Vice-Chancellor's Office

Updates and events both on and off campus

Posts By: Gill Smith

VC message: New VP role for Dean of School of Management

📥  Messages

Dear colleague

At its meeting last week I informed the University Council that, in addition to continuing as the Dean of the School of Management, Professor Veronica Hope-Hailey will be taking on a new role as Vice President, reporting directly to me.

In this role, she will have responsibility for championing and enhancing the University’s engagement with large scale organisations and corporations, both private and public.

As Vice President,  Professor Hope-Hailey will focus on identifying and creating opportunities to deepen our existing relationships and develop new partnerships nationally and internationally.

Professor Hope-Hailey has commented on her new role as follows:

"In pursuing this agenda I will be working closely with colleagues in Academic Departments and Professional Services who are already productively engaged with the corporate world across many areas of University activity such as research collaboration and scholarship provision.

"The creation of this new role signals the crucial importance of this type of engagement to our wider University strategy."

Best wishes

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell

President and Vice-Chancellor

 

Let’s Talk: thanks for taking part

📥  Let's Talk

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Thank you to everyone who took part in our Let’s Talk meeting yesterday morning.

If you were unable to make it, you can now watch a recording of the meeting on the Let’s Talk webpage.

Please do take a minute to give us your views on the event if you attended or watched it online so we can develop and further improve our future meetings.

There were around 180 of us in the Arts Lecture Theatre for our tenth event, with another 270 watching online.

Dame Glynis, President and Vice-Chancellor, welcomed everyone before Professor Bernie Morley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Provost, gave an update on the latest developments as we implement our University Strategy.

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Professor Bernie Morley gives an update on how we are implementing two elements of our Strategy

Bernie focused on plans to boost PGT numbers and enhance the experience of Postgraduate Taught students. He also talked about the many ways we engage with our local community, rounding off with a screening of the new promotional video for the Festival on 6 May.

Questions on the presentation on our Postgraduate Taught strategy sparked discussions on how new Distance Learning courses would work in practice, fees and funding, study space and accommodation, with queries on general topics covering everything from working hours to promoting our research internationally.

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A question from the audience

If you sent your question in advance and there wasn’t time to ask it, you’ll receive a response to the email address you provided.

After the meeting colleagues stayed for refreshments in the foyer of The Edge and took the opportunity to network and talk to the Vice-Chancellor and other members of the senior management team.

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The VC chats with colleagues after the meeting

There was a stand in the foyer with more information about the 6 May Festival. With three zones to explore, we’re hoping many of our staff, students, neighbours and friends will join us to celebrate our 50th anniversary. You can follow all the latest news at go.bath.ac.uk/bathunifest and share the event with family and friends via the Facebook event page.

 

VC visits Sports Development & Recreation

📥  Visits to departments

On 2 November, just a week after the impressive rugby victory at The Rec which brought our 50th anniversary day celebrations to a fitting close, the Vice-Chancellor visited the Department of Sports Development & Recreation.

The Department has played a crucial role in building the University’s reputation as one of the leading centres in the UK for high performance sport, a reputation enhanced by the six Olympic and four Paralympic medals won in Rio by athletes based on campus.

Stephen Baddeley, Director of Sport, guided Dame Glynis on a tour which took in all aspect of the Department’s activity including Training & Development, Physiotherapy & Sports Science, Facilities Sales, Reception and Operations.  There was an opportunity to view the 50th Anniversary timeline on the Sports Training Village concourse, and to hear about the sports development project in Zambia and the campaign to improve our British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) ranking.

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Dame Glynis views the 50th Anniversary timeline on the Sports Training Village concourse

Rachel Smith, Athlete Support Officer, an Olympian and Bath graduate, introduced two student athletes - Jan Gosiewski, who balances a Mechanical Engineering PhD with international judo, and Nick Bell, who was identified as a top level rower in the British Rowing’s Talent ID programme.

Barry Edwards, Physiotherapist, and Luke Vella, Strength & Conditioning Coach, demonstrated their multidisciplinary focus on injury prevention with the help of rower Nick, using a combination of manipulation and exercises to improve his range of movement and address muscle imbalances.

The VC watches as rower Nick, using a combination of manipulation and exercises to address muscle imbalances

The VC watches as rower Nick Bell is put through his paces to address muscle imbalances

Catherine Evans, Facilities Sales Manager, explained how the Facility Sales Team balances the competing demands of students, high performance athletes and community activities before team members showed Dame Glynis the booking system in action.

Dame Glynis said: “What you do is tremendous. You provide our students with the opportunity to pursue sport at the highest level but also encourage those who wish to engage in sport for enjoyment or just to keep fit.

“11,160 students activated their Sport Passes in 2015/16 and this demonstrates the inclusive nature of your approach.  You are also key to our partnership with the City, providing an excellent range of facilities and services which benefit the local community.”

 

Let’s Talk: thanks for taking part

📥  Let's Talk

Thank you to everyone who took part in our Let’s Talk meeting yesterday.

There were 169 of us in the Arts Lecture Theatre with many more of you watching the event online.

Thank you to everyone who came along

Thank you to everyone who came along

Dame Glynis welcomed everyone and introduced the main presentations.

Steve Egan, Vice-President (Implementation), outlined the implications of Brexit for us as a University and the support being offered to colleagues without UK citizenship: “We are an international University, everyone is of equal value and deserves equal respect.

“When I joined I was struck at what a welcoming community this is and as a community we must support our colleagues who may be experiencing a difficult time.”

Richard Brooks, Director of HR, talked about our workforce, emphasising the enormous diversity of our staff and the range of skills they bring to making the University what it is.

Professor Peter Lambert, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching), outlined the changes facing the sector, including the Higher Education and Research Bill, and how our new Centre for Learning & Teaching has been shaped to ensure we adapt and thrive in this new environment.

There were follow up questions on the presentations and on more general topics including Manvers Street and the role of professional services in our new Strategy.

If you sent your question in advance and it wasn't covered on the day, you will receive a response to the email address you provided.

If you were unable to join us, you can now watch a recording of the meeting on the Let’s Talk webpage.

Please take a minute to give us your feedback on the event so our future meetings can be developed and improved further.

 

VC visits Student Recruitment & Admissions

📥  Visits to departments

Student Recruitment & Admissions has introduced a series of developments since Mike Nicholson, Director of Student Recruitment & Admissions, joined us in 2014.

The department took the opportunity to show Dame Glynis new work underway to support the University’s strategy for recruiting undergraduate and graduate students. After a brief introduction to section heads, Dame Glynis visited each one to find out more detail.

Florin Bisset, Head of Learning Partnerships, talked about developing our links with opportunities for research collaboration between the Department of Health and the Royal Academy of Dance, and launching the new International Foundation Year with Bath College. This provides a route for international students to progress to the University whilst remaining in the same city for the duration of their study.

Dame Glynis then met four of the almost 200 student ambassadors who help the department: Oliver Au-Yeung, Josh Bee, Hannah Crosby and Rebecca Cwiklinski. They explained how they talk to potential and new students at a variety of events including the On Track to Bath programme, encouraging and supporting students to apply to Bath who may not have done otherwise.

Dame Glynis chats with student ambassadors

Dame Glynis chats with student ambassadors

Robbie Pickles, Head of UK & EU Student Recruitment, took the VC from people to hard data with a snapshot of recent work mapping applicant outcomes by location and which will provide the basis for more targeted student recruitment activity in the coming year.

Former President of the SU and Bath Mathematics graduate David Howells, recently appointed as Head of Undergraduate Admissions, then introduced the Vice-Chancellor to the University’s own online paperless undergraduate admissions scheme. Kelly Lockheed, Senior Admissions Administrator, showed Dame Glynis the system in action and talked the Vice Chancellor through the process of making offers whilst ensuring fairness and consistency in admissions decisions.

Dame Glynis was able to share the news that VCG had just approved a proposal to develop the same system for graduate admissions.

The theme of graduate admissions continued with Kim Spencer, Admissions Manager, and Dr Bruce Rayton, School of Management Admissions. Kim described how the team support the graduate admissions process, and detailed the arrangements for the upcoming arrivals weekend to assist induction and create a positive experience for our international students.

Dame Glynis then spent time with department staff and the student ambassadors over lunch: “It’s been wonderful to see you in such good spirits and I’ve learned an enormous amount; it’s been really interesting.

“You are the dynamic heart of our University. Recruiting the right students for the right course with the right experience at the right time has been key to getting us to number 1 in the NSS.

“If you didn’t do what you do so well, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

 

VC visits Academic Skills Centre

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📥  Visits to departments

Dame Glynis joined Maggie Ward Goodbody, Director of the Academic Skills Centre, as they stepped into a teacher training session to see the Centre in action.

Twenty-three academics from Brazil were learning how to teach academic writing to their colleagues and students, led by Diana Hopkins, Academic Skills Course Leader. The course is a unique collaboration with Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp), an international partner and among the leading universities in Latin America.

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Dame Glynis meets colleagues from Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)

Dame Glynis said: “It’s wonderful to see you here. I’m very pleased our two universities are working together and I know, having spoken to your VC, how important this training is for Unicamp.”

As well as studying hard, she encouraged the group to “get out and enjoy our great city”.

Moving along the 1 West corridor, Dame Glynis met with colleagues over refreshments to hear about other elements of the Centre’s work.

Dame Glynis chats to staff from the Academic Skills Centre

Staff from the Academic Skills Centre talk to the VC about their work

Jo Lewis, Head of Pre-sessional, spoke about the programme, which acts as a springboard to a range of courses, helping overseas students develop their academic skills and understand the expectations of study in the UK.

Miranda Armstrong, Head of Academic Skills Programmes, talked about the help students receive to attain the highest levels of academic achievement. Tom Reid, Academic Skills Course Leader, added that new sessions developed and delivered in conjunction with the Faculty of Engineering & Design were building students’ real world skills.

Jackie Dannatt, Writing Centre Leader, and Justin Alam, Teaching Fellow, outlined the Writing Centre’s provision for postgraduates and Dame Glynis encouraged them to contribute to the activities in the new graduate study space in 10 West.

Dame Glynis with Bev Howard, Finance & Admissions Officer

Dame Glynis with Bev Howard, Finance & Admissions Officer

Head of Academic Skills Resources, Sarah Turpin, gave Dame Glynis an advance look at the Reflective Writing e-learning project offering online learning that can be easily adapted to provide subject-specific resources.

Dame Glynis said: “Thank you, it has been fascinating. It is good to see such a commitment to ensuring students successfully manage the transition on to our courses, something we will need to further focus on as we welcome more postgraduate students.”

 

VC visit to the Bio Sciences Service Unit

  

📥  Visits to departments

For her next department visit, Dame Glynis visited part of the Faculty of Science Technical Services, and met the dedicated team who look after the Bio Sciences Service Unit.

After donning clogs and a lab coat and passing through the dust-free ‘air shower’, the Senior Technician guided Dame Glynis around the Unit which houses a variety of rodents to support health and medical research at the University.

The tour covered the purpose-built facilities designed to meet the very latest guidelines on animal health and welfare, showing where staff carry out their research work and the animals are housed, with each species given in its own carefully controlled climate environment.

A series of posters lining the walls demonstrated some of the ongoing research projects, including understanding a human disease gene using zebrafish genetic models and investigating early embryonic development using a mouse model.

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A five-day-old zebrafish embryo informs research into human disease genes

Members of the team, with over 100 years of animal care between them, chatted to Dame Glynis and explained how the animals are looked after.

As part of promoting openness on animal research, the Unit has hosted a number of 'getting to know animal research' visits by local schools and others and regularly supplies information on animal research in response to enquiries.

More information on some of the current research projects is available online.

Understanding earlyembryonic development using a mouse model and alternative methods

Understanding early embryonic development using a mouse model

 

President & Vice-Chancellor visits Academic Registry

  

📥  Visits to departments

For her latest visit, Dame Glynis headed to one of the most connected professional services – the Academic Registry.

Creating innovative and prestigious graduate programmes was the first topic up for discussion. As John Harris, its Director explained: “Colleagues ask us for basic information on starting new programmes, and because we have so much experience in what’s required we can help shape their ideas.

“Conversations like this early on means the more formal element of creating and delivering the programme is much more straightforward.”

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John Harris introduced Dame Glynis to members of the management team including James Arthur, Head of Student Records & Examinations, and Assistant Registrars Amy Cavanagh, Jon Davies, Lisa Isted and Caroline Turrell, alongside Rachel Sheer, Executive Assistant, and James Olver, Personal Assistant.

Lorna Joscelyne, Business Process & Systems Support, was first stop on a tour of the Academic Registry’s history of developments, describing how the Student Systems team works with both users and developers to extract maximum value from the SAMIS database.

Valerie Jukes, Administrative Assistant, then gave an insight into ensuring effective liaison between our students and the Student Loans Company, especially in the complexities of changing course.

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The jigsaw puzzle of timetabling was covered by Caroline Turrell, Assistant Registrar, who highlighted the My timetable app which lets students and staff customise and download their timetables and has seen 8,000 logins since it launched in September.

Dame Glynis was offered a peek behind the scenes at Ceremonies thanks to Liz Evans, Student Records Officer, and Ella Richardson, Examinations Assistant. They gave the Vice-Chancellor a chance to stamp her own official University seal using the original machine from the very first days of the University.

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Dame Glynis then met with the whole department: “This has been a real delight, thank you - I have learned a lot.

“With the new funding routes and changes in research councils, we are increasingly looking outside traditional routes for new opportunities.

“And when we look outside traditional models we innovate - in the people we talk to, the partnerships we create, and the delivery of our teaching.

“Your experience and knowledge is vital to making these new ideas happen.”

 

VC explores possible collaborations in Germany

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📥  Internationalisation, Learning & Teaching, Representing the University, Research

Last week, Dame Glynis visited Berlin for 48 hours as part of a Universities UK (UUK) delegation of five vice-chancellors led by Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow (President, Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor, University of Kent).

The delegation met with members of the board of the German Rectors' Conference or Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK), a voluntary association of 268 state and state-recognised universities serving more than 94 per cent of all students in Germany.

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Dame Glynis in Berlin

Designed to identify further opportunities for the two countries to work together, the visit was influenced by the fact that, after the US, the UK and Germany are each other’s most important research collaborator.

Consideration was given to current collaborations in EU higher education and, in particular, those operating via the European University Association.   There was also discussion of Open Access/Open Science in the UK and Germany, and the possibilities for developing joint approaches.

In the final session, conversations focussed on the introduction of research impact assessment in German universities and lessons which could be learned from the UK system.

Dame Glynis also visited two universities.   At the Technische Universität Berlin, she met Professor Dr Angela Ittel (Vice President for International Relations and Teacher Education).

At the Humboldt University of Berlin, she talked with Professor Dr-Ing Dr Sabine Kunst (President) and Dr Ursula Hans (Director, International Office). Only two weeks into her term of office (having previously served as the Minister of Science, Research & Culture), Professor Kunst was generous in prioritising the meeting.

Both of these universities expressed a strong interest in working with the University of Bath and, in the case of Humboldt, to build on our existing collaboration on the MA Contemporary European Studies (Euromasters) programme.