EventBooking > Event Details


Directors' Development Day

Date: 25th September 2020

Location: Online

Price:  Free

Bookings have now closed - please contact bookings@uhr.ac.uk for more information

Covid as a Catalyst for Change

Friday September 25th 2020

The Directors Development Day is a joint event held by UHR and BUFDG aimed at HR and Finance Directors.  We have a full day of insightful speakers to help us capitalise on the opportunities as well as the challenges of Covid-19.  


Welcome and logistics

Naomi Holloway - CPD Manager, UHR


Input session

Covid as a Catalyst for Change: Society?

The world has turned – what do we foresee/what can we build on?

The aim is a wide-ranging discussion around how Covid has affected the world – economic, cultural, lifestyles, outlook, business, interaction, society, world of work – very much looking outside higher education. How have people’s expectations of the world of work changed, how have people’s outlook on what is important changed – life balance, savings, holidays, family time, exercise. What has been the creativity and innovation that remote working, virtual environments, that lockdown has triggered? What are the global political shifts – BLM, centrist, liberal, expectation of governments? Which businesses have thrived, survived, gone under? What are consumers expectations – is there greater accountability of business etc. Some, or all, of these shifts will have an impact on HE staff and students.

 Chair: Karel Thomas


David D’Souza - Membership Director, CIPD

Matt Robb - Partner, EY Parthenon

Christopher Box - Partner, PWC 

Sam Gyimah - Parliamentary Private Secretary to David Cameron (2014-2018) and Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation (January to November 2018).


15 minute facilitated panel question session






Input session

Covid as a Catalyst for Change: Higher Education

The aim is  a discussion of how Covid has brought forward challenges for HE – student recruitment, socially distanced campuses, international students, student expectation, working arrangements for staff, need to drive out cost, a new model. Were these changes and challenges already there and have just been accelerated by Covid or are they completely new e.g a greater reliance on online/technical? Are they international i.e affecting all HE globally or does the UK have specific challenges? Are they affecting all businesses or unique to HE? How might HE unions react, what govt support might be available. 

Chair: Helen Scott


Sally Jeffery - Global Leader for Education, PWC

Jim Dickinson - WonkHE


10 minute facilitated panel question session






Input session

Covid as a Catalyst for Change: Me

The aim is to explore how the new ways of working have brought forward a new employee expectation, A requirement for a more skilled and managerial approach to work, the balance of control and autonomy. What are the expectations of the workforce in terms of how they will be led and managed – is this the same across all staff, is there a millennial, generation Y, Covid generation difference. How do leaders in HE need to develop and adapt their leadership to meet these expectations? What are the challenges of managing a more permanently remote workforce – how do you team build, build relationships, induct new staff, spot talent, encourage collaboration. What support might I need as a leader?

Chair: Karel Thomas



Susie Hills - CEO and Co Founder, Halpin Partnership

Katharine Henley - Partner,  PA Consulting

Sarah Jackson - Visiting Professor, Cranfield University, School of Management


10 minute facilitated panel question session


 1.10 - 2.00pm (approx)

Lunch break



Input session

Covid as a Catalyst for Change: What’s happening in institutions?

Finance Director, HR Director and Estates Director. What approach are their institutions taking to address the challenges that Covid has presented – what they have done, are planning to do. How are they communicating change to their workforce/students? What sort of reactions are they getting from staff/community etc. Plans to use the estate differently. Changes to contracts, terms and conditions, staff expectations or expectations of staff. What new ways are they looking at for income generation, filling the gap of international fees, creative use of assets

Chair: Helen Scott


Richard Billingham - Director of Human Resources & OD, Aston University

Umesh Desai - Director, Estates & Facilities Directorate, De Montfort University

Carol Prokopyszyn - Director of Finance, University of Dundee


10 minute facilitated panel question session



Launch of the Directors Debate Room

Break out rooms of 8-10 to discuss/reflect on input sessions

Naomi Holloway - CPD Manager, UHR


Summary, next steps and close


Directors Debate Room Series

Facilitated by BUFDG and UHR the Directors Debate Room Series offers a closed and safe space for FDs and HRDs to hear from  thought leaders and experts and then to engage with colleagues to consider topics and begin to develop a way forward for their own institution and the HE sector.





Bookings have now closed - please contact bookings@uhr.ac.uk for more information



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