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UCL Professional Services Conference 2017

GuestBlogger22 February 2017

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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.

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Wellbeing@UCL launch event

GuestBlogger26 January 2017

pencil-iconWritten by Faaiza Bokhari (UCL Occupational Health & Wellbeing)

UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur and Karen Smith, UCL Wellbeing Consultant

UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur
and Karen Smith, UCL Wellbeing Consultant

Wellbeing isn’t just about ourselves, but also about what we can do for others – this was something that UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur was keen to emphasise at the launch of Wellbeing@UCL – UCL’s five-year wellbeing strategy for the whole of the UCL community.

On 18 January, I attended the launch in the South Cloisters as a member of the UCL Occupational Health and Wellbeing team, which has been working on the wellbeing strategy as part of a new holistic approach to occupational health. More than 500 staff and students attended on the day, demonstrating the importance of wellbeing to our staff and students.

The buzz around the event was fantastic, and it was great to see so many people coming together for something that could prove really valuable to the community. Attendees were interested to find out more about UCL’s future plans, particularly the six ‘pillars’ of the Wellbeing@UCL strategy, and spending time on the Occupational Health and Wellbeing stand gave me the opportunity to connect with people one-on-one.

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What will Brexit mean for UCL? – a forum for the UCL community

GuestBlogger13 July 2016

pencil-iconWritten by Tom Butler (UCL Philosophy)

UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur addresses audience membersIn reaction to the political confusion that has occurred following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, a Q&A session was arranged to provide some clarity about what Brexit means for UCL’s staff and students.

UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur, was joined by colleagues Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research); Wendy Appleby, UCL Registrar and Nigel Waugh, Director of UCL Human Resources, each providing insight from their own professional backgrounds. Completing the panel was Simon Kenny, a lawyer working for firm Eversheds in their immigration practice. The discussion was chaired by Dame Nicola Brewer, UCL Vice-Provost (International).

The event was an opportunity for staff and students, particularly those from countries within the EU, to find answers to any queries they had regarding Brexit.

As the event progressed, it became clear that there were two types of questions being presented to the panel: firstly, individuals asked for advice about what they should do with regard to the EU referendum result; and secondly, staff and students asked what actions UCL was taking and planning to take.

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UCL Professional Services Conference 2016

GuestBlogger2 February 2016

pencil-iconWritten by Sonia Abrams (UCL Communications and Marketing)

Professional Services Awards 2016More than 800 staff were in attendance at the second UCL Professional Services Conference, which took place on Tuesday 2 February at Logan Hall. The event was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the professional services community at UCL in a relaxed environment that also provided time to network, receive up-to-date information and socialise at the post conference reception.

The afternoon consisted of a series of presentations followed by an awards ceremony for staff and teams nominated for Professional Services Awards by their colleagues across the university, as well as a Q&A with UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur.

Rex Knight, Vice-Provost (Operations) opened the conference with a short introduction reminding staff of the key highlights for UCL over the past couple of years. This included the merger with the Institute of Education, as well as the outstanding REF result “which has taken us right to the top of the UK league tables on many measures, ahead of Oxford and Cambridge”. Knight thanked professional services staff for their contributions to these results by acknowledging “the support that is given to research activity through the institution”. He also eluded to the forthcoming philanthropic campaign being the most ambitious to date for UCL, and even in Europe.

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