College of Social Sciences Birmingham Professional

Lorraine Gaytten"Welcome to the Birmingham Professional Programme for professional services staff in the College of Social Sciences. As Director of Operations for the College and Professional Services lead, I am committed to the development and support of all of our professional services colleagues. We play a vital role in the success of our College and are at the heart of our University. 

To continue to build on our achievements the Birmingham Professional initiative has been designed to:

- Provide development and networking opportunities
- Recognise and celebrate best practice and new innovations across the College
- Enhance communication and wellbeing

I very much hope you will take the opportunity to attend some of sessions that may be of interest and that you will encourage your staff and colleagues to do the same.  We welcome any new ideas for future sessions that you feel would be beneficial; please contact our Programme Lead or get in touch with the Programme Champion for your School if you would like to be involved in shaping and designing your future. 

Finally, I would like to thank you for the immense contribution each of you make to the College and very much look forward to working with you to continue to build on this great work together."

Upcoming events

Check out what's on the horizon for the coming months...

October 2017


10.00-11.00, 20 October, 113 MHT
10.00-11.00, 27 October, 113 MHT
10.00-11.00 3rd November, 118 MHT

Delivered by Sharon Jones

An opportunity to meet key individuals managing services supporting students in the Aston Webb Student Hub.  This session will enable attendees to find out more about the important services on offer in the student hub including from Careers, Student Services and Registry and how best to access them for staff and students. There will also be discussion on the development of services in the student hub and changes that have been made since it was set up. This session will be especially useful for anyone working in a student facing/support role looking to understand how they can access the services of the student hub and what they offer as well as anyone considering working in this area.

November 2017


20th November, 12.00-14.00, Mechanical Engineering G34 

Delivered by Angela Storer, Change Manager

Following excellent engagement from many staff with the Professional Services Review within CoSS, we are keen to continue to involve you further in shaping our next steps.    This lunch and learn style event will involve short presentations from some of our cross College theme senior leads on their priorities for the coming year and an opportunity to ask them questions.  It will conclude with a facilitated discussion session over lunch where the theme leads will seek your views on how the skills and expertise of staff can be used to best effect in making the vision a reality. 


December 2017


12:00-13:00, 11 December
Room G07, University House
Delivered by the International Relations Team

This session is an opportunity to meet staff from International Relations at an exciting time of major change and development in this area at the University and find out more about their roles, department and objectives as well as their current and future focus as a Department in this area of work.

January 2018


16 January
Delivered by Graham Timmins

This session will provide an opportunity to meet with the College Director of Education and key staff involved in student experience, to find out more about the importance of student feedback and how it is used to improve student satisfaction. It is a chance to develop knowledge of student experience, the feedback process and will provide an opportunity for greater understanding of the education agenda in CoSS, why it is vital and how both Professional Services and Academic staff can practically support it. 

February 2018


8 February
Delivered by Andy Newnham

To highlight what the key roles and objectives are and to gain a better understanding of Business Engagement’s function and key objectives within the College of Social Sciences and across the University. This session will explain the Business Engagement strategy, work and how staff can get involved to support and develop this important area of work. 

March 2018


Delivered by Sophie Sinclair

To explain the importance of civic engagement work and explore practical opportunities for Professional Services colleagues to get involved. Including case studies of individuals who have taken part in civic engagement activities and how these have benefitted the community as well as individuals and developed skills for career development.

April 2018


18 April
Delivered by Adam Gore and CoSS Marketing team

To introduce the restructured College Marketing team and gain an understanding of key roles, key objectives and how they can support and promote Academics, professional services colleagues and work and events in general across the College. This is an excellent opportunity to gain a better understanding of the College marketing function, and how staff can get involved and benefit from the support available. 

May 2018


17th May

Delivered by James Mason

Offering an understanding of both coaching and mentoring; including the key differences, benefits, internal resources and how each process can support personal and team development.  



June 2018


Delivered by Kiran Trehan

Your Birmingham Professional contacts

The following people are key contact points for all Birmingham Professional activities and events for the College and if you have any questions, ideas or suggestions for future activities or events please do get in touch – we want to hear from you! We meet regularly throughout the year and work closely with the University’s Birmingham Professional Working Group.

CoSS Programme Lead - Sophie Sinclair

Birmingham Business School

Contact Sophie at

More about Sophie...

I’ve always had a keen interest in supporting people to discover and explore opportunities, achieve their goals and feel happier and more engaged at work. I have successfully lead training programmes in past roles and managed a wide variety of events throughout my career.  This combined with a masters qualification in People Management & Development and qualifications in coaching and mentoring enables me to have a good understanding of the types of support and training that can make a really positive impact in the workplace.

I look forward to working with the Champions and colleagues across the College and wider University to design and deliver a Birmingham Professional programme that can support staff development, increase staff awareness and availability of developmental opportunities across the University and how they can be part of these, as well as increasing wellbeing and engagement.

Through leading the Birmingham Professional programme I hope to gain a richer understanding of the Schools, Departments and the individuals therein to devise and deliver a programme with the champions that benefits the College as a whole and delivers something for every individual.

Please contact me should you be interested in delivering a session for the programme or if you have any ideas of sessions that we could deliver in the future to further benefit and develop CoSS Professional Services colleagues.


CoSS Champion - Dan Hayes

School of Education

Contact Dan at

More about Dan...

I currently manage the Research Office in the School of Education as well as working as an Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Programmes Team Leader. While managing a diverse Team of seven Professional Services staff with disparate portfolios of work, I work closely with the Director of Research and the Education Strategies Manager to ensure high quality service is provided. My background is in Research, having worked as a Research Associate in the School of Education for a number of years, after completing a Masters in Research in Political Science. I see the Birmingham Professional programme as an excellent way of meeting colleagues from different schools and widening my participation in university events. 


CoSS Champion - Guvinder Kaur Rajania

School of Government and Society

Contact Guvinder at

More about Guvinder...

Becoming a CoSS Professional Champion has given me the opportunity to not only work cross school and college but also to establish new links across the University.  Being a part of the team and working to deliver the events is a great way to develop and add to my events experience whilst also providing new experiences and learning which all add to my professional development.  I am also looking forward to working together with professional services staff to gather ideas and suggestions for what they would like and helping make that happen. 


CoSS Champion - Kelly Kealey

College Hub

Contact Kelly at

More about Kelly...

My current role is PA to the Director of Education and the Director of Research in CoSS. I hope to be able to bring event planning and organisational skills to my role as a Birmingham Professional champion for the College. I would like to be able to develop event marketing skills such as creating and maintaining social media accounts and creating event invitations.  I decided to be a champion because I think it is a good way to contribute to the professional services team and make suggestions for events which I think that they would find useful.

Kelly Kealy

CoSS Champion - Tara Sutton

School of Social Policy

Contact Tara at

More about Tara...

I joined CoSS Birmingham Professional Service Champion Team because I believe the group offers fantastic opportunities to get involved in the wider life of the University, whilst also allowing individuals to acquire valuable interpersonal skills. My previous career in teaching has allowed me to understand the importance of cross-curricular and collaborative working methods which inspired me to join CoSS Birmingham Professional group. Participating in event planning, organisation, management and promotion will undoubtedly provide me with interesting and varied opportunities to work alongside other support staff, academics and students which I feel is an incredibly important part of my professional development within the University. 


Event recaps and resources

After each Birmingham Professional event we will be producing reports that will provide a recap of the activity as well as sharing feedback and photography from the day. We will also make resources such as presentations available.

Birmingham Professional Event Recap: Mindfulness Series

Birmingham Professional Event Recap: Mindfulness Series
Led by Sharon Jones, this series of three one hour sessions provided participants with an introduction to mindfulness.

Birmingham Professional Event Recap: CoSS & CAL: Aston Webb Student Hub

Birmingham Professional Event Recap: CoSS & CAL: Aston Webb Student Hub
This CoSS Birmingham Professional Event in partnership with CAL provided staff members with an invaluable insight into the workings of the Student Hub. The Student Hub offers a wide range of facilities all under one roof including the Careers Network, Registry and student support services from Counselling to student conduct.

Birmingham Professional Event Recap: Planning Major Projects

Birmingham Professional Event Recap: Planning Major Projects
Zena Wooldridge, University Director of Sport, led this session about planning major projects using the example of the new Sports Centre.

Birmingham Professional Event Recap: Career Progression

Birmingham Professional Event Recap: Career Progression
Talks centred around career progression were delivered by from Paul Compton from POD, Sarah Egan (Operations Manager in CAL) and Emily Barrett (Learning and Teaching Manager, CoSS).

Birmingham Professional Event Recap: Stress Management and Relaxation

Birmingham Professional Event Recap: Stress Management and Relaxation
On 15 February, over 40 staff from the College of Social Sciences Professional Services attended a Relaxation & Stress Management session led by Jean Harris and Bernard Payn of the University's Wellbeing Team.

Birmingham Professional Event Recap: Mindfulness Series

Birmingham Professional Event Recap: Mindfulness Series
This series of four one hour lunchtime sessions provided an introduction to mindfulness. The group were guided through meditation by Dr David Mair, who explained about "monkey mind" and the basics of mindfulness.
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After each Birmingham Professional event we would really value your feedback and opinion and we will be asking you to complete a brief evaluation of the event. The feedback is used to help us plan future events and activities.

Since 2013 the rolling average for satisfaction for College Birmingham Professional events is 3.5/4.0 and it is only through your feedback that we’re able to continue to offer events which are interesting and relevant to the College’s professional services staff.