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New Heads of Professional Service roles appointed

L-R: Merrill Jones; Jacqueline Guillemard; Pippa Robinson and Marc Williams

The University of Sussex has appointed four new Heads of Professional Service roles to support the Schools of Study.

This new model is designed to help bring Professional Services closer together and provide a stronger “voice” for the Schools in developing professional services strategies and opportunities for all professional services staff to work more collaboratively.

The introduction of these four roles is progress on the aims of One Professional Service, a key project in the first phase of delivery of Sussex 2025. The project is focused on developing a more integrated Professional Service that works increasingly in partnership with academic colleagues and students – and to find new and advanced ways of doing things.

The new Heads of Professional Service will be tasked with ensuring that where there are consistencies across schools on the provision of services, both in terms of quality and effectiveness these are maximised and where differences of approach are required, this is recognised. At all times they will seek opportunities for better collaboration both within Schools but also across Professional Services.

All the new positions have been recruited internally allowing for the progression of Professional Services staff, as well as ensuring that the current knowledge and experience of professional services management in Schools is retained and heightened and that colleagues are given a renewed capacity to influence best practice.

As well as taking a partnership approach across Schools the Heads of Professional Service will work hand in hand with academic and professional services colleagues in Schools to continuously understand and identify individual School needs and ensure these are understood and supported.

With a reporting line to the relevant Heads of School these roles will be managed by the Director of Planning and Performance, David Cole, who will have overall responsibility for the delivery of professional services (excluding technical) within schools.

The four new Heads of Professional Service roles will have responsibilities covering the following informal school groupings:

  • Social Sciences (LPS, Global Studies, ESW) - Pippa Robinson (currently Medical School Manager in BSMS)

  • Arts/Humanities/Media (MFM, English, HAHP, SCLS) - Jacqueline Guillemard (currently School Administrator in University of Sussex Business School)

  • University of Sussex Business School - Merrill Jones (currently Head of Professional Service for University of Sussex Business School)
  • Sciences (Engineering and Informatics, Maths and Physical Science, LifeSci, Psychology) – Marc Williams (currently School Administrator in Engineering and Informatics)

The School combinations broadly reflect the informal groupings Sussex has used in previous years and are the most logical in terms of requirements and systems. BSMS will continue with its current structure and the Medical School Secretary will have a close working relationship with both David and the Heads of Professional Service team.

Chief Operating Officer, Tim Westlake said: “I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Merrill, Jacqueline, Pippa and Marc into their new roles and support them as they settle in to their teams.

“We decided to initially advertise these roles internally to ensure our existing staff had the best opportunities, as well as keeping the skills, knowledge and experience of our valued colleagues – and we’re pleased to have achieved this.”

David Cole, Director of Planning and Performance, added: “This will give us the ability to look across and beyond existing school boundaries to improve the way we work, whilst critically ensuring that we meet the specific needs of individual schools.

“It will enable us to learn from each other and identify what really works well and what processes we can improve. We’ve had consistent feedback over the years that Schools would like a stronger voice in the planning of Professional Services strategy and the introduction of these roles is an important step in that direction.

“I am also committed to using these roles to help identify and unlock the talent we have within our Schools structures to the benefit of all Professional Services, and hence ultimately our students and academic staff.”

The Heads of Professional Service will take up their roles on October 1 and will line-manage all School Administrator roles. Both the Heads of Professional Service and, where relevant, School Administrators would also have a dotted reporting line to relevant Heads of School.

Tim added: “Having a Professional Services structure that helps us to be flexible and quick to adapt is going to be increasingly important as we seek to achieve the important aims within Sussex 2025 and respond to a rapidly changing sector and economic climate.

“By making progressive changes to our structure we’re making sure we’re in the best position to achieve our long-term goals.”

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By: Sean Armstrong
Last updated: Friday, 13 September 2019