1. Green Paper ‘Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice’
A green paper was published by BIS on behalf of the Minister of Higher Education, Jo Johnson, on 6 November. There is a ten week consultation period. Read the Green Paper.
The green paper includes proposals for a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) which is intended to allow providers with high quality teaching to increase their fees in line with inflation from the 2017/18 academic year; providers achieving the first level of the TEF, equivalent to a recent successful quality assessment (QA) review, would be eligible for this fee increase. The Green Paper also proposes to reduce the number of organisations that have a publicly funded regulatory role, by merging those functions into a single student champion organisation: the Office for Students (OfS). It would potentially bring together access agreements, teaching funding, TEF and quality assurance into a single body. Further information will be provided orally at the meeting.
2. Reviews of Learning and Teaching and Quality Assessment
2.1 HEFCE Review of Learning and Teaching and the Student Experience
HEFCE and the other funding councils are undertaking a major review of information about learning and teaching and the student experience. A consultation document has been released outlining proposals for a future arrangements. It sets out proposed changes to information published on Unistats and by universities, as well as significant changes to the NSS questions. The proposals include transferring responsibility for publishing information on learning, teaching and assessment back to universities and how to survey PGT students. Read consultation document.
The University will be submitting a response to HEFCE by the deadline of 4 December.
2.2 Quality Assessment Framework
On 29 June, HEFCE published a consultation to mark the second phase of a review of quality approaches. See Read review document. The University submitted a response by the deadline of 18 September 2015. The responses are now being analysed by HEFCE and the outcomes of the consultation will be published over the winter.
3. Consumer regulation
In keeping with other universities, we have taken a number of steps to ensure compliance with consumer regulation. The Green Paper reinforces the Government’s interest in this area. The University Secretary is leading a task and finish group which is ensuring that sustainable arrangements are in place such that we make available on an ongoing basis and in the relevant form all the information which we are expected to provide.
I have been appointed as the new Chair of the GW4 Council. The Council is responsible for defining GW4’s strategic direction comprises the Vice-Chancellors of the four leading research-intensive universities in the South West of England and Wales: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. GW4 is currently finalising its new research strategy.
5. Research Institutes - Institute of Mathematical Innovation
The Institute’s successful launch event was held on 28 October 2015 in the Assembly Rooms in Bath. Professor Tony Dooley is leaving the University and a new Director is being sought. A report of the Institute’s work can be found elsewhere in the papers for this meeting.
6. Admissions 2016
Admissions figures for Home/EU undergraduates for 2016 entry are positive and are similar to the same point last year (up to 1 November), whilst the average for all HEIs is showing a drop. Overseas applications have dropped slightly. A further more detailed report will be brought to the February meeting.
7.1 International Partnerships
- The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Internationalisation) presented a paper on the University and its Brazilian partners at a meeting of Coimbra Group of Brazilian Rectors organised by UUK on 30 October.
- A delegation comprising representatives from Pharmacy and Pharmacology, School of Management, Psychology and Education visited Taylor’s University, a University Strategic Partners in Education, in late October, to further advance and develop departmental level collaborations. Members of the delegation also visited University Sains Malaysia (USM) to deepen the dialogue initiated during the recent visit to Bath by USM senior managers. The group met with the USM Vice-Chancellor and were able to identify a number of mutual interests in research and education.
- A delegation from Pharmacy and Pharmacology led by Professor Stephen Ward visited Zhejiang University in late October to develop a programme of specific collaborations in research and education.
- A School of Management delegation led by Professor Veronica Hope-Hailey visited Stellenbosch Business School from 27-29 October to explore mutual interests in a wide range of activities including executive development, research collaborations, staff and student mobility.
7.2 International Funding
The first call of 2015-2016 Bath International Research Funding Schemes closed on 19 October. 18 awards were awarded, 16 of which including University or Faculty level strategic partners. Additional recent external international grant successes also include:
- Royal Society Newton International Exchanges Scheme: Dr Jonathan Evans (Mathematical Science) with University of Sao Paulo at Sao Carlos - £12,000.
- British Council (UK-Turkey) Researcher Links Workshop Grant: Dr Pedro Estrela (Electronic and Electrical Engineering) with Gediz University, Turkey - £32,000.
- Newton Advanced Fellowship: Professor Andreas Kyprianou (Mathematical Science) with CIMAT, Mexico - £81,000.
7.3 International Mobility
The University welcomed 162 new incoming exchange students at the beginning of the academic year, as compared to 138 last year. This reflects the increased interest in Bath students wishing to take part in international mobility during their study.
7.4 International Student Recruitment
International student recruitment in 2015 has been one of the most successful in recent years, with significant increases at all levels (UG: +12%, PGT: +23% and PGR: +14%). The University has also improved the nationality diversity of its newly enrolled student population, with a notable increase in number of students coming from India (+36), one of the University’s established markets. The University has also performed well in new markets, such as Kazakhstan (eight newly enrolled students, as compared to none last year).
8. Other University News
I particularly wish to draw the attention of Senate to the following developments since our previous meeting:
8.1 The recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Medal 2015 will be Professor Laurence Hurst.
8.2 Recent significant grant awards include:
|Early Career Fellowship - Mathematical Analysis of Strongly Correlated Processes on Discrete Dynamic Structures||EPSRC||Dr Alexandre De Oliveira Stauffer||886,922|
|UK Quantum Technology Hub: NQIT - Networked Quantum Information Technologies||EPSRC||Dr Peter Mosley||428,516|
|Characterising the Epitanscriptome Using Catalysis-Dependent RIPseq Approaches||EPSRC||Dr Shobbir Hussain||336,098|
|DHARMA - Design for Hybrid Manufacture||EPSRC||Dr Vimal Dhokia||260,774|
Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell