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Higher Education (Scotland) Today Programme

Professional Support Staff Grade 5 & above, who have worked in Higher Education for approximately one year or under.

OSDS will fund up to 4 places on each date, plus travel expenses.

Dates and Venue

Tuesday 10 March 2020 0930-1700

Stirling Court Hotel, The University of Stirling, FK9 4LA

CURRENT STATUS: Applications can be submitted to OSDS using the form below until 31 January 2020.


Participants will:

  • Investigate the origins of Higher Education in Scotland and explore how this influences the current sector make-up
  • Identify the provenance of their own institution and discuss the impact of this on the HEI’s strategy
  • Grow their understanding of the financing of universities in Scotland and elsewhere
  • Enhance their understanding of the importance of research, teaching and ‘third arm’ activities
  • Consider the complexity of Universities and the professional services provided
  • Look at current and future challenges facing higher education
  • Consider how universities run themselves and how external stakeholders are involved
  • Discuss the inter-relatedness of other HE agencies
  • Relate their own institution to these issues

Important information

Please note that this requires a minimum of 25 participants to go ahead.  The event is organised by OSD,  Universities Scotland, and they reserve the right to make changes to the event and date. If this happens you will be notified in advance and automatically transferred onto the next available session.
A joining email will be sent to you, within 5 days of the session.  The joining email will contain all relevant and logistical information.  Lunch and refreshments will be available during the day.

Programme description

Taking up a role in the Higher Education sector can be a daunting experience. Higher Education Institutions are complex institutions and developing a broad understanding of what makes them different to other organisations can improve one’s ability to work effectively within them. This intensive one-day event provides this context.

Many HEI’s in-house induction programmes deal with important internal processes such as local ways of working and legislative compliance. The event focuses on the range of missions of our institutions and their internal cultures and how external pressures including legal, political, and financial, impact on the choices HEIs make. Where appropriate, attention will be drawn to how the Scottish HE sector differs from other parts of the UK.

The event will also look at where the funding/money comes from and how it is spent, and the nature of HE related agencies that currently play such an important part in the success of the sector.

Speakers from across the sector are invited to bring their unique perspective on Scottish HE and the challenges facing it.

Facilitator - Alastair Work

Alastair is a leadership and organisational developer and former Vice-Principal of the University of St Andrews.


Alastair started his career in the private sector (in education,  electronics and the drinks industry) ‌before re-joining the university from which he had graduated in the capacity of its first ever personnel officer. During a period of rapid and significant organisational change, he held roles as Director of Registry, Vice-Principal and University Secretary.


In 2005, he embarked on a one-year project to broaden his knowledge of the Higher Education sector; after working in-house with 59 different institutions (so far), that project has yet to end and probably never will.


‌Alastair is a Key Associate of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and also has clients in Government, Health and Social Care.