Graduation and Ceremonial Events Assistant

Job Purpose
Work as part of the Graduation and Ceremonial Events Team to provide comprehensive administrative support for the effective delivery of ceremonial events, graduations and certification.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Act as first point of contact for all enquires relating to ceremonial events, graduations and certification; in person and via email, Service Manager and telephone, seeking to resolve issues where appropriate.
  • As a member of the Graduations and Ceremonial Team take a leading role in co-ordinating activities on graduation days and undertake a range of activities. Manage on-site elements including troubleshooting issues as and when they arise whilst ensuring the University’s reputation and profile is properly maintained throughout. Manage difficult or disruptive situations whilst identifying potential clashes. Alleviate as many unforeseen issues by conducting pre-event risk assessments and by carrying out routine checks throughout. Some of these issues may arise out with normal working hours
  • Proactively support the University’s process for the conferment of Honorary degrees and other awards, from nominations through to graduation to ensure awards are conferred on distinguished persons effectively and in accordance with the University’s strategic priorities; also providing an excellent standard of service in the personal arrangements for award recipients and their guests. Manage all on-site arrangements for the Honorary Degrees and troubleshoot where necessary.
  • Take a leading role in co-ordinating arrangements for the University’s annual Commemoration Day, Remembrance Sunday and Annual Cathedral Service to ensure the success of this ceremonial event. Conduct briefings with all service providers on the ceremonial events and communicate relevant feedback to ensure continuous improvement in terms of the quality of service provision.
  • Proactively support graduation preparations by assisting with a range of activities including:-
    • Checking graduation data, lists and degree parchments and follow up on queries to take corrective action where required.
    • Allocation of guest tickets
    • Co-ordination of requests for disabled parking spaces on graduation days
    • Production of parchments and Higher Education Achievement Reports (HEARS).
    • Dispatch of degree parchments awarded ‘in absentia’.
    • Maintaining stock levels of parchments and parchment tubes
    • Support for award ceremonies outside the UK held as part of the University’s transnational education provision.
  • Establish and develop policies and procedures for all Ceremonial Events conducting an annual review, liaising with key stakeholders to develop a broader understanding of the University and strategies. Manage difficult and disruptive situations, responding to unforeseen issues and seek resolution where possible for all Ceremonial Events.
  • Maintain ceremonies and graduation record systems and process graduation data using MyCampus and Raisers Edge.
  • Support the planning and production of graduation timetables, working closely with the Graduations and Ceremonies Manager.
  • Assist with the administration of arrangements for the triennial Election of the University’s Rector to ensure that election arrangements are efficient, effective and procedurally correct.
  • Manage all aspects of general administration relevant to the Ceremonial events including financial, GDPR, FOI, Health and Safety. Establishing procedures for all these areas ensuring annual review and development to fulfil current legislation.
  • To deputise for the Graduations and Ceremonies Manger as required and provide assistance with the general administrative support contributing to the smooth operation and management of the Office.
  • Co-ordinate arrangements for meetings of Honorary Degrees Committee to ensure effective support for the committee clerk and committee members.
  • Administer arrangements for Senate Guest Night Dinners ensuring effective organisation and successful delivery of these events.
  • Knowledge, Qualifications, Skills and Experience

    A1 Either: Ability to demonstrate the competencies required to undertake the duties associated with this level of post having acquired the necessary knowledge and skills in a similar role. Or: Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework level 7 (Advanced Higher / Scottish Vocational Qualification level 3, Higher National Certificate) or equivalent, and experience of personal development in a similar role.
    A2 Knowledge of large-scale database to process data, for example MyCampus or Raisers Edge.
    A3 Knowledge and understanding of complex events and a proven grasp of the principles of key stake holder engagement.
    A4 Knowledge of working in complex organisations.
    A5 Good working knowledge of GDPR, Freedom of Information legislation and Health and Safety Legislation.


    C1 Excellent organisational skills, including ability to work with key stakeholders over multiple events with changing parameters.
    C2 Excellent interpersonal and communication (oral and written) skills – in particular, the ability to communicate comfortably with colleagues at all levels.
    C3 High degree of responsibility and personal initiative, and ability to work with minimal supervision.
    C4 Ability to work collaboratively as part of a wider team and independently, fostering and maintaining good working relationships.
    C5 Ability to work under pressure, to manage competing priorities and meet strict deadlines.
    C6 Excellent IT skills with experience in using all of the following: word processing; databases; spreadsheets; Web; and e-mail.
    C7 A positive and enthusiastic approach to work.
    C8 Ability to motivate and supervise staff and work as part of a team.
    C9 High level of accuracy and good attention to detail.
    C10 Tact, diplomacy and assertiveness.
    C11 Excellent problem solving skills.


    E1 Relevant administrative or secretarial experience at a broadly comparable level, working in a complex organisation.
    E2 Experience of using discretion and initiative to ensure services meet agreed standards, guidelines and procedures to meet the needs of Key stakeholders.
    E3 Experience of planning complex events and problem solving.

    F1 Experience of organising high profile events.
    F2 Experience of working in a Higher Education environment.

    Job Features
    The post holder will contribute to the delivery of over 29 UK based and overseas awards ceremonies annually, at which awards are conferred on over 8500 students and direct issue of over 1000 certificates and diplomas. Work will include a wide range of administrative support, handling hundreds of enquiries annually from stakeholders, particularly students, parents and University Staff and playing active front of house organisational role on the das of ceremonial events working between different locations on Campus on a daily basis.

    Honorary Awards:
    Honorary Degrees (c 18-23 awarded per annum at various event including Commemoration Day, University Graduations)
    Honorary Fellowship (c 2 awarded per annum)
    Co-ordinate arrangements for the Honorary Graduands, including personal arrangements for recipients of Honorary awards and their guests
    Commemoration day annual high profile University event with c400 guests including attendance by VIPs and City dignitaries. Co-ordinate arrangements for the Honorary Graduands, and invited guests. Assist with the arrangements for the Afternoon Tea, Honorary Graduands Dinner, Chapel Service and Graduation Ceremony in Bute Hall.
    Cathedral Service: Assist with preparation of academic procession.
    Remembrance Service (Joint event with Strathclyde University held in University Chapel/Bute Hall on Remembrance Sunday). including liaison with University Chaplains, Military Education Committee, OTC, Chancellor, Principal’s Office and Strathclyde University senior management.
    Academic Processions (15 Summer Graduations; 10 Winter Graduations – c300 graduands plus guests at each ceremony; Remembrance Sunday; Cathedral Service). Assist with preparation of academic processions and the online gown ordering system.
    Responsible for raising invoices for deposits, interim and final payments then monitoring payment dates
    Responsible for pursuing outstanding payments and recording/receipting invoices
    Responsible for processing supplier invoices timeously to ensure that monthly
    Election of University Rector (Triennial event at which all registered students are eligible to vote). Assist with the co-ordination of the nominations, election and result for the Rector.
    Support for Senate Committees: Honorary Degrees Committee, Military Education Committee (2, and 3 meetings per session respectively).
    Duties include sending out calls for papers, preparing, collating and distributing agenda and papers, including confidential nomination material, for each meeting; preparing a list of apologies; after each meeting prepare the Minutes and reports for Senate and other committees; liaison with the Clerk on the approval of Minutes, plus all other duties associated with dealing with a major committee of the University.
    Senate Guest Night Dinner: 2 dinners per annum circa 80 guests at each event. Co-ordinate the arrangements for the invitations and dinner.

    Planning and Organising
    • Plan and organise own workload, responding to changing circumstances and requirements as appropriate.
    • Manage multiple responsibilities at any one time
    • Anticipate and therefore respond appropriately to peak event times throughout the year (this also involves ensuring service partners have planned resources appropriately)
    • Constructing detailed event timelines by setting and communicating key dates to customers and suppliers, monitoring the progress of tasks in the lead up to these key dates and chasing customers and/or service providers to ensure the smooth delivery of each event
    • Plan and lead arrangements for GDPR, FOI, Health and Safety for Ceremonial events.
    • Respond to changing issues of priorities.
    • Use appropriate working tools to assist with planning and organisation.

    Decision Making
    • Use initiative and judgement to take independent action on the ceremonial events and report back on the action taken and establish and develop a reporting system.
    • Judge when to pass on specialised queries within areas of responsibility to other staff and senior colleagues.
    • Make decisions on most appropriate rooms to book.
    • Prioritise own workload.
    Internal/External Relationships
    • To communicate with individuals both within and outwith the University including members of Senior Management, Heads of School, Registry and Senate Office colleagues and College staff, students and members of external organisations (e.g. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Cathedral).
    • Liaise effectively by email, phone and in person with members of Senior Management Group (SMG), Schools, Research Institutes and University Services (US).

    Problem Solving
    • Act as first point of contact for all queries relating to ceremonial events and proactively deal with enquiries in these areas. Providing information, advice and guidance to key stakeholders as necessary.
    • React to incoming enquires relating to Graduations and Certification, responding to and/or progressing enquiries appropriately.
    • Using knowledge of University facilities and services to advise on the most appropriate format for their events to ensure not only the best fit for all parties but also compliance with policies and legislation
    • To proactively seek advice from the relevant source in order to respond to complex queries.
    • Monitor operational processes within own remit, identify issues and apply initiative in proposing solutions or means for continuous improvement of service.

    • Handle a significant volume of sensitive and confidential data discretely.
    • Provide an excellent customer focused approach to service deliver.
    • There is a requirement to work flexibly in order to support award ceremonies effectively during June and early July, and from Mid November to early December. This may include varying normal work patterns and restrictions on the taking of annual leave during these periods.
    • There may be a requirement for international travel in order to support award ceremonies held outside the UK.

    Terms & Conditions
    Salary will be on the Management, Professional and Administrative Grade, level 5, £22,847 – £27,116 per annum.

    This post is offered on a full time (35 hours) and fixed-term, 12 month basis.

    The University would consider a secondment opportunity for this post. University of Glasgow applicants should seek clearance for release for secondment from their line manager before making a formal application.

    New entrants to the University will be required to serve a probationary period of 6 months.

    The successful candidate will be eligible to join the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) Pension Scheme.

    It is the University of Glasgow’s mission to foster an inclusive climate, which ensures equality in our working, learning, research and teaching environment.

    We strongly endorse the principles of Athena SWAN, including a supportive and flexible working environment, with commitment from all levels of the organisation in promoting gender equity.

    The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401.

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