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UCL Professional Services Conference 2017

By ucyow3c, on 22 February 2017


Written by Chris Lane, Media Relations Officer, UCL Communications & Marketing 

The annual UCL Professional Services Conference drew together close to 700 staff from across the university on February 15 at Logan Hall, to meet counterparts from other departments, learn from peers, and celebrate the achievements of the professional services community at UCL.

Rex Knight, Vice-Provost (Operations), introduced the conference, calling it a celebration of the work UCL Professional Services staff do for the university. This year’s event focused on how to improve the student experience at UCL. The theme was presented in a short film called “Back to Basics – what is the student journey?” which featured interview clips with UCL students discussing their experience from first contact to graduation and beyond.

images by Kirsten Holst, www.kirstenholst.com

Nica Burns, OBE. Images: Kirsten Holst

The next presentation was from Nica Burns OBE, an alumna who is now one of London’s most prominent theatre producers. She discussed her experience studying law at UCL, as well as being a very active member of the Drama Society. She said a law degree complemented her creative spirit very well as it taught her a different way of thinking, helping her to be more analytical and able to run a business. After her talk she took part in a brief Q&A, hosted by Lori Houlihan, Vice-Provost (Development), where Burns shared her insights into taking risks, being ambitious, and meeting the Queen.

Following Burns’ presentation was a series of snapshot presentations. First up, Ian Creagh discussed the TOPS (Transforming our Professional Services) programme. The audience was then shown a film about Transforming UCL, showcasing the success of building and refurbishment projects such as the New Student Centre and 22 Gordon Street. The final snapshot presentation was delivered by Sue Tonks, the emcee for the evening, who shared her tips on networking by finding common ground.

The assembled crowd then had the chance to put Tonks’ tips into practice at the student journey marketplace and networking session, where staff members from across UCL hosted stalls showcasing their work. It was an opportunity to learn about the wide range of activity going on at UCL and to find areas for collaboration with other teams.images by Kirsten Holst, www.kirstenholst.com

The afternoon continued back in Logan Hall with a Q&A with key members of UCL leadership: President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur; Wendy Appleby, Registrar, Student & Registry Services; Dame Nicola Brewer, Vice-Provost (International); Dr Celia Caulcott, Vice-Provost (Innovation & Enterprise); and Professor David Price, Vice-Provost (Research). They answered questions from the audience including addressing how UCL is working to improve the student experience, UCL’s strategy in the wake of the EU referendum, and how professional services could collectively improve.

The culmination of the event was the presentation of the annual Professional Services Awards, recognising key achievements of staff members across the university. There were close to 100 nominations sent in from across the university.

The award for Community Impact Champion went to Green UCL, part of the UCL Sustainability Team, for their work in supporting the retention of a cycle lane that passes through the Bloomsbury campus. They promoted the consultation and educated students and staff on the benefits of the cycle lane.

Watch a video of the nominees below:

The Brand Ambassador award recognises work that successfully raises UCL’s profile. It was earned by UCL Press, the UK’s first open-access university press. They publish academic books and journals online that are freely available to read and download, enabling UCL research to be read anywhere in the world by anyone with an internet connection. To date, their content has been downloaded over 182,000 times in over 190 countries.

Watch a video of the nominees below:

The UCL Accommodation Team won the Service Excellence to Students award, in recognition of their welcome event for students moving into the halls of residence, which was done differently in 2016 thanks to close collaboration with student ambassadors who helped introduce the younger students to life at UCL.

Watch a video of the nominees below:

The Service Excellence to Staff award was given to Annett Seifert of the Student Recruitment Marketing team in Communications and Marketing, in recognition of her work leading the provision of a new online platform for enquiry forms and event management tools. She has been commended across UCL on the high level of support and dedication she has provided fellow staff members.

Watch a video of the nominees below:

The Best Collaborative Project award went to the UCL Dementia Research Institute Hub Bid Team. In late 2016, UCL was selected as the ‘hub’ of the new £250m UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI). The bid involved a three-year process drawing together staff from the SLMS Research Coordination Office, SLMS Projects and Partnerships, SLMS Communications and UCL Communications and Marketing to create a compelling, comprehensive and clear narrative conveying UCL’s ambitions.

Watch a video of the nominees below:

After the Professional Services Working Group was recognised for their work in putting together another successful edition of the conference, the day was capped off by a reception with musical entertainment from Dat Brass.

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