Vice-Chancellor's Office

Updates and events both on and off campus

Topic: Messages

Supporting our international staff

📥  Internationalisation, Messages

Dear Colleagues,

In the Prime Minister’s speech tomorrow, we are likely to hear more about the UK Government’s approach to negotiations on the UK leaving the European Union.

I know that many of you are concerned about the impact of the EU referendum and the effect it might have on you personally, or on your colleagues at the University. At our Let’s Talk meeting at the end of November, we discussed the implications of the EU referendum for our people, our strategy and the wider sector.

Supporting all of you through this momentous change is really important, so to follow on from the immigration advice sessions we ran last year we have now agreed to provide further support to our EU employees from outside the UK, and to those joining us from outside the EU.

We will be paying the fee for European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) staff who are eligible to apply for a Registration Certificate or Permanent Residence Card.

Furthermore, to maintain and enhance our ability to attract international candidates from outside the EU we will be providing an enhanced relocation allowance to eligible candidates. There is still some policy detail to be finalised, but I expect further information to be available in the coming weeks.

We have also joined #WeAreInternational to play our part in ensuring our universities remain diverse, inclusive communities open to students and staff from across the world.

Further updates and advice can be found on our website or from your line manager and the HR department.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell

President & Vice-Chancellor

 

Christmas message from the VC

📥  Celebrating successes, Messages

As we approach the last few working days of 2016, I wanted to wish you well for the festive season.

It has been a particularly busy few months. Our 50th anniversary celebrations on 25 October were a real highlight and I’m grateful to everyone who made them such a success.

Casting our sights to 2017, our University of Bath Festival will be taking place on 6 May and I’m looking forward to welcoming the wider community on to campus to experience the best we have to offer in research, teaching, sport and the arts.

Next year will be an important one for our University and we will be forging ahead with the implementation of our Strategy, attracting more postgraduate students, increasing our research power, continuing to improve our infrastructure and forging stronger international partnerships.

In the meantime, I hope you have the opportunity to relax, enjoy your break and watch the Royal Institution’s 2016 Christmas Lectures which will be broadcast on BBC Four on 26, 27 and 28 December at 8pm.  It is an enormously prestigious lecture series with a rich heritage of scientific discovery and we are delighted that Professor Saiful Islam, from our Department of Chemistry, will present ‘Supercharged: Fuelling the Future’ this year.

My thanks to our entire community for all your hard work. I wish you and your families a very merry and peaceful Christmas, and a happy New Year.

Best wishes,

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

 

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell

President & Vice-Chancellor

 

VC Message: A heartfelt thank you on our 50th anniversary

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📥  Messages

After weeks of busy preparation, we can now celebrate the 50th anniversary of the University receiving its Royal Charter.

I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to our whole community of staff, students and alumni; it is your creativity, innovation, tenacity and enterprising spirit that has led to our success.

A host of people helped to organise events at the Abbey and the wonderful food, activities and entertainment for Party on the Parade; my thanks to them all.

As a small marker of this milestone in our history and in recognition of all your contributions, the University will close early for Christmas this year. Friday 23 December will be an extra day of leave. Colleagues who operate essential services will be given further details shortly.

Anniversaries are about looking forward as well as celebrating success. Together, we will not only look further but also go further than others have gone before.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

Professor Dame Glynis M. Breakwell
President & Vice-Chancellor

 

Celebrating 50 years

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📥  Messages

Dear Colleague,

Following my previous messages about our plans for celebrating our 50th anniversary in the Abbey and at the Rec, I would like to invite you to take time out of your afternoon on 25 October to join the POP! Party on the Parade.

From 12 till 4pm, there will be entertainment ranging from staff bands to samba, student societies to quizzes, celebratory activities such as a zip wire and climbing wall, and free cake and soft drinks for staff and students to enjoy.

There will be something for everyone, so please take some time out of your busy day to celebrate this milestone of our University.

You can find more details about getting involved in our anniversary year on our website.

I look forward to sharing our anniversary with you all.

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell
President & Vice-Chancellor

 

Welcome message from the Vice-Chancellor

📥  Messages

The start of the academic year - a time of frenetic activity and new challenges. Our community and our campus is geared up to welcome our new and our returning students - undergraduates and postgraduates from all over the world.

Thanks to the tremendously hard work of staff across the entire University and Students’ Union, we are well prepared for the busy weeks ahead, starting with Induction and Freshers’ Week. New students will be arriving with a mixture of apprehension and excitement and I know that a kind word or some timely information from you will go a long way towards making them feel at home. Small acts of thoughtfulness in these early days tend to be remembered fondly for many years.

This is a particularly special year for us here at Bath as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. Our official birthday on 25 October will combine a ceremony at Bath Abbey, an afternoon Party on the Parade and a rugby match at the Rec in the evening. I would encourage you to take full advantage of the huge range of events being held throughout the year - they are all listed on our 50th anniversary website.

The emphasis of our 50th celebration is "looking further". We do not wish simply to celebrate what we have achieved so far since 1966. We want to look forward and (to quote a line that resonates) "to go where no one has gone before". That is the essence of a great university. Through this we will sustain and develop our excellence in research, learning and teaching.

The new University strategy has set the direction for the next five years (2016-21). We will continue to grow our research power, attract increasing numbers of postgraduates, continue to strengthen our international influence through worldwide partnerships, to enhance the quality of the academic and extra-curricular student experience and expand our capacity and capability by investing in new facilities and technologies.

Against a backdrop of political and economic change, thanks to the talented and dedicated members of our community, I think we will continue to deal with the challenges and, more importantly, seize the opportunities that will emerge.

I look forward to working with you during this critical and exciting year in our University’s history.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell DBE DL

President and Vice-Chancellor

 

 

Celebrating 50 years

📥  Messages

Dear Colleague,

Next month, on 25 October 2016, we mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Royal Charter that founded our University.

Our anniversary is a special opportunity not only to reflect on all that we have achieved in our short history, but also a chance to look ahead together.

The day will begin in the unique setting of Bath Abbey where our Chancellor, staff, students, alumni and friends will gather to celebrate our community with ceremony, music and performance.

Tickets for staff will be allocated on a first come first served basis so please do register your interest quickly if you would like to take part.

Throughout the afternoon, there will be entertainment and celebratory activities on campus for staff and students to enjoy.

To round off the day, our whole University community is invited to cheer on our men’s 1st XV rugby team in a BUCS fixture at Bath Rec.

There are plenty of ways to get involved throughout our anniversary year and the 50th website is a good place to start: take a trip down memory lane, put a date in your diary and read about the remarkable discoveries made possible thanks to the generosity of alumni and friends.

More details about the Abbey celebration and how to register are below.

I look forward to sharing our anniversary with you all,

Professor Dame Glynis M Breakwell
President & Vice-Chancellor

 

 

 

Tuesday 25 October 2016

The 50th anniversary of the signing of the Royal Charter
which founded our University.

The Chancellor, HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO

and the President & Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell DBE DL

warmly invite you to join us in celebration.

Together we will share music and performance, reflect on our achievements and look to the future.

Bath Abbey: 11am – Midday

Tickets are available first come, first served.
To secure your place, please register online, email eventsandceremonies@bath.ac.uk
or phone 01225 386417.

The event will also be streamed to campus.

Please inform us of any access requirements. Full details will be sent with your ticket.

Please note that there will not be an academic procession.

 

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) blog

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📥  Learning & Teaching, Messages

August is a strange time of the year on campus, with many colleagues away from the University either doing research or enjoying a well-earned break.

However, for a number of colleagues, August on campus is a very busy month – including admissions, pre-sessional classes, Moodle updates, teaching room refurbishments, timetabling, and of course, for some of us, analysis of the National Student Survey (NSS) results.

Whilst NSS scores are certainly not the ultimate aim of our learning and teaching, the survey is important in terms of our external profile and reputation, and providing us with valuable and helpful feedback from our students.

The introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the metrics of which will include certain elements of the NSS, is an added incentive to continue to focus on enhancing our learning and teaching provision.

A real team effort

I was delighted to see that we had once again achieved a very good result. 90% of our final year students were satisfied with their overall experience (the UK average for HEIs was 86%), placing us 14th in the overall satisfaction rankings, alongside Oxford and Cambridge among others.

Moreover, eleven of our programmes received a remarkable 100% overall satisfaction, and a number of our departments also received very high overall satisfaction scores, most notably Chemistry, which achieved a score of 99%.

The results are testament to the hard work of all colleagues involved in supporting our students – academics and professional services alike – and especially Directors of Studies. It is a culture of commitment of individual staff members that makes Bath so successful in learning and teaching.

No room for complacency

While I am pleased with the results, I am very aware that there is no room for complacency, there is a lot to be done and we must continue to listen to, and work with, our staff and students to make things even better.

This is especially the case in two areas: our scores on Feedback and Assessment were not good, despite the efforts by staff in recent years to improve the timing, quality and clarity of our feedback.

There are no quick-fix answers, but I will be expecting departments and Faculties to work with the proposed new Centre for Learning and Teaching, which will include staff with a specific remit of supporting colleagues with curriculum and assessment design, including feedback.

The results regarding Learning Resources were particularly disappointing, especially given how hard staff in the Library have worked to support students. This was highlighted in last year’s Students’ Union Top 10 and we have been working hard to improve and develop learning spaces, including developing a student learning zone at Manvers Street, transforming part of 6 West South into a student learning and social space and creating dedicated learning space in the recently opened 10 West and 4 East South.

More needs to be done, but we are working closely with the Students’ Union (SU), and further initiatives are in the pipeline.

Working in partnership with students

Talking of working closely with the Students’ Union, I was particularly pleased to find that the SU had improved their overall satisfaction score from last year, achieving 83%, which maintains their position among the leading Students’ Unions in the country.

I am very proud of the close and productive working relationship we have with our Students’ Union, which I think has been key to our success in learning and teaching, and hugely beneficial in terms of developing student engagement in all areas of the University.

While we promote student engagement for many reasons to do with academic, social and personal development, it should be good news for us, that from 2017 the NSS will include new questions specifically focussed on student engagement.

You can read more about the changes to the NSS online.

Much to be proud of

The slim margins between rankings in the NSS tables reflect such a fine line between the top universities that focussing simply on overall position is of limited value.

What our results do show, however, is an extraordinary consistency over the past six years in delivering high quality learning and teaching. The University can provide the support to staff and students, but the results are a testament to the commitment and efforts of all of those colleagues involved in learning and teaching.

Thank you for all your efforts.

 

 

 

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) blog

  

📥  Learning & Teaching, Messages

With the scale of change facing the HE sector, this is a challenging time, but also one full of opportunity for Bath. It is in this context that we have been developing our new Education Strategy and looking at how we can best continue to deliver high quality learning and teaching.

I am therefore pleased to share our proposals for the establishment of a Centre for Learning & Teaching that will replace the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Office (LTEO) and be the dynamic focus for our learning and teaching support for academic staff and students.

Creating a Centre for Learning & Teaching

The proposed Centre for Learning & Teaching will develop the expertise of the former LTEO in four areas:

  • Academic Staff Development
  • Curriculum Development
  • Technology-Enhanced Learning
  • Student Engagement

A key feature will be the change to its leadership. It will have an Academic Director (0.5 FTE) with an Education and Research background to ensure that the Centre will be strongly connected to our education priorities, offering greater support for our teaching staff.

Greater alignment of services

We are also proposing that quality assurance functions and expertise be relocated to the Academic Registry so that Quality Assurance and regulation can be more productively aligned. Changes in the national quality assessment framework, the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), and the chance to introduce greater flexibility into our own practices within the University, give us the opportunity to refocus on new priorities, and take forward work which has already begun in the last few months.

A new strategic direction

Over the last ten years, the LTEO has supported learning and teaching in line with our institutional needs. Across the University there is a shared sense both of the important contribution made by LTEO colleagues and the need to enhance these contributions in a changing HE context.

The proposals include changes to staffing at some levels, primarily due to the changes in leadership and management roles and associated support. They also relocate some existing staff to other Professional Services where this will bring greater coherence to their work. Other roles will be created, mainly within new areas of activity to reflect the changing focus of our needs in learning and teaching.

Following a consultation process over the next month, I would hope to be able to give more detail about the final shape of the CLT in September.

 

A message from the VC following the EU Referendum result

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📥  Messages

Dear Staff and Students,

As we consider the decision to leave the EU, we should remind ourselves that the strengths of our University community - our international outlook, the quality of our people, the excellence of our research and our academic programmes, and our robust financial status - are still what they were before the referendum result was announced.

Whilst none of us yet know exactly how the implications of the referendum will unfold, it is important to remember that we are entering what may be a prolonged period of uncertainty but from a very strong position.

Over the coming months and years we will need to work closely with the Government and others to represent the interests of our students, staff and the University as a whole. There will certainly be challenges but there will also be opportunities in this new reality and we must be agile enough to seize them.

I know that some of you have raised specific questions about what this means for your individual circumstances.

On Friday I met with the Minister of State for Universities & Science, attended a Board meeting of Universities UK and spoke with both the Chief Executive of the Student Loans Company and Head of Policy of HEFCE. The message they are all emphasising is that any change will not be immediate and for now the current arrangements with regard to participation in schemes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+, and the visa status of staff, students and applicants remain as they were before Friday morning.

The Student Loans Company are assuring current EU students and current applicants that their associated fee status and access to student loans have not changed as a result of the vote.

The process of leaving the EU will not happen overnight. Universities collectively and individually will throughout this negotiation be seeking to secure the best outcome for our students and staff and for the future of academic endeavour in the UK.

There will inevitably be a period of uncertainty but we will continue to thrive together as a community if we redouble our efforts to show how our University remains a truly international centre of excellence for teaching and research.

Over the next weeks and months as the situation becomes clearer, we will keep you as up-to-date as possible on any changes that may affect you.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

President and Vice-Chancellor

 

Launching our programme of events to mark our 50th anniversary

  

📥  Alumni event, Celebrating successes, Messages

Dear colleague,

Whilst our University formally received its Royal Charter on October 25th 1966, our celebrations of our 50th anniversary will continue throughout the new academic year and start in earnest this week.

The 50th anniversary planning group has put together an impressive programme of almost 100 conferences, events and other activities across the full spectrum of University life.

The very first week will see a talk on ‘Phosphatases and Signalling in Health and Disease’, the 25th Annual Conference of the Society for Risk Analysis and a special screening, at The Edge, of ‘Goal!’, a film about the 1966 world cup. We’ll be welcoming exceptional Bath-based athletes and coaches to our sports Hall of Fame and holding our summer graduation ceremonies in Bath Abbey from June 28th to 30th.

Bath Abbey will also be the venue for a special celebration on October 25th which staff, students and alumni will all have an opportunity to attend. More details of this and other forthcoming events will be communicated separately and published on the 50th anniversary webpages. The programme will include a birthday party on campus and also a festival day for the whole community on May 6th 2017.

The anniversary is both a wonderful opportunity to showcase all we have established together as a University community and a reason to ‘Look Further’ - our chosen theme for our 50th year.

In what will be – whatever the result of Thursday’s referendum - a momentous week for this country, it is perhaps timely to think that having started as a single building in a field overlooking Bath, we are marking the start of our celebrations as the highest ranked University of our age in Europe, with a global network of strategic partners and a worldwide community of over 100,000 alumni.

Achieving our goal of becoming an international leader in innovative graduate education will require us to deliver the suite of strategic priorities outlined in our new University strategy. The theme of ‘Looking further’ is not simply an encapsulation of all our University has achieved in its first 50 years, it also articulates a continued shared ambition for future excellence, impact and influence.

I look forward to celebrating with you.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell
President and Vice-Chancellor