The UK higher education sector has a large number of bodies which bring together communities of expertise and good practice for the broader benefit of the sector.
These bodies can seem like an impenetrable mass of acronyms so I have put together a list that summarises them.
This list includes bodies that provide some kind of network or membership for functions that often fall under the banner “professional services”. It does not include bodies or networks that operate in a particular academic subject or discipline. The best list I can find for those bodies is published by HESA as a part of the UNISTATS record.
If I’ve got anything wrong, or missed one, please let me know.
Membership body for Academic Registrars whose roles typically include
registry functions and/or academic quality. The title Academic Registrar is
less widely used now with the group containing a variety of titles around
registry services and academic quality.
ARC has an extensive list of practitioner groups specialising in particular domains or geographies including admissions, assessment, quality assurance and the annual Student Records Officers Conference (SROC).
ARC is supported by a small team based in Manchester.
Promoting and advancing best value and practice within the education print and creative environment.
Membership body for careers advisors working in HE institutions.
Organisational support is based in Sheffield.
Membership body for heads of professional services and administrative
functions. These people often have titles like Registrar, Chief Operating
Officer or Secretary. Also sometimes known as Deputy Vice-chancellor. They
usually have overview of all professional services for an institution.
AHUA is supported by a small team based in Manchester.
AISA is a professional sub-group of UKCISA for those working in international student advice.
Professionals working in the field of learning development in the UK
Group with a broad membership including practitioners, researchers and
policy makers with an interest in learning technology.
Membership body for anyone with managerial responsibility in a UK HEI.
Membership body for student services leaders. Organisation support is based in London.
Membership body for research managers and administrators throughout the UK. organisation support is based in Edinburgh.
Student accommodation professionals working in UK HE.
Association for professionals, academic and administrative, who are involved in European issues.
The professional association for any and all professional services staff. AUA has events and conferences, consultancy, postgraduate qualifications and other CPD offerings. Organisation support is based in Manchester.
Membership body for estates and facilities leaders, usually called Director of Estates. Organisational support is provided by Professional HE Services Ltd.
Association for security professionals working in higher and further education.
Legal practitioners working in HE.
Professional association for those involved in the management and delivery of counselling services in further and higher education.
Membership body for the chief financial officers, usually called Finance Director. Organisational support is provided by Professional HE Services Ltd.
Professionals working in the international student market.
Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals – Academic and research libraries group (CILIP_ARLG)
Sub-group of the broader CILIP group, focused on academic and research library professionals.
Professionals working in the development of campus life and the student experience.
Chairs of governing bodies.
Global association for professionals in advancement (alumni relations, communications, development, marketing, and advancement services) with a strong UK presence.
Professional association for HE leaders in arts, media and design education and research.
Membership body for internal auditors working in HE institutions. Organisational support is provided by Professional HE Services Ltd.
Specialising in good practice and standards for validation partnerships (often known as ‘collaborative provision’).
Events professionals in education.
A member association supporting Universities and Colleges across the UK and Ireland to address environmental issues both operationally, as businesses, and within the curriculum.
Forum for the exchange and dissemination of information and practices in lifelong learning and widening participation to higher education.
Heads of educational development in UK higher education.
A network of senior staff engaged in promoting, supporting and developing technology enhanced learning (TEL).
A special interest group of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Professional association for staff who provide guidance, information and outreach activities to prospective higher education students, their families and guidance advisers throughout the UK.
Membership network of institutions sharing and promoting good practice in Business Continuity Management (BCM), risk management and emergency planning.
A network of practitioners and enthusiasts working to support learning and teaching practice and inform management decision making at all levels.
HEPA is the network for procurement professionals in the HE sector.
Membership body for heads of planning. Titles are usually something like Director of Planning and roles usually (though not always) include strategic planning, statutory returns and regulatory issues. Organisational support is provided by Professional HE Services Ltd.
See also the Russell Group Planning Directors group, the Scottish Planners Forum, and the London Planners Network.
Immigration compliance professionals working in HE.
Policy advisers working in HE.
Library and information services within the M25 region and more widely across the East and Southeast.
The professional association for disability and inclusivity practitioners in the further and higher education sector.
Membership body for those working in student advice and funding.
Community of those involved in designing, implementing and sustaining Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) interventions across higher education institutions.
A forum for HE practitioners with an interest in the design, implementation and regulation of credit based curriculum in northern and central England and Northern Ireland.
Special interest group for HE professionals managing PCI DSS compliant card payment services.
Professional association for Knowledge Exchange practitioners
Professional services staff working in UK Business Schools
Public engagement professionals across the UK working in higher education and research.
Membership organisation for staff with responsibility for quality strategy and management within UK higher education.
Consortium of the main research libraries in the UK and Ireland.
UK-based international learned society concerned to advance understanding of higher education.
(This is not really a professional services community but probably has relevance on this list.)
Membership body for leaders of library services, including universities, national libraries and collections of national significance. Organisation support is based in London.
A consortium of universities and HE providers working together to advance the use and practice of academic credit, widening access to learning.
The Spinnaker Group brings together colleagues who lead on ‘Student Experience’ and ‘Teaching and Learning’.
For staff and organisation development professionals in Higher Education.
The professional association for staff and educational developers.
An association of Managers employed in Higher Education to have responsibility for the strategic direction of a range of media services.
Networking and resources for staff who inspire students to local, national and global voluntary action.
Community of practice for sustainability issues.
An informal voluntary association of technical managers and supervisors working within engineering, technology & science to support a wide range of disciplines in universities throughout the United Kingdom.
Professional membership body for in-house caterers operating in the higher, further education and public sector.
Body of professional practitioners and researchers interested in all aspects of student advising and personal tutoring in higher education in the UK.
Membership organisation supporting international students and all who work with them.
UALL champions the broader definition of lifelong engagement with universities through part-time flexible provision offering personal, community and vocational development.
Membership body for IT staff in the sector. UCISA has an extensive list of sub-groups specialising in particular domains or geographies.
UCISA is a registered charity with staff based at Harwell.
See also the Russell Universities Group of IT Directors (RUGIT)
Membership body for HR leaders. Organisational support is provided by Professional HE Services Ltd.
Directors of marketing and recruitment working in UK higher education.
Network focused on increasing the public policy impact from University research.
Membership body for health and safety professionals. Organisation support is based in Eastbourne.
The organisation for Laboratory Superintendents and Managers in university biological, biochemical and life science departments.
UHMLG is the representative group for university health and medical librarians in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
Membership network for processionals working in HE and FE on technical and professional higher level learning, including higher and degree apprenticeships.
Work-based and placement learning professionals working in HE. The groups acronym is a historical artefact.