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What's in a name? Introducing Student Administrative Services

So 1 December 2019 saw the formal name change from ‘Academic Office’ to ‘Student Administrative Services’. Lets get the acronym out of the way and agree that you can only have so much fun with being a member of the SAS. Renowned for being elite, highly trained professionals, sent into the worst trouble spots, under a veil of secrecy. You can crack your own jokes about which activities and departments these relate to.

And does it matter? Having a new name? What does it mean about identity? Well, no-one has ever come to me and said that the name ‘Academic Office’ does what it says on the tin. Quite the contrary, with usually a bit of confusion (especially for people external to the University) and misunderstanding. So yes, I think it does matter, and I’ve already had feedback that the new name is a better representation of what we are about: helping students navigate those aspects of their non-teaching life through University. We provide administrative services to support students in achieving their academic potential, ideally, by putting as few administrative barriers in the way as possible. It’s a tricky one, but I have often thought that ultimate success is when we are almost invisible to the students/stakeholders. The danger is then that people don’t appreciate what is going on below the surface, and if there is a common theme over recent cycles it is probably the need to communicate better on what we do.

How can we tackle that? By being proactive in our comms and working collaboratively with academic departments and other professional services. Also, linking into the Accessing Opportunities Programme that is underway at a strategic level We have already fed in information on our services – to inform a service catalogue – and the programme provides an opportunity for us to use expertise from marketing, comms, et al to review our web content and make things more fit for purpose. That should not be taken as a criticism - we have some great content – but we aren’t trained communication professionals and we should use those centres of expertise to help us get our messages across. As is often said, a smart person knows when to ask for help, so we should regard the AOS in that context.

As you will gather from above, I think it is overdue that we change our name to better reflect what we are about, and as a reminder, this is now who we are.

SAS Structure - Dec 2019

This also provides an opportunity to express thanks to all of you during what has been a very busy start of session. THANKS!

Any thoughts on the above gratefully received. Have a great xmas (when we get there), hopefully with a well deserved break and remember….

”Who cares wins”