The Degree Congregation Staff Rota

Degree Congregations are the highlight of the academic year and rely on dedicated staff from across the University volunteering in one of a number of roles to deliver these prestigious events. These roles vary in profile and time commitment – everything from carrying the University Mace to ushering graduands in the Great Hall. 

You do not need to be a member of academic staff, nor hold a degree to undertake any of these roles.  All we ask is that you seek your line manager’s approval before volunteering. Degree Congregations are truly University-wide events, and mark a period of celebration for the University.  

Degree Congregations are also a tremendous way in which staff can gain skills and experience they are not normally exposed to in their daily roles.  A number of staff have used these roles to gain experience of managing teams, problem solving, working to tight deadlines and under pressure to further their own careers. If you are interested in volunteering for one of these roles, and taking part in Degree Congregations this December, we hope you will find the following information helpful. 

Degree Congregations will be held between 10-13 December 2019.  Please consider volunteering for the following roles;

Mace Bearer

If you are interested in being a University Mace Bearer please confirm your availability.

Profile: High

Time: Low (1hr 45mins)

Student facing: No

Additional information: Individual duty

The University’s Mace Bearers lead the procession into the Great Hall at the start of each Degree Congregation, and from the Great Hall at its conclusion.  These roles play no part in the presentation of the graduands but are high profile and often require liaison with senior members of the University.


It’s an incredible feeling when you walk into the Hall, carrying the mace and starting the ceremony that completes the journey for hundreds of soon to be fellow Birmingham alumni, and an even more incredible feeling walking out again with the applause starting as the new graduates follow behind - Mace Bearer

Procession and Platform

If you are interested in the role of Procession and Platform please confirm your availability.

Profile: Medium

Time: Medium (2 hours)

Student facing: No

Additional information: Paired with another member of staff for the duty

Procession and Platform helps to assemble and organise the procession of staff into the Great Hall at the start of the Degree Congregation, then marshals the procession from the Great Hall at its conclusion.  The role plays no part in the presentation of the graduands but does involve liaison with those members of staff forming the procession.

It’s great fun to be involved and so well organised.  I like it because it reminds you what we all work towards - Member of staff undertaking Procession and Platform

I enjoyed being part of the Graduations again this year, it’s a great way to be involved in something really important for the University - Member of staff undertaking Procession and Platform


If you are interested in the role of Steps please confirm your availability.

Profile: High

Time: Medium (2 hours)

Student facing: Yes

Additional information: Individual duty

Steps is responsible for ensuring the correct graduand is presented at the correct time during the ceremony.  Other members of duty staff will have checked to ensure the correct graduand is presented to you, but the role of Steps is the final check before the graduand is presented for their degree.  The role is undertaken at the top of the steps to the platform, hence its name.


 I had a great time and found it really rewarding to see students happily graduating after their time here! Standing on stage was pretty intimidating at first but it all went smoothly and I will hopefully volunteer again in the summer.   Everything seemed really well organised, and I appreciated the walk through given to new “steps” people the week before. It’s much easier to understand what you are supposed to you when you can stand in the great hall and visualise it first! - Member of staff undertaking Steps

Floor of Hall

If you are interested in the role of Floor of Hall please confirm your availability.

Profile: Low

Time: High (2hr 45mins)

Student facing: Yes

Additional information: Team of 5

Floor of Hall roles work in teams to help to register, seat and usher graduands before, during and after the Degree Congregation.  This role has the most contact with the graduands, playing a hidden but crucial role in ensuring the ceremony runs smoothly, and all graduands are presented in the correct order for their degrees.


Through volunteering at Degree Congregations I have broadened my skills set in a way that I couldn’t in my role. Each ceremony presents its own set of challenges: taking a customer-facing role, problem-solving in a fast and professional way, and working in an unfamiliar team. On top of this, it is the only time of year when I feel truly in touch with the rich history of the University as a red-brick, civic institution: a chance to celebrate the essence of the University - Member of staff working on Floor of Hall

Contact us

If you have any questions about volunteering for a role in a Degree Congregation please contact us.


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