Last week I met with professional services staff at the Mathematical Institute to launch Professional Services Together. It was fantastic to see people in person again, to enjoy the sunny weather and look towards the future.
Building on our success
The event was also an opportunity to celebrate what we do well – and what we have continued to do well in spite of the pandemic.
It is important that we can continue looking back, as we all know that Oxford’s success stems from its rich traditions, and its devolved structure.
Our professional services colleagues are dedicated to supporting individual departmental and cross-disciplinary needs. This means our teams are often nimble and responsive. They’re focused on our students and academics. And they develop strong communities and relationships within our divisions, departments and services.
Working more effectively together
While there are many examples of local brilliance, when we look out and across at the professional services community across Oxford, it’s clear that we can be better connected. Our processes can be better streamlined. We can share more success stories and staff can experience roles in different parts of the University to understand each other better.
That is where Professional Services Together comes in. This is a framework to support our professional services across the University – building on what we do well and enhancing our activities University-wide.
We will do this by focusing on collaboration, quality and our people.
This means developing a community mindset across professional services, by being clear about the principles for how we best work together.
It will mean sharing examples of good practice from across the University, and working together on University-wide priorities (building on existing activities, not creating big new programmes).
And it will mean helping everyone to collaborate even more, and grow our Oxford-wide careers.
Supporting our academic mission
I have already spoken to Heads of Department and Heads of Administration about Professional Services Together, and they agree that our professional services colleagues work incredibly hard to support our academic mission.
Professional Services Together is all about supporting them with their efforts, removing barriers and obstacles to smart working.
It is absolutely not about centralisation or cost cutting, or reducing their focus on academic needs.
It’s about building a better-connected community that finds it easier to move quickly and responsively, wherever they are in the institution. And ultimately it is about ensuring our professional services are as effective as possible in supporting Oxford’s core mission of education and research.
I’m incredibly excited about working with our teams across the University to provide professional services together, and I look forward to telling you more as our plans develop.
Find out more about Professional Services Together at Professional Services Together | Staff Gateway (ox.ac.uk).