University Executive Board minutes - 5 July 2022



5 July 2022


Professor K Lamberts (KL) (in the Chair), Professor J Derrick (JD), Professor S Fitzmaurice (SF), Professor S Hartley (SH), Professor C Newman (CN), Professor D Petley (DNP), R Sykes (RS), Professor M Vincent (MV), Professor C Watkins (CW), I Wright (IW)

In attendance:

Dr T Strike (TS), S Grocutt (SG) (Item 1), W Burroughes (WB) (Item 2)


J Jones (JJ), Professor J Litster (JL), Professor G Valentine (GV), T Wray (TW)


Dr E Smith (ES)

  1. Closed Minute and Paper

  2. Closed Minute and Paper

  3. Closed Minute and Paper

  4. Closed Minute and Paper

  5. Closed Minute and Paper

  6. Western Bank Library

    • UEB received and noted an updated on the proposed closure of Western Bank Library from 1 August to 19 September, and from 7 November to the end of December 2022, to undertake ventilation/cooling and asbestos abatement works. In the seven weeks between September and November dates, the Library would open on a temporary basis while new plant was awaited.
    • During discussion, Members observed that the labour and materials shortages affecting the construction sector had prompted the change in the project’s original timescales but that it was important for the work to commence despite the disruption caused. It was confirmed that EFM was exploring alternative learning spaces during the closure period, which was of particular importance to students from Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences, who tended to be heavier users of Western Bank Library. UEB agreed the importance on engaging with students throughout the affected period and ensuring that communications with the student body were regular and robust. 
  7. Industrial Action: Report from the Incident Management Team

    • ​​​​​​​UEB discussed the University and College Union’s (UCU’s) plans to hold an aggregated ballot of its national membership over the summer.
  8. Round Table

    • UUK-GuildHE: KL informed UEB of the joint UUK and GuildHE statement that committed the UK HE sector to returning to pre-pandemic levels of grade inflation by 2023.
    • Research Excellence: SH reported that the definition of research excellence had been approved at UEB and Council. UEB agreed that further work should be undertaken to engage Faculty-level Research and Innovation Committees around the definition, which could be reported onward to Senate Research and Innovation Committee and Senate. It was further agreed that communications should recognise that the roll-out of the new definition was not anticipated to impact ARCP or SRDS processes.
    • COVID-19: CN updated UEB on the reinstatement of face covering restrictions on the NHS Trust sites, which it would be beneficial to incorporate into institutional communications.
    • Summer 2022 Celebrations: IW reported that Departments and Schools had raised difficulties around booking event spaces and venues for the end of the 2021/22 financial year. To address this problem, it had been agreed that events could be held in August and September provided the booking was made prior to the end of July.
    • Programme Communications: RS updated UEB on expectations that the Office for Students (OfS) would ask universities to publish dropout and employment rates for each of their programmes on an initially voluntary basis.
    • Royal College of Arts: RS and TS reported that the RCA had been fined after a collective complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) about the lack of mitigations for lost learning had been upheld.  
    • Sheffield City Council: TS informed UEB that the Chief Executive had resumed her role.