317 - Delivering a Professional Administration - A case study in fieldwork management
Delivering a professional administration: a case study in fieldwork management Speaker: Rosie Williams, Teaching and Learning Administrator, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester Co-Speaker: Emma Casey, External Relations, Recruitment and AdmissionsAdministrator, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester This session looks at the how the School of Environment and Development created a discrete role to review and improve the administration of student field courses. The School is a multi- discipline department coordinating approximately twenty international student field courses per year, with a high proportion of international student participants. Field courses in the School give rise to complex issues around accessibility, immigration, budget management, student pastoral care and health and safety.
Aims & Objectives•To communicate our experience, in managing the professional administration of adiscrete function•To demonstrate a practical example of aligning operational activity with strategyand how to bridge the vision and the reality•To communicate some strategies for improving operational performance inadministration through re-organisation 2
Background to the School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester•School formed in September 2004 following merger•Four disciplines Architecture, Planning, Geography and International Development•Fully co-located and merged administration teams in July 2007• Fieldwork administration sits within the Teaching and Learning team• 12 staff within Teaching & Learning Team (further 7 staff in Recruitment & AdmissionsTeam)•c.1000 undergraduate students•c.450 postgraduate taught students•c.200 postgraduate research students• 60% of PGT students are International (non UK/EU)
Background to UGT/PGT fieldwork in the School•Around 20 overseas fieldtrips each •Mix of Urban and Rural Fieldworkyear • Some practical fieldwork (Physical Geog)•Around 30 day fieldtrips each year•c.£450,000 spend per academic year(c.50% recouped from students)
Recognising the need for change•Mix of individuals organising fieldwork trips (academic staff, technical staff, adminstaff)•Fieldtrip planning/organisation impacted on staff in Programme Teams at keytimes in student life cycle so was generally done in haste, inefficiently or lastminute•No standard practice in the organisation of trips across the School (H&S/paymentpractices/budgeting)•No central hub of information about fieldwork trips (timetables, costings)•Student numbers growing, so fieldtrips grew larger, or increased in numberadding to the complexity•Higher numbers of international PGT, led to increased issues with visas, financialproblems•No senior experienced administrator with the capacity for the development of newprocesses and practices
Challenges to implementing the change•Used period of major University change to restructure•Challenge of changing way PSS staff worked•Challenge of changing way academic staff worked•Dealing with increased level of expectation from staff•Handling student needs•Rationalising different ways of working across disciplines•Forming new relationships with central University services
How change was implementedStages of implementation1. Preparation/ Review 1 monthExtensive discussion with administrators and academicsSWOT analysis of existing processes2. Strategy Formulation 2 yearsUse of external agencies / guidelines to formulate School-level policy,forming liaisons with central services, documentation of policy -dissemination across the University AND3. Centralisation of responsibility and approval 2 yearsSupplier review / contractor appointment, budgetary monitoring, consistencyof health and safety and supervisory procedures4. Try, try and try again5. Re-dissemination at 4 years
Benefit analysis of introducing the change •Effective management of unforeseen events •Oversight of Budgets •Ability to forward plan •Health and Safety and Risk •Standardisation of Practice •Ability to find synergies with other areas of the School •Signalling to academic colleagues the benefits that PSS staff can bring to key tasks •Improving the Student Experience
Ongoing Development •Widening of hands-on experience •Identification of training opportunities •Role analysis identifying strategical responsibility to be retained and administrative tasks to be disseminated 9
Closing Statement/Questions Summary: •Identifying the need for change •Challenges •Implementation •Timeline •Role analysis for re-dissemination Lessons Learned •Faster dissemination Use: •An example of benefit to Schools and departments with similar characteristics and needs: •Disparate disciplines / sub-divisions •Disparate working practices •Duplication of resource across common activities
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