Monthly Archives: December 2015

Review of UCISA activity in 2015

2015 continued to see institutions focus on improving the student experience, enhancing facilities and delivering efficiencies. With IT at the heart of the institution, our members are under increasing pressure to deliver more services to their institutions with budgets often decreasing in real terms. UCISA, through the work of its Executive, its Groups and the UCISA Office, has sought to address the needs of our community in these difficult times. Brief highlights of this work are given below.

The work to move UCISA from being a charitable trust to a charitable company limited by guarantee will be complete early in the New Year. Although this work has taken longer than anticipated, we are already seeing the benefits with UCISA reaching agreement with LEO for the provision of information security training for our members. We are expecting this to be available in the first quarter of 2016.

In 2015, we have promoted the sharing of good practice through:

  • Running a total of 17 events including three webinars and five multi-day conferences with exhibitions. Four of these events were fully booked. 2015 saw the inaugural Spotlight on Digital Capabilities event and the first event run by the Project and Change Management Group;
  • Providing bursaries for individuals within the UCISA membership to attend a wide range of conferences and update the community on the practices highlighted;
  • Recognising the excellent work that takes place in our institutions by the UCISA Award for Excellence, won this year by the University of Edinburgh, and the Amber Miro Memorial Award for innovation which was won by the University of Aberdeen;
  • Publishing a set of case studies on technology enhanced learning (TEL) to complement the TEL survey published in 2014.
  • We have represented our members interests and views by:

  • Responding to consultations on the Prevent duty monitoring framework, the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, the HESA Data Futures programme and the HEFCE consultation on changes to the National Student Survey, Unistats and information provided by institutions.
  • Continuing to work with Jisc on a broad scope of initiatives, contributing to the three consultative panels, and helping shape the Research at risk and the Electronic Management of Assessment strands of activity. The Spotlight on Digital Capabilities event demonstrated the effectiveness of our collaboration with Jisc, highlighting Jisc activity that addresses recommendations in the original survey report;
  • Membership of advisory and user groups including the UCAS Council, the HEDIIP Advisory Panel and the HESA User Group.
  • We have, in 2015, published a range of resources to assist our members in addressing key business issues and to help formulate policy and strategy. These included:

  • The Information Security Management Toolkit, authored by a number of member institutions under the guidance of Bridget Kenyon of UCL, to assist institutions at all levels of maturity in their implementation of an information security management system through practical guidance, case studies and templates;
  • Secure Network Management, the successor to the Exploiting and Protecting the Network Best Practice Guide;
  • Establishing a Project Management Office in an HE environment, which provides advice on designing your PMO and on implementation and a set of example artefacts;
  • The Social Media Toolkit: a practical guide to achieving benefits and managing risks contains short case studies from across the higher education sector, good practice tips and templates.
  • We have conducted a number of surveys to allow our members to benchmark themselves against their peers, and to establish the level of maturity of activity within the sector. In addition to the annual HEITS and CISG systems survey, this year we:

  • Published the results of the inaugural survey on Digital capabilities. The report from this survey informed the Spotlight on Digital Capabilities event;
  • Published a survey on Out of hours support which highlighted a number of issues which were raised with our HR sister organisation.
  • UCISA continues to work with suppliers to the sector. In 2015 we have:

  • Continued to grow our corporate membership;
  • Promoted a workshop for student records systems suppliers to inform them of HESA and HEDIIP developments;
  • Helped promote a greater understanding of the sector through the Selling IT to universities event, briefings for exhibitors at the UCISA15 and CISG15 conferences, and by meeting corporate members on a one to one basis.
  • Finally, we have continued to work with our sister organisations, both at home and abroad, to ensure that our members’ issues are understood across the sector and to collaborate on joint issues. This has included working with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and a number of professional associations to reshape the popular Future Leaders Programme into a new programme, Future Professional Directors.

    The list above highlights just some of the work that our Committees and the UCISA Office has carried out on behalf of our members. A more formal annual report will be published in the New Year and presented at the Association’s AGM at the UCISA16 Conference in Manchester on 17 March.

    I should like to take this opportunity to remind you that bookings are open for the UCISA16 Conference in March. Bookings are also open for three other events taking place in the first half of the year. We will be inviting entries for the UCISA Award for Excellence early in the New Year – always an opportunity for our members to showcase the excellent work that takes place in IT departments across the country.

    Finally, thank you for your support in 2015. I wish you, on behalf of the UCISA team, all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

    Peter Tinson
    Executive Director
    22 December 2015