University Executive Board minutes - 30 March 2021



30 March 2021


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

In attendance:

Dr T Strike (TS), Mr I Wright (IW), L Carlile (LC) (item 2)


Professor S Hartley (SH), Professor C Newman (CN)


N Button (NB) / D Swinn (DS)

  1. Closed Minute and Paper

  2. Access and Participation Plan 2019-20 Monitoring Return

    • (M Nolan & L Carlile in attendance for this item)
    • UEB considered the draft Monitoring Return for the University’s Access and Participation Plan 2019-20, ahead of submission to the OfS ahead of the 16 April 2021. Attention was drawn to the new approach being trialled by the OfS for the 2020-25 period, the impact of a disrupted and unusual recruitment cycle because of Covid, and the additional funding that had been committed to access and participation work. Targets relating to non-continuation, POLAR 1 and 5, and the BME attainment gap had been met ahead of schedule.
    • During discussion, UEB raised the following points:
      • It was important to openly and accurately reflect the progress that the University had made on these issues.
      • A summary of progress should be included in the Council paper on this issue.
      • Investigating the data in further detail would help reveal why the changes in progression rates had happened.
    • UEB approved the draft monitoring report for submission to the OfS, noted the encouraging progress in a number of areas, and to report that progress to Council. It was noted that because the OfS submission was made on behalf of the governing body, the Chair of Council would be asked to approve the form before it was submitted to the OfS.
  3. Race Equality Strategy and Action Plan

    • UEB considered an update on the work to progress race equality at the University and the plans to improve experiences for staff and students. Attention was drawn to the background of the paper from the March 2019 launch of the Race Equality Strategy, the work of the Steering Group, and the five key objectives with actions that were contained in the Action Plan.
    • During discussion, UEB raised the following points:
      • There were ongoing discussions about the diversity of the University Council and its sub-committees, although it was noted that Council Nominations Committee was working on and had made some progress on this issue.
      • There were ongoing efforts to reduce biases in marking and recruitment.
    • UEB noted the update and the progress made up to this point. It also approved the revised Race Equality Strategy and Action Plan, ahead of publication.
  4. Free Speech and Academic Freedom

    • UEB considered a report on recent Government announcements relating to free speech and academic freedom. A Bill was expected in the next session of Parliament. Attention was drawn to the media interest in these issues. and the potential interaction between any new duties contained in the legislation and the University’s existing requirements in relation to the Prevent duty and other areas.
    • During discussion, UEB raised the following points:
      • The University was working with RG/UUK to craft messages.
      • There were important issues of education to be considered, as well as the stories that generated media interest.
      • A new Act would necessitate a review of University policies and procedures to ensure they were fit for purpose
    • UEB noted the legislative proposals and the actions the University was taking in response. It also agreed that a detailed briefing should be given to Council on free speech and academic freedom related issues.
  5. Closed Minute and Paper

  6. Report of UEB Risk Review Group

    • UEB considered and approved the report of the UEB Risk Review Group, noting the progress that had been seen in the three Faculty Risk Registers. It also approved an amendment to the Risk Register on Risk 11 relating to cybersecurity to reflect its increasing priority in University work.
  7. Report of UEB Information Management & Security Group

    • UEB considered and noted the report of UEB Information Management & Security Group of the meeting held on 3 March 2021. Attention was drawn to the appointment of the University Secretary as the Senior Information Risk Owner, the change of focus from deletion to necessary retention in the retention policy, and the removal of email accounts from those with no active association with the University. Discussions about allowing some limited access to certain individuals with long-standing or recent associations with the University were ongoing.
  8. Coronavirus Update

    • General Update
      • ​​​​​​​No update given.
    • Update from the Major Incident Group
      • ​​​​​​​RS updated UEB on return to campus arrangements for staff, starting with those with the greatest requirements for attendance to fulfil their roles. UEB agreed that consideration around this issue should include PGR students.
    • FVP Update
      • ​​​​​​​No update given.
  9. Revised arrangements for management and delivery of SLP

    • UEB considered and agreed modifications for the management and delivery of the Student Lifecycle Project (SLP), which had been prompted by the forthcoming retirement of the Faculty Vice-President for Engineering and would streamline the oversight and management of the project.
  10. Round Table

    • Faculty Vice-President for Engineering: KL informed UEB that Professor Jim Litster had been appointed Interim FVP for Engineering for 12 months following the retirement of MJH.
    • Industrial Action: JJ updated UEB on enquiries that had been received relating to the funds accumulated as a result of industrial action and that further communications would be issued shortly.
    • Student Lifecycle Project: RS updated UEB on HR issues within the SLP, including the appointment of a new Programme Director.

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