Ideas abound at the ucisa20 Leadership Conference

Sally Bogg, ucisa20 conference chair, on what’s in store at this year’s event

The HE and FE Sectors continue to operate in what is undoubtedly one of the most challenging periods of sustained change in their histories. As a result, the need to seek out best practice from both within and outside our sector to ensure we have the agility and creativity needed to meet the challenges our institutions face has never been greater.

Building on the success of ucisa 2019, we are therefore pleased to announce that the theme for ucisa 2020 will be ‘Inside Out, Outside In’ – focusing on inspiring and enabling outstanding leadership in IT. The conference will explore best practice themes from the Inside Out, looking at sector exemplars to provide guidance and inspiration by investigating how best to develop and support our existing workforce to improve capacity, effectiveness and deliver an excellent student experience.

The breadth and depth of ideas and knowledge exchanged regularly on the full range of ucisa mail-lists demonstrates that the potential for powerful face-to-face conversations is real

The Outside In conference strand will seek out best practice from organisations and exemplars from outside the sector, focusing on how the technological innovations and strategic and operational models identified can be effective within an educational context, opening our minds to new ideas and opportunities.

There will also be a range of university showcases providing real-life examples of best practice from within higher education. This year we will be bringing the Student Voice to our Leadership Conference with a number of short sessions from students, demonstrating first-hand the transformational impact of higher education. Following their debut in 2019, the roundtable sessions are scheduled to return at ucisa20. The intention is to provide several facilitated small group discussions on a range of topics.

Knowledge exchange

The breadth and depth of ideas and knowledge exchanged regularly on the full range of ucisa mail-lists demonstrates that the potential for powerful face-to-face conversations is real. MS Teams deployment; legalities of UK-EU personal data export; multi-factor authentication; central vs local IT – these are just some of the topics that have been discussed at length over the last few months within our community.

The roundtables will give delegates the opportunity to explore some of these hot topics in greater detail, all while facilitating networking and knowledge sharing. We will again be hosting the largest supplier exhibition for our sector, building in greater levels of interactivity and more opportunities to get to know some of the exhibitors and suppliers.

Perhaps most importantly, our Leadership Conference will continue to provide the best possible opportunity for peer-to-peer interaction, conversation and inspiration with expanded and improved opportunities for networking with colleagues We encourage CIOs and IT directors to bring their senior teams along to explore how they might do things differently in a rapidly changing digital world, and how they can support and develop the workforce of the future.

This year’s Leadership Conference is returning to Manchester Central, an award-winning venue in the heart of one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. Manchester as a city has it all; an intoxicating mix of old and new, amazing architecture and culturally diverse quarters like Chinatown, the Gay village and the Curry mile. This once industrial metropolis has transformed itself into England’s edgy northern capital. We look forward to seeing you there.

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