University Executive Board minutes - 29 September 2020



29 September 2020


Professor K Lamberts (KL) (in the Chair) Professor J Derrick (JD), Professor S Fitzmaurice (SF), Ms H Fraser-Krauss (HFK); Professor S Hartley (SH), Professor M J Hounslow (MJH), Ms J Jones (JJ), Professor C Newman (CN), Professor D Petley (DP), Mr R Sykes (RS), Professor G Valentine (GV), Professor M Vincent (MV), Professor C Watkins (CW)

In attendance:

Mr I Wright (IW); Dr T Strike (TS); Mr A Carlile (AC) (items 3 & 4); Mrs F Bingham (FB) (items 3 & 4); Ms M Nolan (MN) (item 5); Ms Y Knight (YK) (item 6); Mr D Barcroft (DB) (item 7)




Secretary: Mr N Button (NB) / Ms K Sullivan (KS)

  1. Minutes of UEB held on 2 June

    • The minutes were approved as an accurate record of the meeting.
  2. Minutes of UEB held on 4 August

    • The minutes were approved as an accurate record of the meeting.
  3. Planning Cycle – 2020-2025

    • (Mr A Carlile & Mrs F Bingham in attendance for this item)
    • UEB considered proposals for reforms to the University Planning Cycle to more closely align it to the new University Vision, Strategic Framework, and Academic Career Pathway. Attention was drawn to the five-year focus of the new Planning Cycle (with Year 1 critical for the development of performance measures), the necessary ongoing involvement of Heads of Department, and the challenge of developing appropriate metrics.
    • During discussion, UEB raised and noted the following points:
      • The proposals struck a balance between providing guidance and being too prescriptive for individual Faculties and Departments.
      • There was an ongoing challenge in the recruitment of BME staff that required institutional change, as well as a greater focus by individual Departments. There was an important role for HR processes in tackling this challenge.
      • The relationship between FVPs and Departments was crucial for delivery of the key elements of the proposals in the first year by driving a strategic selection of priorities.
      • It should be clarified that the proposed metrics were not finalised and would be subject to alteration depending on their effectiveness.
      • The new approach would be aligned to the budget setting process.
    • UEB approved the Strategic Framework for use in 2020/21, approved the five year planning cycle design, agreed the proposed timeline for Year 1, and approved the Strategic Framework Metrics that would be used to support objective and target setting and the requirement for all academic department to set targets for a subset of key metrics
  4. University KPIs 2020-2025

    • (Mr A Carlile & Mrs F Bingham in attendance for this item)
    • UEB considered proposals for a new set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that would align to the new University Vision and Strategy. Attention was drawn to the limited number of KPIs using clear and existing datasets, the ongoing challenge of creating effective EDI measures, and the need for an effective measure of postgraduate satisfaction.
    • UEB instructed further consideration to be given to the KPIs, including how best to develop a hybrid approach that included both absolute and comparative measures of performance. Input would also be sought from Council, which would be the main audience for the KPIs when they were agreed.
  5. Update on Access and Participation Plan 2020-21

    • (Ms M Nolan in attendance for this item)
    • UEB considered an update on the University’s Access and Participation Plan following a set of recommendations approved by UEB in February 2020. Attention was drawn to the proposals and the lack of certainty around the current position of Access and Participation in the OfS’ reduced regulatory burden.
    • UEB noted the progress to date in relation to the delivery of the Access and Participation Plan 2020-2025, noted the impact of Covid-19 on the above and the changes to the OfS reporting requirements, and approved the recommendation for the introduction of a mature student continuation target for return to the OfS.
  6. Regional Engagement Work Programme 2021-2026

    • (Ms Y Knight in attendance for this item)
    • UEB considered the Regional Engagement Work Programme that contained an operational plan for delivery of the Regional Engagement Strategy. Attention was drawn to the cross-cutting themes of the Work Programme, the need for leadership and wide consultation in each area, and the renewed focus on ensuring each theme had a differentiated offer.
    • During discussion, UEB raised and noted the following points:
      • There was more work to be done in communicating the University’s “Of the city” narrative.
      • Each theme had its own Delivery Advisory Group with representation from Faculties. The intention was to create a pipeline of activity.
      • The wider research narrative, including from UKRI, was increasingly focused on the impact of research on wider society.
      • There was a communications plan in process to ensure that Faculties and Departments understood the need for Regional Engagement work to be part of core business. This should include conversations with Department Executives.
    • UEB noted and approved the work programme.
  7. Closed Minute and Paper

  8. Coronavirus Update

    • General update

      • The President & Vice-Chancellor informed UEB that there would be a statement in the House of Commons later that day that was expected to reaffirm that universities would stay open.
    • Update from Major Incident Team
      • UEB received an update from the Major Incident Team:
        • HFK updated UEB on the number of student and staff cases. There was a further discussion about the University publishing its numbers of cases to ensure transparency for students and staff, as well as the wider community.
        • IW updated UEB on a recent meeting with the Trades Unions, who had broadly welcomed the safety procedures put in place for staff working on campus.
        • RS updated UEB on the support packages being delivered to students who were self-isolating. The University was planning to expand the radius to include more students in non-University owned accommodation.
        • There would be further communications on the work the University was doing to prepare for the start of the academic semester.
    • Update from Return to Campus Group
      • MV noted that work was ongoing on seeking feedback on Return to Campus procedures, identifying operational issues as they arose and rectifying them.
    • FVP Update
      • UEB received an update from FVPs on Covid-related issues in their Faculties:
  9. Round Table

    • Sports Facilities: HFK updated UEB on the positive feedback that had been received since the reopening of some campus sports facilities.

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