AHUA Spring Conference 2021 Programme

Monday 12 April

12.30 – 13.00

AHUA Business Session (members only)

An opportunity to hear what the Association has been doing over the past year and to talk to AHUA’s Executive Officers about any HE related issues you would like to raise.

13.00 – 13.30


A chance to talk to fellow AHUA members

13.30 – 13.40

Welcome from Nicola Owen, AHUA Chair and Deputy Chief Executive, Lancaster University

13.40 – 14.40

Session 1 – Re-imagining the workplace

  • Richard Billingham, HR Director, Aston University
  • Fiona Duggan, Fid Space
  • Ian Dunn, Provost, Coventry University
  • Chair: David Duncan, Chief Operating Officer, University of Glasgow

Covid-19 has changed the world in myriad ways.  This session explores the views of three speakers who will share their thoughts on the opportunities for change in the sector, looking specifically at how the pandemic has affected the HE workforce, estates and teaching and learning.  The speakers will offer achievable but bold visions of what change could realistically occur and will challenge members to think about how their own institutions might operate differently in future.

14.40 – 15.00

Break from the screen

15.00 – 16.00

Session 2 – Keynote Speech

Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, University of the West Indies

Chair: Nicola Owen

Sir Hilary is a renowned, global campaigner in the field of racial equality and social inclusion.  In this session, he will explore the crucial importance of meaningful engagement by universities in equality and diversity practices and the opportunities and benefits this brings.

16.00 – 16.30


19.30 – 20.15

Alex Crow – mind-reader and magician

We all need a bit of fun and magic from time to time!  Join us with your families for just that from renowned Alex Crow, virtual mind-reading master!

“This week I was lucky enough to witness Alex doing his show virtually. I couldn’t imagine how it would work without interacting face to face, but he completely amazed me with his skills. Completely and utterly mind blowing! If you get the chance to see this man do not hesitate.” Jill Goddard (corporate client)

Tuesday 13 April

9.30 – 9.40

Welcome back

9.40 – 10.40

Session 3 – Sponsor Sessions

  •  Global mobility and HE – challenges and opportunities
    Alex Russell, Mills & Reeve
    This session will consider immigration and global mobility issues facing the HE sector.  It will explore the challenges and opportunities arising from the new post-Brexit immigration system, key points arising from the UK / EU trade deal, compliance considerations when managing an increasing mobile workforce, and the future direction of travel on mobility issues.
  • Governance under pressure – An exploration of how the pressures affecting HE institutions have impacted on governance
    Halpin Partnership
    Covid, pensions, regulatory and policy change… the myriad challenges facing HE have had an impact on governance practice and culture and created tensions between councils and senates.  This session will explore how senate and council can work together to meet the challenges institutions face and the changes in governance practices and culture which may be needed.  Panellists will be:
  • Wyn Morgan, Professor of Economics, University of Sheffield and Halpin Consulting Fellow
  • David Allen OBE, Halpin Consulting Fellow
  • Ewart Wooldridge CBE, Halpin Consulting Fellow
  • Osaro Otobo, Halpin Consulting Fellow
  • Wendy Appleby, Registrar & Head of Student & Registry Services, UCL
  • Separating Digital Transformation from Digital Delusion: surveying the HE landscape in a time of upheaval
    John McMillian, EAB
    While the global pandemic presents massive opportunities for the sector to better integrate digital tools across academic and operational areas, institutions risk falling into the trap of digital delusion, adopting technology merely for the sake of technology. This presentation will explore:
    • practices in developing digital transformation strategies and leveraging technology to address specific learning and operational challenges;
    • Leading digital transformation initiatives and overcoming common challenges (eg, financial, cultural, organisational) to adoption.

10.40 – 11.00

Break from the screen

11.00 – 12.00

Session 4– Creating the Oxford / AstraZeneca Partnership

  • Dr Adam Stoten, Chief Operating Officer, Oxford University Innovation Ltd
  • Dr Phil Clare, Deputy Director, Research Services (Knowledge Exchange and Engagement), University of Oxford
  • Chair: Rachel Sandby-Thomas, Registrar, University of Warwick

Creating and producing the Oxford – AstraZeneca vaccine was achieved in a timescale that was previously unimaginable.  This session will explore how the two organisations made this happen, the processes they used and the learning they both gained from the experience.

12.00 – 12.10

Conference Close

12.10 – 12.30


The conference is sponsored by:

View conference webpage here

The conference programme may be subject to change by the organisers.