quite enjoyed being a ‘fly on the wall’ in other people’s meetings in the process). She is not an expert in change management, but has been a driver of improvements and collaboration for the last four years at the university.


Mapping Professional Development across an institution: Implications for culture, diversity and inclusion

Jordan Kirkwood, Higher Education Manager, Aston University

This session will cover a project carried out at Elon University in North Carolina, USA, including the context, the planned and unplanned, the successes and failures, and the impact delivered. It will involve a brief overview presentation alongside some handouts of the mapping tools for attendees to map their own professional development on, followed by questions.

The project aim was to gain a holistic understanding of professional development across the institution with a view to enhance and join up the pathways, and to build a narrative around diversity and inclusion work in the context of professional development. A highly consultative project spanning 55 interviews and a number of focus groups, this high profile project had engagement from across the central departments and most of the faculty departments, with input from the senior management team and University President. Cut across three phases: interviews and focus groups (consultation), coding and meaning-making, and findings and recommendations, the outcomes were far reaching with various offshoot project emerging to address some of the recommendations.

About Jordan

Jordan is the first Apprentice Higher Education Manager at Aston University, embarking on a four year integrative programme involving rotations through university departments, various projects across the institution and three secondments to the University of Birmingham, University of Warwick and Elon University (NC, USA). Following a BSc in Politics with International Relations and a PG Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Jordan is currently undertaking a Degree Apprenticeship MBA as a part of his apprenticeship.

Highly engaged in professional development, Jordan is a Director at Better Pathways in Birmingham, a mental health and recovery charity in Birmingham, and Engagement Champion for the LGBT+ Network of Networks in Higher Education. A previous Students’ Union sabbatical officer for Education and Welfare back in 2015 and a member of the AUA since his re-entry to Higher Education in 2016, Jordan is a frequent participant in AUA Events, Networking, and Professional Development.

Going into his third year of the apprenticeship, Jordan will be leading a project centralising the University timetabling systems, a highly impactful and complex change management initiative cutting across the whole institution.


Building our Commonality: a year on …. successes and lessons learnt from a multi-campus, multi-country programme of change

Phil Rowsby, Project Manager (Change Programme), Heriot Watt University

The Secretary of the University is leading a significant change programme across all professional services across our global campuses.

The project is taking a clustered approach:

  1. Corporate Services
  2. Student Journey
  3. Infrastructure

The presenter provided background on the project to the AUA Change Forum in 2018 focusing on first part of cluster 1 which covered support for research and enterprise.

Much has moved forward since that time including the establishment of a dedicated   Programme Team.

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages.

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 had a varied work history – not in the HE sector including.  My background includes working in residential lettings, for landlord organisations and the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

For two years I was the Research Quality Enhancement Officer at Heriot-Watt University – the main aspects of the role being: PGR student experience, clerk to primary Senate Committee for Research and Innovation, established a new Research Degrees Committee and project managed a restructure of research support across the University.