University Executive Board minutes - 29 March 2022



29 March 2022


Professor K Lamberts (KL) (in the Chair), Professor J Derrick (JD), Professor S Fitzmaurice (SF), J Jones (JJ), Professor S Hartley (SH), Professor J Litster (JL), 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), T Wray (TW), I Wright (IW); L Carlile (LC) and L McCarthy (LM) (item 1); D Lodge (DL) and N Harris (NH) (item 2); S Duke (SD) (item 3); C Vernon (CV) (item 4); M Butler (MB) (item 5); M Ayres (MA) and M Pourkashanian (MP) (item 6).


Professor C Newman (CN)


D T Swinn (DS)

  1. Student Recruitment Update

    • (LC and LM in attendance for this item)

    • UEB received and noted an update on the latest application numbers for 2022 entry across all student categories and noted an update on the range of accompanying recruitment and marketing activities that had taken place, was ongoing, or planned. It was pleasing to note the positive overall position in relation to both home and overseas UG applications, and strong attendance at applicant open days as conversion activities were prioritised. With respect to PGT, while the overseas position was comparable to the same point in 2021, home applications were below target at the midpoint of the cycle. PGTH recruitment was supported by the introduction of a new applicant guide and a planned open evening, together with targeted marketing for current final year undergraduates locally and across the sector. More generally, it was reported that the new approach to engagement with schools was working well and fostering positive relationships. Over time, this work would be aligned with wider WP initiatives in a coordinated and embedded approach. The University has also signed up to the UUK Fair Admissions Code, providing a framework against which further recruitment and marketing activities would be developed.

    • In relation to overseas applications, current acceptance data and fee deposits were positive and with greater market diversity, although certain growth markets tended to have much lower conversion rates than others. UEB noted particular challenges due to the ongoing impact of Covid.

    • Members recognised the need to closely monitor the situation in China as it evolved UEB discussed the need to ensure that the University had access to the latest available intelligence to inform the development of scenarios over the coming months, including possible contributions from epidemiologists and behavioural experts. It was also reported that work was underway to identify high recruiting courses that the University could consider offering online, in response to ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic to overseas students. In such cases, departments would be approached directly; there was no suggestion that the University would move to allowing remote study more generally.

  2. Defining Research Excellence

    • (DL and NH in attendance for this item)

    • UEB received and considered a report that provided an update on and summary of the work of the Research Excellence Working Group and its recommendations for the development and implementation of a common understanding of research excellence across the University, in support of the research ambitions expressed in the University Vision. It was noted that the Working Group had included representation from across all faculties, flagships URIs and academics at various stages of their careers, and its work had been informed by wider staff consultations through various fora as well as other areas and examples in the sector. UEB noted the key themes identified by the working group and considered a proposed common definition, which sought to recognise that research excellence was not limited to outputs, and external recognition thereof, but extended to people and processes, in terms of openness, fairness and engagement, and needed to take into account disciplinary differences and scale.

    • Subject to actions noted below, UEB approved the institutional definition of research excellence and agreed the recommendations for institutional implementation as detailed in the related paper and noted the planned next steps.

    • Actions:

      • The wording of the definition would be amended to clarify that team research and individual scholarship could be equally as valuable as each other, and to ensure that this captured all research staff.
      • Further thought would be given to the ways in which sharing and celebrating success and achievement could help to raise ambition.
      • Further discussion would take place regarding clearly defining research-led teaching.
      • In due course, UEB would receive a further paper providing greater detail on implementation and operationalisation.
  3. Closed Minute and Paper

  4. Reputation Steering Group Update

    • (CV in attendance for this item)
    • UEB received and noted the second of the Steering Group’s biannual progress updates, which highlighted progress made in relation to externally-facing reputation work and the areas of strategic importance that were currently the current focus for the Group.
  5. Closed Minute and Paper

  6. Closed Minute and Paper

  7. 2022/23 Budget - Approval of Core Budget Allocation

    • Following UEB’s approval of the 2022/23 budget for the University and subsidiary companies on 22 March, UEB considered the proposed budget allocations for faculties, Professional Services, central areas and shared costs. UEB noted a summary of the cash contributions required to deliver the budgeted operating surplus, expenditure budgets by activity type, a comparison of indicative and approved budgets for 2022/23 and an overview of contribution rates based on the 2021/22 quarter two results.
    • Following discussion, UEB approved the core budget allocations for Faculties, professional services, shared and central within the 2022-23 budget, noting further work would be undertaken to verify the impact of VAT at the AMG; validate the Estates and Facilities management budgets; and consider the SU budget submission.
  8. Hybrid Working

    • This item was deferred to a later meeting.
  9. Closed Minute and Paper

  10. Industrial Action: Report from the Incident Management Team

    • UEB received and noted the latest update. In particular, IMT had discussed the importance of preparing for the impact of any further mandate for action. UEB discussed particular regulatory risks but agreed that fairness to students was paramount.

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