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...

May 2018

Coaching and Mentoring

17 May, 12.00-13.00, University House, G06

Coaching and mentoring often are often confused and are very different skills.  James Mason from POD will be 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. 

Places are limited, so please be sure to book via eventrite below. For further information, please contact Tara Sutton or Tripp Martin.

Register for this event via eventbrite

June 2018

Understanding your strengths

19 June 12.00-13.00, University House, G06 

We are often asked both formally (interviews) and informally (on the job/in the workplace) about what our strengths are.  Do you have a good understanding of not only what you are good at but what energises you in the workplace?  You will be given an opportunity to take a strengths assessment prior to this session and Tripp Martin will facilitate an introduction to strengths, how you can utilise them more in the workplace, use your weaknesses less and how a better understanding of your strengths can help you potentially improve both performance on the job and in future interviews.

Places are limited, so should you wish to attend please be sure to book via eventrite below.  For further information please contact Tripp Martin or Andrew Howell.

Register for this event via eventbrite

International Relations- Who we are and how you can get involved

3 July 11.00-12.00, Muirhead Tower, 121

The session will help colleagues to understand International Relations (IR) and what they do, with talks from leads in key areas such as China, Brazil, India and North America. It will also be an opportunity to learn more about the International Strategic Framework and the Dubai project.

This session will be a chance to find out more about the importance of internationalisation and an opportunity to gain a greater understanding roles within the International team and how Professional Services staff can get involved in those types of role. There will also be an opportunity to learn about the ERASMUS funding program that Professional Services staff can get involved in and how to apply.

Places are limited, so should you wish to attend please be sure to book via eventrite below.  For further information please contact Kelly Kealey.

Register for this event via eventbrite

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 - Tripp Martin

Birmingham Business School

Contact Tripp at

More about Tripp...

Throughout my career both in the U.S. and UK, I have demonstrated a keen interest in and track record of supporting staff members’ learning and development in order to help them achieve their goals and feel happier and more engaged at work. I am always keen to share my experience in HR, Recruitment, Operations, and Leadership to help bring out the best in others and to further enhance my own performance, development, and personal wellbeing.

I work with a fantastic group of 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 take part, as well as increasing wellbeing and engagement.

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.

Tripp Martin

CoSS Champion - Adrian Leech

School of Education

Contact Adrian at

More about Adrian...

As a Birmingham Professional Champion I find myself working alongside enthusiastic and dynamic colleagues. I hope this experience will allow me to develop my own administrative and organisational skills whilst at the same time putting my knowledge and experience of working at the University over many years to good practical use.

My first post in Higher Education was as a Resource Assistant in the Regional RE Centre based at Westhill College (now the Selly Oak Campus). Starting in 1986, I remained at Westhill in various roles including; Centre Administrator, finance assistant, publication sales and programme administrator. I was involved in the introduction of the new student loan scheme and can remember issuing cheques to students on their arrival! Westhill College became part of the School of Education (SoE) in the 1999-2000 academic year and since that time I have worked mainly for the SoE although I have had spells working in the Academic Office, Central Timetabling and the Business School. Current and more recent roles in the SoE include; Extenuating Circumstances Officer (previously mitigations) Reasonable Adjustments Contact (RAC), responding to complaints and appeals, plagiarism and the joys of timetabling. My previous experience helps me immensely in my current post as Welfare Officer. 

Many Professional Services colleagues do not see personal or career development as being something applicable to them or something they aspire too, I hope to use my time on the team to change at least some of those opinions.

The Birmingham Professional programme is an excellent way of meeting colleagues from different schools within CoSS and from across the University.

Adrian Leech

CoSS Champion - Andy Howell

School of Government and Society

Contact Guvinder at

More about Andy...

After working as a filmmaker for a few years after graduating university, I began working at the University of Birmingham; first in the Medical School, then Education, and finally Government & Society, where I have risen to be Undergraduate (Deputy) Manager. My role already involves some events organisation in the Applicant Visit Days I manage, and as this is my favourite part of the job I jumped at the opportunity to become the COSS Champion for Government & Society.

Having attended COSS Birmingham Professional events previously and been impressed by their high standards, I look forward to being involved in helping to deliver similarly diverse and exciting events in the future. I am also looking forward to building more links with colleagues in different departments and colleges, which will allow me to be more efficient in both this role and my regular job.


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: Shaping our Future – What part will you play?

This Birmingham Professional workshop introduced by Lorraine Gaytten, Director of Operations for College of Social Science provided colleagues with an overview of the new areas of focus currently being led by the College's operations leads, based on the themes of education, research, resources, facilities, internationalisation and influence and engagement.

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.