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Developing digital literacies for teaching administrators


The AUA’s ‘professional behaviours’

By Clive Young, on 20 October 2011

At the AUA CPD Pilot Group Networking event in Manchester today among a lively group of CPD ‘champions’ who are implementing the AUA’s ‘professional behaviours’ framework in a range of projects to aiming to develop professional services staff.

The framework derives from a HEFCE-funded AUA programme that started in 2008 which attempted to build on a number of existing professional and management standards to develop a ‘common language’ that could be used to describe the CPD needs of university  administrative staff. After a sector-wide consultation the framework emerged as a range of nine ‘professional behaviours’ such as ‘delivering excellent service’, ‘embracing change’ and ‘working with people’, usually displayed as a circle.

The behaviours aim to describe how a person does a job, so conceptually sits between the job description and the person specification. Each behaviour has a definition describing how it influences the individual, her relationship with others and in the context of the wider organisation.

The AUA projects, some in their second year, were using the framework in a variety of ways; as part of the recruitment process, for CPD planning, and frequently as part of a reorganisation process. The Digital Department is looking at the AUA framework as a way of ‘unpacking’ the skills of our teaching administrators, to suggest a development path and to help alignment with the AUA portfolio certification process.  Although funded by JISC, we were invited to join the wider AUA network initiative and we met representatives of at least one project who was trying something similar, although with a different group of staff.

To familiarise ourselves with the framework we used the behaviours as a ‘coaching wheel’, to rate our confidence against each, which we wanted to develop and (especially revealing) what our respective institutions expected of us. A useful and engaging tool and we look forward to using it with our TAs to identify their activities and skills.

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