Download UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX COUNCIL 20 May 2013

Survey
yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Transcript
UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX
COUNCIL
20 May 2013
(2pm – 4.30pm)
APPROVED MINUTES
Chair
David Currie
Present
Mr Nathan Bolton, Mr David Boyle, Professor Joan Busfield, Professor Eamonn Carrabine, Dr Pam
Cox, Mrs Celia Edey, Professor Maria Fasli, Professor Anthony Forster (Vice-Chancellor), Mrs Victoria
Galeotti, Dr Elizabeth Hall, Sir Deian Hopkin, Ms Judith Judd, Professor Jules Pretty, Dr Alison
Rowlands, Mr Philip Tolhurst, Dr Lisa Wade, Dr Marion Wood
Apologies
Mr Nitin Dahad, Mr Paul Gray, Dr Laura Mansel-Thomas, Dr Andrew Phillipps, Ms Maria Stanford
Secretary
Mr Bryn Morris (Registrar and Secretary)
In
attendance
Mr Andrew Keeble (Director of Finance), Mr Simon Neale (Director of Estate Management) for item
C/13/20, Ms Vanessa Potter, Professor David Sanders, Professor Nigel South, Dr Sonia Virdee,
Professor Jane Wright
UNRESERVED BUSINESS
CORRESPONDENCE AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Reported
The Chair noted the completion of term of office of Mr Nathan Bolton (Students’ Union,
President) and Mrs Victoria Galeotti (non-academic elected member). The Chair
expressed his gratitude for their contribution and service to the University. Council
members joined the Chair in thanking Mrs Galeotti and Mr Bolton and wishing them well
for the future.
74/13
Council noted, with regret, the death of former Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council Sir
Terence Beckett.
75/13
STARRING OF AGENDA ITEMS
Noted
That no additional agenda items were starred for discussion.
76/13
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
Noted
No one present declared an interest in any item on the agenda.
77/13
MINUTES (C/13/15)
Approved
The minutes of the meeting held on 25 February 2013.
78/13
MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES
Noted
It was noted that Dr Elizabeth Hall had been omitted from the list of attendees for the last
meeting and one previous to that. There were no further matters arising from the minutes
of the meeting held on 25 February 2013 that were not covered elsewhere on the agenda.
3
79/13
CHAIR’S ACTION SINCE THE LAST MEETING (C/13/16)
Noted
80/13
VICE-CHANCELLOR’S REPORT (C/13/17)
Reported
The Chair welcomed the full and informative Vice-Chancellor’s report.
81/13
Following a thorough and inclusive selection process, the University had recruited three
Executive Deans of Faculty; two internal, Prof Todd Landman from the Department of
Government and Prof Graham Underwood from the Department of Biological Sciences,
and one external, Prof Lorna Fox O’Mahony from the Durham Law school,. All will
commence in their new roles on or close to 1st August 2013.
82/13
A revised Pay and Reward Strategy was in development and initial principles had been
discussed at USG and SRC. Further work was underway and the Strategy would come to
Council for final approval in due course.
83/13
The poet and playwright Derek Walcott had visited the University and staged the inaugural
performance of his new play at the Lakeside Theatre. Council thanked and congratulated
Barbara Pearson from LiFTS who had stepped in to direct the play at very short notice,
making the performance the success it was.
84/13
Council congratulated the Students Union for a range of impressive achievements
showcased at a recent event celebrating the excellent work of student volunteers, sports
clubs and societies.
85/13
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor updated Council on the admissions position. There had been
18100 undergraduate applications, the highest number to date, with 200 more students
making Essex a firm choice than last year. Work was continuing on maximising the
conversion of applications into offers and acceptances. PGT applications were level with
last year, PGR were 9% up. A range of internal and external factors contributed to
considerable variation in applications across departments.
86/13
A number of new initiatives had been introduced. Degree Experience Days had been
trialled in Maths and Biological Sciences and had been very successful. Masters
Excellence Scholarships offering a 33% fee discount for Essex applicants with a first class
degree had been launched to encourage our own students to stay on, sending the
message that the University was seeking to recruit and retain the best qualified students.
87/13
UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX DRAFT STRATEGIC PLAN (C/13/18)
Noted
There had been various opportunities for stakeholders to respond to the consultation on
the draft Strategic Plan. The Plan had been revised reflecting comments relating to the
culture and values of the University and its multi campus distribution, refinements had
been made to the language used, and work had been done to make the KPIs as specific
and as helpful as possible in articulating the University’s aims and aspirations. For
example in articulating what was meant by a top 10 performance in Research the KPIs
now tensioned research quality against the quantity of staff submitted ('research power').
88/13
Council commented on the 50% increase in student numbers and whether this was
unrealistic and unachievable. It was noted that the University had doubled its numbers
over the last 12 years and growth plans would target a range of sources including online,
overseas, existing disciplines, new areas, and postgraduate numbers. The growth
aspiration signalled the intent to grow and innovate in the competitive HE market and was
a response to the University’s current size and vulnerability, as one of the smallest multifaculty universities, to exogenous shocks and policy changes.
89/13
4
In the less regulated student numbers market the University no longer needed to bid for
student numbers, and had a greater ability to determine its size and shape, depending on
what the market would bear. The intensification of competition e.g. for AAB and ABB
students meant growth could be more difficult to achieve in the future. Nevertheless,
Council considered expansion as important and supported an aspirational target.
Consideration could be given to the wording to reflect ambition tempered with uncertainty.
Expansion in student numbers would carry with it investment in staff, management of
student-staff ratios and consideration of student expectations.
90/13
The translation of aspirations into actions that support delivery of the Strategic Plan and
the incentivisation and reward for successful delivery were considered critical. The
translation of strategy into action would be underpinned in a range of ways; through the
new leadership structure which would place the student experience at the heart of
strategic thinking; through revised decision making structures; through Executive Deans’
management of research, performance and budgets; through redesign of the financial
model to incentivise the right behaviours; and by addressing performance through a tariff
of expectations, probation, performance review and promotions. It would be incumbent on
Council to monitor performance.
91/13
Other points of discussion were:
Resolved
Whether the commitment to improving the student experience and, in particular,
improving teaching could be more explicit. The Strategic Plan emphasised the
importance of appropriate mechanisms to ensure delivery of excellence in
education. These include a detailed Education Strategy, policies, promotions
criteria and action plans, reflecting the headline concerns of employability and
opportunity in addition to teaching.
92/13
A quote from Albert Sloman referencing 'change' had been added in order to
temper a concern that the Plan could be seen as backward looking, however care
was needed to avoid conveying a negative message regarding previous appetite
for change.
93/13
The student voice was mentioned and it was noted that the Plan should also make
clearer reference to staff leadership and engagement with students.
94/13
The Strategic Plan makes reference to the SU’s role in providing opportunities,
however its primary function is representation and this should be mentioned
explicitly in relation to the student voice.
95/13
The KPI for research excellence (KPI2) which referred to a top 10% position for
all subjects was a challenging, positive aspiration but may not be achievable for
all, in particular the sciences. The target would not be used to bear down
departments, rather to anticipate investment requirements and a financial strategy
to meet resource needs. Council was assured there was no discussion about
closing departments. A cross- institutional target was considered as having value
in conveying a common understanding regarding the level of ambition.
96/13
The current proportion of staff with an accredited teaching qualification (KPI 18)
was one of the lowest among research intensive universities (at 9%) and a target
of 40% was under discussion, reflecting the importance placed on the student
experience and the quality of teaching. New probationary procedures would
ensure all new staff attain accreditation, however there was a concern that
established researchers may view the requirement as unreasonable. The
qualification was not arduous and could be achieved through an evidence based
Essex framework.
97/13
There was general support for the Strategic Plan and the level of aspiration it represented,
which was transformational. The Plan would be further revised to reflect the full discussion
at Council and come back in July for final approval
5
98/13
DEVELOPING A ‘CHALLENGER’ LIGHTHOUSE IDENTITY (C/13/19)
Reported
Resolved
The work of the management consultants engaged by the University, Eat Big Fish, related
to the Strategic Plan and was focused on creating a convincing narrative around what
distinguishes the University, and projecting an identity that will help the University to
recruit the students it wants and needs. The need to differentiate in a complex market and
to present a bold, confident image was seen as very important.
99/13
The outcomes from the workshops would be developed into the University brand narrative,
to include the Essex spirit, being a challenger and articulating the meaning of a
transformational Essex HE experience. The emphasis on values over and above a view of
education as a financial transaction had resulted in the development of the concept of
students as members of the University, from applicant to alumni. The Education Strategy
would inform and reflect the brand thinking e.g. in relation to living and learning.
100/13
The work focused on recruitment and education, however the value and attraction for our
students of studying at a research intensive institution would be factored in to the brand
narrative and messages to students. There was a question and a range of views as to
whether being interdisciplinary was a distinctive feature of Essex.
101/13
Work was ongoing to capture and distil the sharp points of difference, such as
Internationalism and social mobility, and to work popular conceptions of Essex into the
University’s self-image.
102/13
Council noted the progress report and would receive a final report including specific
recommendations in November.
103/13
PROPOSAL FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF STUDENT RESIDENCES AND ACADEMIC
SPACE AT THE LOUGHTON CAMPUS (C/13/20)
Reported
Noted
The Director of Estate Management introduced the paper noting that SRC had
commented on an earlier draft by circulation. The University had received an approach
from a developer regarding the potential to develop student residences at Loughton,
utilising land acquired by the University in 2010. Proof of concept work showed the
proposal to be very marginal but financially viable and further work would be needed for
additional market testing.
104/13
The project would deliver new academic accommodation in lieu of a capital receipt,
potentially transforming the currently substandard Library, IT and studio facilities at the
Loughton campus. The project had the potential to be cost neutral apart from audio-visual
and specialist fitting out costs. There would be no additional cost to students, who were
currently paying market rents for private accommodation.
105/13
Further to the development of student residences on the. 0.5 acre site owned by the
University, a major phase 2 project involving purchase and development of former EFC
land (21.4 acres) would be considered. This scheme proposed to relocate East 15
facilities, currently in warehouse space on the Oaklands industrial estate, financed from
the build and sale of residential accommodation.
106/13
There was a unique opportunity to capitalise on land available and to improve the currently
unacceptable standard of facilities at East 15. However there was debate as to whether
further investment into East 15 could be justified given its poor financial performance
(£1.1m in deficit), low levels of student satisfaction and the absence of a research mission.
Council noted the contribution of East 15 to Loughton and Southend together with its good
application quality and volume and employment outcomes.
107/13
Council favoured investment in Loughton, however sought assurance that measures were
being taken to ensure improvements were made by the Department. USG viewed the
deficit as unacceptable and had established a working group reviewing East 15
108/13
6
performance on a course by course basis and examining the contribution made to the
University. Areas under consideration were a shift away from high cost courses, reducing
non-pay spend and financial management improvements. Estates improvement work
would be linked to the completion of the financial assessment.
Resolved
Council noted that more contextual information regarding the position of East 15 would
have been helpful in the paper.
109/13
There was a short window available to acquire additional land and the option presented to
Council was designed to minimise University investment and risk while realising the
opportunity presented by the site. Should the University ultimately wish to divest East 15,
capital improvements would be a necessary prerequisite, and Council recognised the
value in bringing all facilities on to one site. There was potential to achieve a step change
in facilities which would have an impact on the University’s overall student satisfaction.
110/13
The project would be challenging but feasible given the experience gained from the
Meadows development. The University would hope to negotiate release from overage
arrangements on the land.
111/13
Council gave its support to the University taking this project to the next phase, with
improvement work linked to the outcome of the ongoing review of East 15 performance.
Approval was given for
112/13
1. Subject to the outcome of the exploratory phase, an indicative maximum of £2.0m for
contribution to fit out or works and £500k for fees.
113/13
2. An additional budget of £100k for legal and procurement advice, valuation reports and
design fees.
114/13
3. The preparation of the development brief with appropriate professional input ready for
tender.
115/13
4. Placement of a prior notice in the EU Journal to assess the level of interest in the
scheme (this does not in any way place an obligation to proceed).
116/13
5. The University to continue to explore the valuations and opportunities to acquire both
the Rifle Range site and the Epping Forest College site and to mitigate or remove the
risk associated with the potential payment for overage on the present development
site.
117/13
6. USG to monitor the progress of the proposed scheme through monthly reports from
the Director of Estate Management.
118/13
HEFCE GRANT 2013-14 (C/13/21)
Noted
119/13
BUDGET UPDATE REPORT (C/13/22)
Reported
The projected budget surplus stood at £2.8m, which was an improvement on the original
budget, due largely to vacancy savings. SRC had set the University a cash surplus target
of £2.7m, which due to loan refinancing would now be expressed as a target of £3.7m.
120/13
Resolved
Council approved the budget update report
121/13
APPOINTMENT OF THE CHANCELLOR (C/13/23)
Reported
Since the paper had been produced, the Chancellor had written to the Registrar and
Secretary offering his resignation from August 2013 and his letter had been circulated to
Council members.
7
122/13
Noted
Resolved
An unfortunate situation had been allowed to develop over a long period of time and the
Registrar and Secretary had sought to resolve the position vis-à-vis the Chancellor’s term
of office under the University’s Charter and Statutes in force at the time of the Chancellor’s
appointment and subsequent changes to the same, of which the Chancellor has only
recently been made aware, but which were not retrospective as regards his life
appointment. His willingness to resign at this time offered the opportunity to recruit a new
Chancellor, under the procedures set out in the University’s ordinances, to a new job
description and covering the entire period of the 50th anniversary celebrations.
123/13
The Chair expressed his support for the way the sensitive matter had been handled and
now resolved, and stressed the importance of celebrating the contribution the Chancellor
had made to the University.
124/13
The role should not be excessively time consuming and hands on, and consideration
would be given to moderating the expectations as set out in the job description regarding a
pastoral role, fund raising and overseas travel. The primary emphasis should be on the
ceremonial and ambassadorial duties of the role.
125/13
The ideal candidate would project the values and distinctive nature of the University,
would be identified with by students, and carry prestige. There would be an inevitable
balance to be found between prestige and capacity to engage actively with the University.
126/13
A transparent, open selection process, as opposed to a route through Nominations
Committee, was favoured, overseen by a joint panel of Council and Senate. The
University would work with the Chancellor on a public announcement regarding his
resignation and the search for a new Chancellor, using this as an opportunity to promote
the University.
127/13
Council accepted Lord Phillip’s resignation with effect from 1 August, noting this timing
would immediately follow this year’s graduation ceremonies.
128/13
Final proposals for the appointment of a new Chancellor plus proposals for recognising the
contribution of the current Chancellor would be circulated by email for comment with an
update reported to Council in July.
129/13
2014-15 ACCESS AGREEMENT (C/13/24)
Noted
130/13
REPORTS FROM COMMITTEES
(a) Strategy and Resources Committee (18 March 2013 and 22 April 2013)
(C/13/25 and C/13.26)
Noted
131/13
(b) Audit and Risk Management Committee (28 February 2013) (C/13/27)
Noted
132/13
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SENATE (28 FEBRUARY 2013) (C/13/38)
Resolved
That all the recommendations contained in the Senate report to Council be approved.
133/13
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Noted
Monday 15 July 2013. The meeting would be held at Wivenhoe House Hotel, Colchester
Campus.
8
134/13
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
There was no other business.
135/13
RESERVED BUSINESS
There was no reserved business.
Dr Sonia Virdee
Deputy Secretary
June 2013
9
10