This page will tell you about the SaHOOTS project’s activities.

To view the project outcomes see SaHOOTS Resources.

SaHOOTS – Students at the Heart Of Our and Their System

The SDF ran a series of 3 free mini conferences to explore how Staff Development/HR and OD can best support the Student Experience in HE.  This is a major topic on the staff development agenda: how does the Staff and OD Community help develop exemplary practice amongst University staff in delivering  holistic, joined up and consistently excellent professional services to students.


The student experience has become a key priority for HE staff, and developers are increasingly being asked to provide a wide range of support to different groups.  The concept of ‘service ethos’ in HE is moving beyond provision of ‘Customer Skills‘ training to consideration of cultural change, structural adjustment, incentivisation and other developments to bring about systemic attitudinal and behavioural change within HEIs. Against this backdrop SDF commissioned a sector wide project with the following aims:

  • To review current good practice in staff and organisation development in HEIs aimed at supporting the student experience and compile an inventory of good practice;
  • To identify any current gaps in development support in the sector and consider ways to fill these
  • To gather and share examples of best practice and case study materials
  • To explore ways in which Organisation Development philosophy, thinking  and practice can be utilised to develop a holistic approach to enhancing the student experience
  • To inform the SDF and wider HE community regarding the issues and equip the community with the relevant tools to advance the student agenda in their HEIs
  • To produce a good practice resource guide for the sector on supporting the student experience through staff and organisational development approaches
  • To disseminate the project findings and outcomes to our affiliates and networks

SDF SaHOOTS Project Team

The Project Team included the following people:

  • Matt Levi, HE Consultant, Matt Levi Development and SaHOOTS project facilitator
  • Meriel Box, Head of Staff Development at Liverpool John Moores University
  • Jill Lees, HR Manager – Development at the University of Hertfordshire
  • Sally Wilson, HE Consultant, Sally Wilson Associates
  • Pam Fitzsimmons, Learning and Development Manager, University of the West of England
  • Paul Dixon, SDF Chair and Head of Training and Development Unit, University of Manchester University

As part of the Project a series of 3 mini-conferences were scheduled for January 2013 to share experience, exchange ideas, discuss good practice and develop a UK SDF strategy for taking the issues forward. The events were aimed at HE colleagues in OD and Staff Development roles.

Colleagues were invited to attend whichever session was most convenient for them and sessions were not limited to any regional networks or organisation – the timings were intended to enable wide participation and ease of travel

Venues and dates

The events took place at :

University of Hertfordshire on 17th January 2013 – Up to 35 Places
SaHOOTS Hertfordshire Programme

University of West of England on the 24th January 2013 – Up to 25 Places
SaHOOTS UWE Programme

University of Manchester – 29th of January 2013 – Up to 25 Places
SaHOOTS Manchester Programme

Additional activity

In advance of the sessions suggestions, information, tools and case study materials were gathered. Use of JISCmail allowed discussion and a free exchange of ideas/materials. Selected content from these discussions has been placed on our SaHOOTS Resources page.


The SDF is generously sponsored by our colleagues at the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.