USM Phase 3 Launch

building partnerships so that we can achieve more together

By Amy McDonald, USM Rollout Team

The USM project has been live now since September 2018. In the last two years we have worked with over 200 staff across 40+ offices, bringing together their insights, experiences, and shared purposes to achieve a common goal – consistent delivery of high quality service.

This September marks the launch of Phase 3 of the project, which will look to

  • Bring more colleagues from offices that deliver student-facing support on board
  • Further embed the USM in the offices already using it
  • Build on momentum and foundations laid during the last two years to make things better

Something nobody could have predicted when planning for this project was how much the landscape would change this year. The move to at-distance learning and as a result at-distance student support has been disruptive and challenging, with many staff forced to rethink and adjust how they support students over the last few months.

Acknowledging the challenges, it has actually been an empowering time to be working on a project engaging with colleagues across campus. Due to the scope of the work we’re involved in, and the variety of offices we’ve been working with, we’ve had many opportunities to see colleagues across the campus redefine what they do to suit the emerging needs of fellow staff and students.

By redefine I don’t simply mean “adjusting” or “transitioning” from one way of working to another, although that’s certainly an aspect of it (and a challenging one at times). More than this though, we’ve seen staff come together through the various initiatives we’ve supported to share their burdens, reframe their thinking and empower each other to come up with real solutions to commonly faced challenges. Sometimes this is as simple as the confidence gleaned from knowing that another colleague is struggling with the same process, or the competence that grows after talking through a common solution.

The temptation is always there to view this period as temporary and to look at the solutions that have been put in place as stop-gaps or band-aids. We all want to see some return to “normality” soon. Notwithstanding that desire, we’ve seen some very valuable and exciting work going on in these last several months, work that we feel has contributed toward the concept of the USM in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We believe this work has value beyond the world of at-distance or remote working.

One of the main things we have enjoyed throughout the entire project has been coming together with everyone involved in student support delivery, those at the frontline and those that support them, and building partnerships so that we can achieve more together; we look forward to introducing more of our colleagues into this community during Phase 3, continuing to work together to develop and enhance student facing supports in the university.


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