Faculty of Engineering & Design staff

Sharing experience and best practice across the Faculty of Engineering & Design

Topic: New initiative

A new online Faculty induction

  

📥  New initiative

A long while ago now, our Director of Administration tasked a group of us to create an interactive staff induction module for everyone in the Faculty:

Slide1

 

We interviewed members of staff to hear about their induction experiences. This helped us to come up with specific aims for the project.

We interviewed members of staff to hear about their induction experiences. This helped us to come up with specific aims for the project.

 

We also learned from our research that people’s experiences varied depending on their line manager and the time of year they started. We decided we needed to develop a module for managers to help them prepare for their new member of staff and consider which point of the annual cycle they would be starting in.

We also learned from our research that people’s experiences varied depending on their line manager and the time of year they started. We decided we needed to develop a module for managers to help them prepare for their new member of staff and consider which point of the annual cycle they would be starting in.

 

The project has had many stages with different members of the project team taking on more active roles depending on the stage.

The project has had many stages with different members of the project team taking on more active roles depending on the stage.

 

We all come from different job functions which meant we could specialise or learn new skills.

We all come from different job functions which meant we could specialise or learn new skills.

 

The team met regularly to share ideas and kept in touch through Trello between meetings.

We all come from different job functions which meant we could specialise or learn new skills.

 

We mainly learnt the importance of investing in technology and sharing our knowledge with each other.

We mainly learnt the importance of investing in technology and sharing our knowledge with each other.

 

Try out the new staff induction module using the self-enrolment key available on the wiki.

Managers' training module coming soon...

 

Forming a cross university networking group to share best practices and experiences

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📥  New initiative, Staff event, Staff insight

Jane L Phippen, Taught Programmes Manager at the Faculty of Engineering & Design, reflects on her involvement in forming a cross university networking group and hosting the University’s first Taught Programmes Administration Networking Event.


February 28 may have been the last day of the month, but it saw the first Taught Programmes Administration Networking Event hosted by the University of Bath.

During the summer of 2016 the Undergraduate Managers visited the Universities of Birmingham, Exeter and Oxford-Brookes to ascertain if there was any interest in forming a networking group with the aim to share best practices and experiences, create a forum for discussions, understanding different processes and organisational structures.  We were enthusiastically welcomed and it did not take long to realise that there was indeed huge interest in this initiative.

Over the next few months we established the common areas for discussion and the event was planned.

On the 28 February we welcomed support staff from the three Universities to a networking event in The Edge.  During the course of the day 38 people participated, including our own colleagues from Bath.  The day consisted of group discussions and demonstrations of processes around the Curriculum Management Information System (CMIS), BSS Boards, Student notes on SAMIS, exam preparation on Moodle and we saw the iPhone Student Apps that Exeter have developed.  The conversations were lively and enjoyed by all and my highlight was to witness the open, animated discussions taking place.

So what is the next step?  There is certainly an appetite to continue with this type of engagement, whether it takes place here again at Bath is uncertain; we would like to encourage one of the other Universities to host the event – watch this space!

 

The need to move towards a more sustainable society

  

📥  New initiative

Dr Caroline McFarlane from the Department of Chemical Engineering writes about why she worked to develop our new MSc in Sustainable Chemical Engineering


Hello, my name is Dr Caroline McFarlane and I’m the Director of Studies for the MSc in Sustainable Chemical Engineering.  In this blog post I’m going to talk about some of thinking that led us to develop the new MSc, in particular our view of the need for chemical engineers who understand sustainable development. In future posts I’ll be introducing you to some of the people who teach on the course and talking about some of its highlights, like the interdisciplinary group case study, the design project and the research projects that our students could be working on.

So why did we decide to develop a new MSc in Sustainable Chemical Engineering?

We know that many of the practices and lifestyles of a modern society can’t be sustained indefinitely. Many people can’t meet even their basic needs, and at the same time we’re exceeding the capacity of the planet to meet our demand for many resources and to accommodate our emissions. Across the globe we’re facing major challenges, just take for example climate change or the severe air pollution that is affecting large areas of Europe and Asia and is linked to millions of premature deaths every year. Sustainable development needs all of us – as citizens and engineers– to consider the impact of our own lives, the processes we run and products we produce, both now and in the future.

As chemical engineers we can play an absolutely central role in changing practices and driving forward innovative solutions in order to live within the constraints of the planet. We can apply our understanding of the ways in which complex systems behave to understanding the problems faced. We can contribute to sustainable development by applying our technological knowledge in innovating, designing and managing processes to improve environmental, social and economic outcomes. This might be through more efficient use of material and energy resources, minimising resource consumption and waste generation (for example, through cleaner technology, good practice, process intensification and material and energy integration) and also by recovering, valorising and re-using waste streams within a process or between different sectors. We also have a vital role to play not only in problem-solving but also framing problems and participating in political and social decision-making processes using our expertise.

So, sustainable development requires chemical engineers these days to take on a very challenging and potentially very fulfilling role as agents of social change. This requires a new knowledge and skills-set to frame and address the complex issues involved. Chemical engineers need a holistic approach, which takes into account environmental, social as well as techno-economic objectives, and the ability to work with a range of stakeholders, including professionals from other disciplines and the public. This is why we’ve combined courses in advanced chemical engineering with courses in holistic and life cycle approaches and give students lots of opportunities to practice and apply transferable skills, such as, interdisciplinary/team working, problem solving, negotiation, big picture and critical thinking, in order to improve their employability.

With these skills and knowledge our students will be well-prepared for a career in academia or in industry, working in the traditional industries (for example, chemicals, pharma, food and beverage) or the emerging and rapidly growing green sector, such as, renewable fuels, resource and waste management.

go.bath.ac.uk/sustainable-chemical-engineering

 

Faculty teams are on the move

  

📥  New initiative

Changes are afoot for parts of the Faculty support teams – so brace yourself for multiple moves and two new centres.

During December 2016 and January 2017 we will be relocating support services into more suitable environments to support our activity for the academic and student community.

New Faculty Student Centre

Our first major change will be the creation of a new Faculty Student Centre, which will be located in 2 East 2.4.  This centre will become a one stop shop for all students (UG/PGT & PGR), incorporating the Undergraduate Office and Graduate School.

This will provide huge benefits to our students and the key aspects are:

  • One stop shop
  • Consistent advice
  • Clear signposting
  • Enhanced student experience

For the academic community we hope this office becomes your one office for everything, we will be:

  • Assisting and enabling effective interactions between university and academic community
  • Working in tandem with the efforts of our academics
  • Improving the quality and resilience of our service
  • Providing support for academic goals and growth

The new team have already taken part in an away day to prepare themselves for the future, please read their blog post capturing the highlights of their day.

There are also benefits for this new team:

  • Improved line management and career development
  • Increase opportunities for cross fertilisation of ideas
  • Maximise on efficiency and utilisation of resources
  • Manage effectively the absorption of new systems and ways of working

We have made some changes to staff line management also, the organogram below will provide the further details:

Taught Programmes support structure chart

Taught Programmes support structure chart

Doctoral and Admissions support structure chart

Doctoral and Admissions support structure chart

A new Faculty Placement Centre

Our placement activity has grown over the years and is a vital part of our offering to our students.  The team has been squished into their current location for long enough, it is time for them to break free.  The new Placement Centre will be located in 4 East 2.2, providing drop in space for students and additional one-to-one space for staff and students to meet.

Other relocations

Our Technology and Learning Advising team will be relocated in 4 East 2.8, so please pop in to take advantage of this service – we are especially fortunate to have this support in the Faculty.

Student Experience is a vital function for the Faculty, so Louise Lynes (Postgraduate Student Experience Officer) and Sarah Stead (Student Experience Officer) will have a brand new easy to access location, 2 East 2.7.

To enable these moves to happen the Faculty Finance Office will be relocated to 2 East 3.10, with Jane Phippen and Ruth Burdett relocated 4 East 3.4.

To confirm all other Faculty level support will remain in their current locations:

Graduate Admissions – 2 East 3.11

Marketing & Communications – 2 East 3.13

Faculty Office 2 East 3.8

Please be patient with us during this time, we hope you will not notice any disruption in service and we look forward to working with you all in our new locations.

 

MSc student induction: improving the experience

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📥  New initiative, Top tips

Our previous MSc induction events had taken the form of a one morning introduction to the Faculty with lunch, followed by a team building exercise during the afternoon. This year we decided to increase the number of presentations and include a social event to enhance the student experience. As a result our timetable expanded to accommodate three mornings, two afternoons and one evening.

We took our new students on a guided walk into and around Bath followed by a buffet supper. We wanted the students to have an opportunity to visit the City, ask questions from members of staff and get to know each other, in a relaxed and informal setting. We devised a treasure hunt around campus covering key areas of the University and got our students to post photos of themselves on our Facebook group.

Looking forward to next year

We plan to hold focus groups as an opportunity to reflect on the student experience. In the meantime, initial feedback both verbal and in the form of a survey indicated a very positive student experience.

3 key bits of advice for others planning induction activities

  1. Advanced planning and communication. We booked the venue for the three morning sessions when prompted by Timetabling. This was six months in advance of the event. Key speakers were invited at the same time and we kept them informed (reminded them of their commitment…) during the run up to the event.
  2. Steal ideas from colleagues and ask for their help. People are surprisingly generous with ideas and time.
  3. Never underestimate the lure of free food. We booked a restaurant for 120 people and every seat was taken.

 

Effective staff induction

  

📥  New initiative, Staff insight, Top tips

We are working on a new Faculty staff induction to complement the activities that happen at a departmental and University level. As part of this project we interviewed new staff about their experiences joining the University. We also asked some teams what they did to prepare for new arrivals. We discovered a lot of good practice happening within our Faculty. From our findings here are some staff induction best practice tips:

Put in preliminary work before new members start

Nearly all our new members of staff expressed frustration at not being able to access University systems immediately. Although there are many processes that can only be started once a new member of staff is on campus, there are still some aspects that can be prepared in advance such as folder access, informing and setting up meetings with relevant people (including those who can provide card access).

Develop your own materials

We discovered some teams have developed their own induction materials specific to their job function. These even included tasks and treasure hunts so that new members of staff could get to know folder structures and try out the University's systems.

Get the whole team involved

Creating a schedule of training where each team member takes on responsibility for a certain aspect helps share the workload and means each member gets to know the new recruit.

Start small

Some of the staff we interviewed talked about being overwhelmed by "meeting too many people in a short amount of time". One team within the Faculty draws up a plan where the inductee is introduced to their immediate surroundings and then shown other areas as the weeks progress, ensuring their network increases at a manageable rate.

Put the role into context

Understanding where your role fits within the wider university is an important part of working effectively. One of our job families produced a special induction document introducing the University's strategy and how their job function fits into this.

Get them connected

Our interviewees mentioned how useful it was to meet others outside their immediate surroundings who performed a similar job function. Many people aren't aware of the mentoring or buddy opportunities available at the University, so this might be a good thing to highlight to inductees early on and at the mid-probation point.

The little things

In our interviews small gestures like buying an inductee a coffee on their first day really made a difference.

Our staff induction module will be available on the Faculty of Engineering & Design's staff wiki space's New Staff page in the Autumn.

 

New Head of Department for ACE

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📥  Celebrating success, New initiative, Staff experiences

Professor Pete Walker, outgoing Head of Department, looks back at his time in the role:

The past three years have literally flown by. When I joined the University of Bath in 1998 I did not anticipate that one day I would be Head of Department. A little daunted at first by expectations and the track record of previous Heads, it has been a tremendous privilege to be Head of the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering.

In particular I have enjoyed working with a broader range of colleagues across the University, and getting to know our Department much better. Recruiting new staff and supporting colleagues through promotion and probation, and seeing them receive the rewards their hard work, talent and dedication deserve has been particularly satisfying.

Other highlights over the past three years have included our REF 2014 success (we were joint first in the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning unit of assessment), receiving our Athena SWAN bronze award, and seeing 4 East South open in readiness for the 2016-17 academic year.

Moving ahead I look forward to having fewer meetings in my Outlook Calendar, refocusing on taking forward the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, and more teaching.

 

Professor Stephen Emmitt, incoming Head of Department, looks forward to the next three years:

Taking on the role of Head of Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering in its 50th anniversary year is a great honour. The Department is the only joint Department in the UK, founded on the philosophy of integrated working. We have a fantastic research record (joint first in REF 2014) and perform wonderfully well in our taught architecture and civil engineering courses, consistently at the top of the league tables.

This has been achieved by a highly dedicated staff and clear direction from management over a long timeframe – excellence is deeply embedded within our Department’s collective DNA. I am keen to build on this expertise to further enhance the quality of everything we do, while also extending our international profile.

The mantra that ‘there is no room for complacency’ is ever present and taking on the leadership of such a high-performing Department is not without its challenges. We have major events on the horizon; the next REF, the new pressures to be imposed by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the ever-rising tide of metrics. These are challenges to be embraced while also contributing to the 50th anniversary celebrations. I relish the opportunity to be a part of our continuing success.

 

Don't forget to complete our Faculty Learning Technologies survey

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📥  New initiative, Staff insight, Technology Enhanced Learning

Hi there,

You may have already heard about our Faculty Learning Technologies survey – many thanks to staff who have already completed it!

In our new roles (Learning Technologists) we’re keen to get a clear picture of how academic staff (or those in teaching-related roles) make use of learning technologies in the Faculty.

We would like to hear from as many staff as possible, no matter what your current level of experience with Learning Technologies.

This will help us to understand your priorities as we plan new development projects and provide support.

Please take 10-15 minutes to complete our survey by 30 September. https://bathreg.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/fed_tel_survey

The responses will inform our planning going forward and we will share the outcomes and plans via this blog (don’t forget you can subscribe to receive email updates).

And don’t forget we have a Flip video camera to give away to a randomly chosen respondent!

Image showing computer interface

Future Interfaces 2014, NYC Media Lab, CC BY-SA 2.0

 

A shared MSA mission

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📥  New initiative

The Faculty Professional Services are vital to the academic and student success we achieve. Without the dedicated team, who are enthusiastic, supportive and creative, many successes would not have been achieved.  We are in extremely exciting times with Postgraduate developments and our International agenda, the team are ready and geared up to support and make our new avenues even more successful than our past.

To ensure we all focus on the same goals and objectives I have developed a shared mission statement.

Our shared mission statement for the future is:

Collaboration, communication and planning between teams and the wider community

  • Increased collaboration and service sharing amongst our faculty teams.
  • Stronger and more integrated planning on local approaches to support our academic and student requirements.
  • Reduced duplication through service delivery efficiencies.
  • Improved coordination of decision-making and investment in our infrastructure, facilities, and equipment.
  • Increased accountability, as users and management will be better able to evaluate the performance of each faculty service.
  • Stronger services, benefitting from the collective strength of the faculty to meet common needs, and plan for the future.

Communication achieved by:

  • creating awareness
  • imparting knowledge
  • projecting an image
  • shaping attitudes
  • stimulating a want or desire

Collaboration achieved by:

  • fostering innovation
  • supporting the development of a team
  • creating more appropriate and effective outputs
  • building enhanced legitimacy and creditability

 

Introducing our Faculty Staff Wiki space

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📥  New initiative

As part of the CMS transition, our Faculty’s internal web pages have migrated to the University’s Wiki (called Confluence).

Our new Faculty of Engineering & Design Staff Wiki space means:

  • Faculty staff information is contained in one place
  • teams can take ownership of their own content and easily update their pages
  • staff can share information and collaborate more effectively

Since starting the project back in January, we have moved across our current content, as well as creating new content. We’ve also undertaken a user testing process to refine usability and design.

Where is the space?

You can find the Staff Wiki space in the same way as the old internal pages: by clicking the padlock link on the Faculty’s external landing page.

You can also log in to Confluence and search for the space or type in the web address go.bath.ac.uk/fedstaffwiki directly into your browser.

Who can access the space?

All staff at the University (who have a University log on) can view the space but certain pages may have viewing or editing restrictions applied to them. This is so that they can only be seen or edited by a select group or individual.

Design

The space has been designed by Rosie Hart (Postgraduate Taught Programmes Officer) using a colour palette of Faculty Orange, Stylus grey and About blue. All pages have consistent headers and footers. To reduce scrolling we have hidden some content under expandable headings.

Each page has been assigned a webmaster or masters who are responsible for creating and keeping content up to date (these names are listed within the page footer). Page design inevitably varies depending on the webmaster, but should retain the same design ethos and colour scheme as the rest of the space.

Navigation

The page tree in the left-hand sidebar lists all top level pages. Page headings with ‘>’ next to them (rather than a bullet point) expand to reveal child pages beneath them with further content.

The search box in the top right toolbar searches the whole of Confluence (all University of Bath Wiki pages). The search box on the Faculty Staff Wiki homepage only searches the space.

You can always return to the homepage by clicking the Orange Minerva head logo at the top of the Wiki space’s left-hand sidebar.

Each page is tagged with its function or team, which formulates an index (or A-Z) linked to in the left-hand page tree and on the homepage.

Take a video tour of the space


Managing the space

The Staff Wiki space will always be a work in progress. All staff are expected to take an active responsibility for keeping the space up to date. We all have editing rights for any page containing an edit button (located at the top right of a page). Teams who do not wish people to edit their pages can restrict this, so if an edit button is present then the webmaster is happy for others to contribute. The Wiki has a history function so if anything goes wrong you can always publish an earlier version of a page.

The homepage has a feedback link for staff to provide comments on usability, content and design. This feedback will be evaluated tri-annually (October, February, June) by the Wiki space editorial group consisting of Becky Garner, Beth Jones, Rosie Hart and Tracey Madden. The group will also review the space to ensure design and content standards are being met, and offer advice to webmasters.

Creating new pages

Should your team have a presence within our Staff Wiki space? In the first instance, it is best to contact Tracey Madden (Learning Enhancement Advisor) through the new content request table. Tracey can advise on your content needs, the design of your page and provide bespoke wiki training for your team. You may find that the Staff Wiki space is not the correct location for your content or that you only need to link to your own pages from it.

Webmasters of top level wiki pages already in existence can create as many child pages as they wish. All new pages must contain a header and footer to match the rest of the Wiki space and comply with our colour styles and brand principles.

Developing your wiki skills and finding help

Tracey Madden has created a bespoke help section with how-to guides and page templates to aid staff in using the Wiki space and creating their own content. You can also take a look at Tracey’s Macro of the Month feature and Rosie’s Top Wiki Tips on the blog to develop your wiki skills. You can practise editing and using macros on your personal wiki page (everyone automatically has one) or book wiki training with Computing Services. Tracey Madden is also available to provide bespoke training to members of our Faculty.

Thanks to...

Thank you to Rosie Hart (supported by Bex Mills) who transitioned our existing internal content and designed the space, and to Tracey Madden who has worked with teams to create new content. Thank you also to our user testers.