While I have been a member of the Association of University Administrators (AUA) for a couple of years, I attended and presented at their annual conference for the first time in March 2013.
Why the AUA? There are certainly many HE professional associations/networks to choose to get involved in. The ODHE group itself is one, of course. Add to that the many other specialist organisations that include ARC, ARMA, ASET, AUCC, AGCAS, AURIL, AHUA, AISA, AMOSSHE, AUCSO, AUDE, SDF, UHR, and the lists and acronyms go on…
Firstly, the AUA has a substantial membership base of nearly 5,000 in the UK and a significant international presence, including strong connections with similar organisations in other countries. Its annual conference is the largest professional services development conference in the UK HE calendar and typically brings together over 700 delegates.
Secondly, our local University of Kent branch is very active and was thrilled to receive three AUA awards in 2012 including one recognising Branch Good Practice. The enthusiasm of our local membership was instrumental in my decision to also contribute more actively. I also like the idea of being involved with an organisation that is so much at the forefront in encouraging professional services staff to work in partnership with academic staff and students to encourage positive change and innovation in the core business of our institutions.
Thirdly, the AUA is making very good use good use of social media. They had great mobile apps at their conference, they make good use of Twitter (@THE_AUA) and Twitter hash tags (#AUA13) at their events and they use LinkedIngroups (Association of University Administrators more than many other associations I have come across.
The topic I presented at the AUA13 conference with University of Kent colleague Chloé Gallien was: Collaboration as a Catalyst for Change (see materials for session 200). As I mentioned in that AUA conference presentation, social media is just one way we can find new ways to collaborate and build relationships in a more social era. And as one of my favourite authors, Nilofer Merchant, states: “Relationships are to the social era, what efficiency was to the industrial era.”
The call is now live for AUA14 conference proposals on the topic of Revolution and Reinvention. Why not join in by getting involved?