Job Title: Distance Learning Hub Team Leader Job reference: SSC00602 College: College of Social Science Post Responsible To: Distance Learning Operations Manager Job Purpose: We are currently looking to recruit to a number of positions as a Distance Learning Team Leader to work within the School of Management or the College of Social Science Hub. You will co-lead a team of Distance Learning Support Officers, working within a Distance Learning Hub, to provide an excellent service to the distance learning students from initial enquiry through to graduation, across a range of programmes. You will understand the end to end student journey and using a Systems Thinking approach, measure the quality of the service we provide from the students’ perspective, placing as much emphasis on taking action to improve our service as you do on carrying out the day-to-day work. You will therefore be analytical in your role, with an innovative and creative approach to problem solving. You will lead by example to ensure your team also have this methodology at the heart of their activity. You will be able to demonstrate leadership, through a mixture of doing, leading and improving the work that is done. You will be responsible for effective planning of the teams’ work patterns, as well as ensuring your team are equipped with the behaviours and knowledge they need to ensure an effective service to students. You will be a confident and equitable influencer and negotiator. You will have gained experience within a comparable setting, or be able to demonstrate transferable skills, and will be able to demonstrate a good understanding of leadership and Distance Learning. You will have strong IT, analysis, written and verbal skills.
Understand the end-to-end flow of a distance learning student ‘journey’ from enquiry through to graduation, in order to identify and take action on causes of failure demand and waste within the processes that support that journey. Ensure that the team deals with student demand at the first point of contact, pulling in expertise if required but working to minimise hand-offs. Maintain a balance between ‘leading the work’, ‘improving the work’ and ‘doing the work’ as follows: Leading and improving the work of the Hub Supervise and first line manage a team of DL Student Support Officers to ensure that daily, weekly and monthly routines are planned and adhered to and that cover is maintained for the full end to end working at all times.
Ensure that the team is appropriately resourced and manage individual staff working hours and leave requests. Review and adjust workloads to ensure that peak times are anticipated and planned for and the balance between ‘doing the work’ and ‘improving the work’ is maintained. Work in close conjunction with the DL Operations Manager to ensure that action is taken on the system and that hub activity feeds into broader distance learning and records management developments. Represent the DL hub(s) at College and University level as and when required, including deputising for the DL Operations Manager if necessary. Ensure that your own and the team’s knowledge of a) the systems thinking method and b) the University’s regulatory framework is up-to-date and applied. In consultation with the DL Operations Manager, identify what measures need to be in place in order to evidence the impact of change and ensure they are in line with purpose. Design methods for capturing the relevant data and ensure that the team routinely gathers data for analysis and understands the importance of this. Take a lead role in analysing, interpreting and presenting data, and communicating the results of that analysis to a range of stakeholders. Proactively identify causes of waste and failure demand within the system, and act to remove it. Routinely review the processes of the student lifecycle to ensure fitness for purpose, in line with the principles of clean flow and the removal of waste. Identify where it is necessary to pull in support or expertise to remove systems conditions. Work collaboratively with counterparts in the other DL hubs to ensure consistency of approach and end to end working, sharing of knowledge and pooling of resources. Use flexibility to identify and apply appropriate parts of the systems thinking method pragmatically according to situation, and guide and support the team to do the same. Contribute to the development of the change programme across the University, and distance learning in particular, by being an active participant in the Systems Thinking Network and other similar forums. Provide knowledge and experience of DL student-facing processes to support University-wide records management development.
Providing a direct one-stop service to students Work alongside the DL Student Support Officers to provide a one stop service to students across the end-to-end student journey. Ensure that programmes and modules are correctly set up and maintained in the student record system (SITS) and that students are correctly attached to programmes, including engagement with University curriculum planning cycles. Be a source of expertise for the team on SITS structure and processes. Ensure that course literature, including promotional materials and handbooks, is accurate and accessible in a range of appropriate formats.
Ensure the team are suitably trained in admissions criteria, processes and understanding and be a source of expertise for offer making. In conjunction with academic departments/Schools, make sure that accurate and timely data is provided in order manage student progression activities, including Mitigating Circumstances Panels, Panels of Examiners and Boards of Examiners. Ensure student fee payments are correctly assigned, that the debt reminder process is imbedded and the team take appropriate action at the relevant time in line with senate regulations regarding fees. Making full use of SAP for monitoring student fees and aligning with the student record system. Resources Managed: The School of Management The DL Hub in the School of Management is responsible for a portfolio of Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes, namely: MSc Finance MSc Marketing MSc Management Master of Business Administration (MBA) CPD Modules BSc Human Resource Management MSc Human Resource Management (and variants) The team handles up to 10,000 enquiries and 1600 applications a year and provides a first point of contact service to approximately 3800 registered students. The DL Student Support Officers work across this portfolio and carry out all of the administrative activities associated with the end-to-end student journey, under the day-to-day supervision of the DL Hub Team Leader. The team is managed overall by the Distance Learning Operations Manager. College of Social Science The DL Hub in the College of Social Science is responsible for a portfolio of 27 programmes offered across 5 academic departments / Schools, namely
The Department of Criminology School of Education Department of Politics Department of Media and Communications The Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning
The team provides a first point of contact service to approximately 2500 registered students. The DL Student Support Officers work across this portfolio and carry out all of the administrative activities associated with the end-to-end student journey, under the day-to-day supervision of the DL Hub Team Leader. The team is managed overall by the College Distance Learning Operations Manager. Internal and External Relationships: Provision of a first point of contact service to distance learning enquirers, applicants and
students across the relevant subject areas First line manager to the DL Student Support Officers Line managed by the College Distance Learning Operations Manager Academic staff responsible for the delivery of the programmes, including on-campus faculty and off-campus Associate Tutors Professional services staff within the Schools/Departments the hub works with Professional services staff in the Corporate Services, in particular the Registry Account Managers Professional services staff in the other DL Hubs Collaborative partners / external accrediting bodies Agents
Planning and Organising: Ensuring that the team’s daily, weekly and monthly task lists are clearly defined, understood and carried out and that cover is in place if team members are absent. Holding regular team meetings, focussing on day-to-day operations and longer-term service improvements. Ensuring that course timetables and associated deadlines are defined at least a year in advance in order that accurate information can be given to prospective students. Ensuring that a regular cycle is in place for setting key dates and deadlines. Ensuring that programme diets are set up in an accurate and timely fashion. Supporting the DL Operations Manager in preparing for the launch of new programmes and/or the incorporation of existing programmes/departments/staff members into the hub.
Qualifications, Knowledge and Experience: Essential
Good honours degree or equivalent. Or A broad range of experience, acquired through a combination of job-related vocational training and considerable on-the-job experience, demonstrating development through involvement in a series of progressively more demanding relevant work/roles. Experience of delivering customer service and improving systems and processes for the demonstrable benefit of customers. Desirable
Experience of working with the Vanguard method of systems thinking, or comparable change management experience. Knowledge of student lifecycle administration and the
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business processes underpinning this, preferably gained through work experience in Higher Education. Experience of supervising teams to deliver organisational goals. Skills, Abilities and Competencies: Essential
The ability to view systems and processes from a student’s perspective at all times, to drive forward change in order to deliver what matters to students A ‘constructively unreasonable’ outlook and a readiness to challenge the status quo if it is not in the best interests of students. The ability to interpret and present data and use it as a basis for making decisions about service improvements. An innovative and creative approach to problem solving and the ability to take a solution-focussed approach at all times. The ability to work with minimal supervision and to make appropriate judgements about when to call upon management support. A flexible and adaptable approach to work and the ability to plan and organise own and others’ work activities. A hands-on approach to team leadership and a willingness to be ‘in the work’ The ability to understand the importance of academic administration and records management and to understand, explain and apply regulations and policies. Excellent IT skills, including advanced spreadsheet skills, presentation software, web-based software and experience of data reporting tools and complex databases. Excellent written and oral communication skills, with the ability to give and receive information effectively using a variety of methods and across a wide range of stakeholders. Excellent networking skills, and a readiness to take a collaborative approach to service improvement and problem-solving. An ability to give constructive feedback to team members, acknowledging strengths and identifying areas for further development. A commitment to your own continuing professional development and that of the team.
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A willingness to undertake occasional evening/weekend work. A willingness to undertake occasional travel, in the UK and abroad if necessary.