Vice-Chancellor's Office

Updates and events both on and off campus

Topic: On campus

VC visits Faculty of Engineering and Design Professional Services

📥  On campus, Visits to departments

The Faculty of Engineering & Design welcomed the Vice-Chancellor recently and showcased their use of digital technologies. Management, administration and specialist teams gave demonstrations on a range of new initiatives for student recruitment, exam setting and placements. The morning acted as a celebration for innovative practices and collaborative working across the Faculty in line with their new mission statement.

Dame Glynis enjoyed presentations from:

·       The Placements Team who explained how they match students and companies to ensure the best fit for both parties.

·       The Learning Technologists and Learning Enhancement Advisor who spoke about how they use the latest technologies to support academic staff.

·       The Graduate School who described how they now create and set exams using Moodle, rendering a complex and slow process much more efficient and secure.

·       The Marketing Team who demonstrated how they use augment reality through the Aurasma App and blogging to showcase student projects and experiences.

·       The Faculty Executive Support Office who exhibited new methods for keeping staff updated.

·       The Department Offices who talked about their social media channels.

Dame Glynis hears from

Dame Glynis hears from Yvonne Moore about the support they offer academic staff with using the latest technologies

Dame Glynis also spoke with the Faculty’s first Business Administration Modern Apprentices; Hajraah Qureshi and Mitch Rose. Hajraah demonstrated a social media training module she had developed for staff.

29026 VC Visit to Faculty of Engineering 21 July 2016. Ian Forster-Smith, Director of Administration for E&D, shows the VC around. Client: Ben Harris - Corp Comms

Sarah Sempala-Ntege and Beth Jones from the Marketing team with Iain Forster-Smith and the VC

Addressing everyone over tea and a specially commissioned cake, Dame Glynis said: “It has been fascinating to find out so much about the new things you are doing. I am especially keen to create opportunities to help people develop, and it is great to hear how well your Modern Apprentices have been doing.

“I would ask you to share your work with colleagues across the faculties and the School of Management.

“Collaboration and inclusion are key to establishing innovation as the norm. The sky really is the limit when you start to work with everyone across the University. What you do here is fantastic.”

29026 VC Visit to Faculty of Engineering 21 July 2016. Ian Forster-Smith, Director of Administration for E&D, shows the VC around. Client: Ben Harris - Corp Comms

The Faculty of Engineering & Design Professional Services team

 

Congratulations on our June Open Days

  

📥  Celebrating successes, Learning & Teaching, Messages, On campus

Dear colleague,

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone involved in our June Open Days. We welcomed thousands of visitors over two days and I am delighted that we kept the show on the road through sunshine and showers to put on a very successful event.

Open Days give prospective students the chance to visit Bath to see for themselves the world-class courses and facilities on offer at the University. There is very clear evidence that our Open Days both help to convince prospective students to apply here and also that they are more likely to make Bath a firm choice should they receive an offer.

Our Open Days are a great opportunity to showcase our University and I’m sure you will agree that the atmosphere on campus was incredibly positive and uplifting.

If you have any feedback about the Open Days, you can either visit the drop in evaluation session next Wednesday 22 between 12.30-14.00 in 1 West North 3.11 or e-mail the team at opendays@bath.ac.uk.

Finally, I am always humbled by the sheer effort of so many people working to ensure the event goes smoothly. From the events team and organisers in faculties, to the hard work of estates and security and our many student ambassadors, it really is a team effort. So whether you were giving a talk, setting up in the early hours, leading a tour, staffing a stand in the Information fair or welcoming visitors to campus, a huge thank you for all you have done.

Many thanks,

Professor Bernie Morley
Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Provost

 

 

Please join our team of Open Day helpers

  

📥  Learning & Teaching, On campus

Dear colleagues,

We are, this year, holding two consecutive Open Days in June, on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th.

These events are ever more critical to our success at recruiting undergraduate students and all who are involved are working hard to ensure applicants visiting us for the first time leave with the right sort of impression.

Staff & student ambassadors greet our guests at one of the welcome points on campus

Staff & student ambassadors greet guests at one of the welcome points on campus

Open Days remain a key part of our recruitment activity and statistics show they have an increasingly important bearing on where a prospective student chooses to study. Ranked as the best Open Day in the UK by the annual Higher Expectations Survey brings an extra expectation here at Bath which I know we can live up to.

What our visitors see and experience at an Open Day influences application decisions and we know that applicants who have attended one of our Open Days are more likely to make Bath their first choice as they have been impressed with the warm welcome from our staff and students, and with the wonderful facilities and campus we have to offer.

As we are this year aiming to run two successful events on consecutive days, the Open Day planning team are seeking colleagues willing to help at Welcome Points and to work alongside Student Ambassadors at various locations across campus. If you can offer to help or want to find out more please email Events Assistant Anna Mundell a.mundell@bath.ac.uk or call x5985

Welcoming visitors on Open Day is really rewarding and it is very energising to experience first hand the enthusiasm of so many applicants to win a place at Bath. Your help and support would be appreciated.

Please join our team of Open Day helpers

Can you join our team of Open Day helpers?

Staff parking and Travel to campus

For those coming to campus on 16 and 17 June, please bear in the mind the extra pressure on the surrounding roads, car parking and public transport we can expect. If possible please consider public transport or car share as travel options.

Visitor cars will be directed to East, South and West car parks as normal where they can park or be directed on to over flow car parks on the grass fields. All parking is free on Open Days in all of the University’s car parks.

For those staff arriving later in the day who may struggle to find space to park, Security Services have allocated K car park for you to use. K car park is located to the rear of Brendon Court. See map.

This car park will not be staffed and there is no need to use a special pass. Spaces in this car park will be on a first come first serve basis.

Many thanks for your help.

 

Professor Bernie Morley
Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Provost

 

Preview: VC's Report to Senate - 13 April 2016

  

📥  On campus

1. University Strategy

Development of a new public Research Strategy and a new Learning & Teaching Strategy is continuing as part of the updating of the University Strategy. Consultation is ongoing with key stakeholders across the University.

2. International Engagements

2.1 Visit by the Chilean Ambassador On 8 February His Excellency Rolando Drago, Ambassador of Chile in the UK, visited the University.

2.2 Stellenbosch University Five academic members of the Department of Psychology visited Stellenbosch University from 22–25 February to develop research collaborations. From 29 February – 1 March the Dean and colleagues from the School of Management hosted delegates from the University of Stellenbosch Business School for the first of two international research workshops titled: Contributing to Inclusive Development in Europe and Africa: The Role of Business Schools.

2.3 Malaysia The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Internationalisation) was in Malaysia 22–24 February to meet with the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education. The University of Bath formalised its relationship with USM by signing a MoU with them during this visit.

2.4 Visit by the Peruvian Ministry of Education On 3 March the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Internationalisation) hosted a roundtable meeting with the Director General and Special Adviser in Public Policy from the Peruvian Ministry of Education. The visitors met with colleagues from the School of Management, the Institute for Policy Research, the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies and the Department of Education.

2.5 Turkish-British Tatlidil On 11-13 March the University hosted a Turkish-British Tatlidil forum which was attended by the Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Mehmet Şimşek.

3. Visits to Departments
Since my last report I have visited the Careers Service on 17 February and Marketing and Communications on 1 March.

4. Other University news

I particularly wish to draw the attention of Senate to the following developments since our previous meeting:

4.1 Professor Carole Mundell has been named Woman of the Year in the 2016 FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards.

4.2 Professor Hugh Lauder has been made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

4.3 Professor Nick Brook has been appointed Dean of Science from 1 August 2016 (Dean-designate from 1 July 2016).

4.4 The University will receive more than £4.5 million EPSRC funding towards supporting doctoral training and quantum technologies research.

4.5 Recent significant grant awards include:

Description  Funder Principal Investigator £Amount
Fabric Integrated Thermal Storage for Low Carbon Dwellings ESPRC Dr Andrew Shea 285,047
Enabling Next Generation Lithium Batteries EPSRC Professor Saiful Islam 796,673

 

Preview: VC's Report to Senate - 3 Feb 2016

  

📥  On campus

1. Research developments

1.1 Nurse Review of Research Councils

The review of the UK Research Councils by Sir Paul Nurse has proposed a new body called ‘Research UK’ to coordinate the seven research councils and take the lead in shaping and driving a strategic approach to science funding; it also suggested the body could allocate research funding currently administered by HEFCE. The Autumn Statement stated that the recommendation of the review had been accepted by Government.

1.2 Review of university research funding

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson launched a UK-wide review of university research funding on 16 December 2015. The stated aims are to cut red tape so that universities can focus more on delivering the world-leading research for which the UK is renowned and help ensure the government gets the most return from its investment. The review will be chaired by the President of the British Academy and former World Bank Chief Economist Lord Nicholas Stern. He will be assisted by a steering group of academic experts, including the Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, Professor Julia King, and the Past President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Professor Sir John Tooke. Lord Stern is expected to deliver his review of the REF to the government in summer 2016.

1.3 Growth in our research power

Following the decision by the University to grow its graduate student numbers and research power, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) is working with Deans and professional services towards identifying research areas in which the University could increase its research base. This involves analysis of external need drivers, funding opportunities, and of our current and potential research strengths.

2. Green Paper ‘Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice’

The consultation period for the green paper published by BIS ended on 15 January. The University submitted a response which welcomed the focus on the quality of teaching and the student experience but raised a number of concerns, including:

  • the potential risk to the international reputation of English universities, and the differential bureaucratic burden, if the new regulatory system and Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) are not adopted by the devolved administrations;
  • the lack of reassurance regarding the governance/independence of the proposed Office for Students (OfS);
  • the mismatch between the focussed regulatory remit of the OfS and the broader research, social and economic roles of traditional universities;
  • the phased development of the new TEF and the relevance of some of the indicative metrics, particularly proportion of teaching staff on permanent contracts and ‘learning gain’;
  • the overall financial impact of the proposed regulatory system, TEF and contingency actions.

View the Green paper.

3. Reviews of Learning and Teaching and Quality Assessment

3.1 HEFCE Review of Learning and Teaching and the Student Experience

The University has submitted its response to the review by HEFCE and the other funding councils of information about learning and teaching and the student experience.

View the consultation document.

3.2 Quality Assessment Framework

HEFCE has published a summary of the responses to its consultation on quality assessment. The proposals to reform quality assessment were broadly supported. The BIS Select Committee, chaired by Iain Wright MP, heard evidence in early December and is expected to report in January.

4. HEFCE’s 2014/15 postgraduate support scheme

Our pilot project was one of 20 selected by HEFCE as part of a highly competitive process in order to test initiatives to encourage more students (particularly from under-represented groups) to undertake postgraduate taught study. The project, overseen by a steering group chaired by Professor Bernie Morley, developed a new 15 month Masters programme in MSc Modern Building Design in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering. The programme was developed in close collaboration with industry and includes an integral placement component; it was only open to UK/EU students in the first year. Despite a tight timescale, 16 UK/EU students are nearing completion with 80% of the initial cohort receiving employment offers before the end of the programme. A mini-MOOC will also launch in February. As project funding was solely dedicated to the 2014/15 cohort, the programme is proving sustainable going forward with 19 students from 10 different countries recruited in 2015/16.

5. GW4

GW4 is co-ordinating a regional Expression of Interest into the BIS Call for Science and Innovation audits. Up to ten of the initial submissions (to be submitted by 19 January) are expected to be supported and will then go through to a regional audit process with an appointed analytical contractor. BIS expect to see submissions which demonstrate how universities are working with the regional economic strengths to improve competitiveness and raise productivity. It is expected that this will be the first of several such Calls from BIS leading eventually to national coverage.

6. University Strategy

As reported to Senate in December 2015 (paper S15/16-45), the University is starting to develop a new public Research Strategy and Learning & Teaching Strategy as part of the new University Strategy. The Research Committee and the Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee are considering the current articulation of our institutional strengths and our definitions of excellence in these two domains. On 13 January 2016, Executive Committee was briefed on the various work streams that are being undertaken in order to progress our goal of becoming an international leader in graduate education. A progress report will be made to Council on 25 February.

7. International Engagements

7.1 I visited the UAE with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Internationalisation) (PVCI) and Director of Development and Alumni Relations from 17-20 January to engage with leading benefactors, Bath alumni, the British Embassy and key university leaders in Dubai. I and the PVCI then visited Jordan as guests of their royal highnesses Prince El Hassan and Princess Sarvath. One highlight of the visit was the launch of a partnership between the Amman Baccalaureate School and our Department of Education, represented by Dr Mary Hayden and Professor Jeff Thompson. Further discussions focused on our expertise in research in migration and social protection in SPS and the IPR.

7.2 The PVCI was invited by the Ministry of Education in Peru to give a keynote address on university autonomy and recent changes in the UK HE landscape (8-11 December). There is outline agreement to develop leadership capacity in Peru’s university system. The PVC also visited Peru’s leading university – the Pontifícia Universidad Católica – to promote ties with our political scientists. The School of Management DBA team (Professor Rajani Naidoo, Professor Jürgen Enders and Dr Robin Shields) delivered the first residential of the new 27-strong South African cohort at NMMU, Port Elizabeth from 23-29 January. The University Librarian visited Stellenbosch University with the International Partnerships Manager, Ms Katja Nieminen, in January with a view to developing joint doctorates and improving inter-library partnership.

7.3 The Agents’ Conference, 2-4 December 2015: The International Relations Office welcomed 29 of our international representatives from 16 different countries to Bath for a three-day event showcasing our departments and services. Our educational agents are responsible for over £8 million in overseas fee income into the University every year and are a key resource in promoting our programmes worldwide.

7.4 The Department of Chemistry hosted a delegation of ten researchers from Turkey working on Energy and Health on 12 January. Representatives from Izmir Institute of Technology, Middle East Technical University, Sabanci University and Baskent University, amongst others, visited the UK in celebration of the UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation 2015-16.

8. Academic Skills Centre

A new skills centre for the University has brought together the Academic Skills Centre (ASC) and the Foreign Languages Centre to operate as one independent entity reporting directly to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching). Maggie Ward Goodbody, formerly Director of the ASC, has become overall Director. It will allow us to enhance our provision of skills development for all our students, both undergraduate and postgraduate.

9. Visits to Departments

Since my last report I have visited the Department of Physics (12 January) and Finance at 18 Manvers Street on 2 February.

10. Other University news

I particularly wish to draw the attention of Senate to the following developments since our previous meeting:

10.1 Professor James Davenport has been awarded a Fellowship by the Software Sustainability Institute. The Institute has appointed 17 Fellows to take forward their plans to improve research software and make a difference in their research domains.

10.2 Two prestigious ESRC Future Leaders Awards were achieved in November by Dr Katie Maras in Psychology and Dr Michael Donnelly in Education, at a value of £225,000 each.

10.3 Recent significant grant awards include:

Description Funder Principal Investigator £Amount
Understanding the Evolutionary Origins and Molecular Mechanisms of Antimicrobial Peptide Resistance BBSRC Dr Susanne Gebhard 415,580
Augmentation of Alkaline Earth Reactivity: An FLP Analogy EPSRC Professor Michael Hill 739,054
SPARK - Spatial Augmented Reality as a Key for Co-Creativity EU - Horizon 2020 Dr Elies Dekoninck 270,358
Integrated Energy Efficient Microwave and Unique Fermentation Processes for Pilot Scale Production of High Value Chemical from Lignocellulosic Waste EPSRC Dr Chris Chuck 1,689,779
EvoGenMed European Research Council Professor Laurence Hurst 1,506,997
Investigating the Principles of Trans-acting Long Non-Coding RNA Genomic Targeting and Chromatin Regulation BBSRC Dr Keith Vance 514,161
Modelling, Computation and Analysis of Droplets Guided by Faraday Waves: A Complex System with Macroscopic Quantum Analogies EPSRC Professor Paul Milewski 316,872

10.4 The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of Action on Addiction, visited the charity’s Centre for Addiction Treatment Studies in Warminster on 10 December to see its work providing training, education and professional development for those working in addiction and related fields and to help celebrate 10 years of the Centre’s partnership with the University.

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell

Vice-Chancellor

 

Vice-Chancellor visits Department of Physics

  

📥  On campus, Visits to departments

From light streaming through medieval stained glass windows to young galaxies at the edges of the known Universe, the first Vice-Chancellor’s visit of 2016 took Dame Glynis on a wide ranging tour of the Department of Physics’ research, teaching, staff and students.

Professor Simon Bending, Head of Department, and members of the Department Executive and Research Group Leaders welcomed Dame Glynis with an overview of the department, from the rapid rise in entrance requirements from AAB in 2011 to A*AA, to the active PhySoc excursions.

Professor Carole Mundell then spoke about her vision for the new Astrophysics Group, drawing together physics, maths and computer simulation to understand the most extreme environments in the Universe.

Next up was a tour of the Centre for Photonics & Photonic Materials, with Dr Peter Mosley explaining how the two fibre towers generate temperatures of 2,000 degrees to create unique hollow optical fibres, while students drew lengths of the material that can be used to guide light for applications including precise surgical incision.

vc-visit-physics3

The Vice-Chancellor with Dr Ventsislav Valev and PhD students in the new laser laboratory

Royal Society Fellow Dr Ventsislav Valev introduced the new laser laboratory and PhD students Joel Collins, Christian Kuppe and David Hooper spoke about their research, which included mixing the same coloured laser light to create a new colour and particles of gold creating the red panes of stained glass windows; and twisting light to reverse normal refraction – as when you see an object in water – to create negative refractive index. The latter is being investigated due to its potential for invisibility cloaking.

vc-visit-physics2

Dr Carolin Villforth talks through images from the Hubble space telescope

A packed tour of demonstrations in the teaching laboratories then covered everything from the evolution of galaxies using Hubble space telescope images with Dr Stijn Wuyts and Dr Carolin Villforth and students building their own radioscopes with Dr Steven Davies, to water flowing uphill in the Leidenfrost Maze with Dr Kei Takashina, as seen on QI.

vc-visit-physics1

Dame Glynis tries out the Leidenfrost Maze with Dr Kei Takashina

Dame Glynis then spoke to staff and students gathered for tea and coffee in the Physics square on level 3 of 3 West.

“Thank you for sparing your time; it has been fascinating seeing the big questions you seek to answer every day, and I wish I could stay for longer.

“The big question I am dealing with is how, as a university, we develop to become the graduate education provider of choice.

“It was very interesting to hear what you aim to achieve over the next five years, including growing your postgraduate programmes and improving the staff-student ratio.

“These are integral to some of the key elements we are developing as part of our new University Strategy - expanding our graduate offer and increasing the number of academic staff - and we will do all we can to support you turning your plans into reality.”

 

Preview: VC's Report to Senate - 2 Dec 2015

  

📥  On campus

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.

4.         GW4

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.         Internationalisation

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:

Description Funder Principal Investigator £Amount
 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
Vice-Chancellor

 

Preview: VC's Report to Senate - 14 Oct 2015

  

📥  On campus

1. League Tables

1.1 The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide

The University was ranked 12th out of 127 institutions in the The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016 published on 20 September 2015.  The University was ranked in 7th place in the graduate salaries table, the highest ranked institution excluding Oxford, Cambridge and London-based institutions.   This national league table was the first to use a 0.2 fte weighting for placement students in the SSR calculation rather than the HESA-derived 0.5 fte. This has improved the SSR figure for Bath as we have a high number of students on placements. The University has been lobbying HESA to amend its SSR calculation methodology and we will be taking advantage of the national consultation to highlight once again how the 0.5fte weighting disadvantages universities like ours with a large proportion of placement students.
 
1.2 QS World University Rankings

The University has risen 20 places in this year’s QS World University Rankings, from 179 to 159. The table ranks nearly 900 national and international universities and Bath is one of 30 UK universities to be ranked in the top 200. The rankings assess each university in four main areas - research, teaching, employability and international outlook using six indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, citations by faculty, international staff ratio and international student ratio. Bath performed particularly well in terms of employer reputation and is ranked 77th out of the 891 global universities for this indicator.

1.3 The Times Higher Education (THE ) World Ranking

The University has also improved its position in the THE world ranking from 301-350 to 251-300. The THE rank 800 institutions worldwide.  Given our investment in internationalisation, it is particularly gratifying that we appear in the top decile for international outlook. The performance indicators used in the ranking are weighted in the following proportions: Teaching 30%, Research 30%, Citations 30%, International outlook 7.5%, Industry income 2.5%.

1.4  National Student Survey

The University has achieved a good set of results in the NSS 2015 survey, recording 90% for ‘Overall satisfaction’.  Although this represents a three percentage point drop from last year and means a drop in national rankings (from joint 1st to joint 15th) the University still exceeds the sector average.  This is the fifth year in succession that the University has achieved 90% or more. A paper later on the agenda gives a full report.

1.5  Postgraduate Research Experience Survey 2015

The Higher Education Academy’s (HEA’s) Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) has closed, achieving an overall response rate of 54%, an increase of fifteen percentage points on the last survey in 2013 and four percentage points above the University's target response rate. The University has received the results (including sector benchmarking) which are available to view on the Registry webpages, and is working with the Students’ Union and their Postgraduate Research Academic Representatives to review the results and develop joint Action Plans to address the results of the survey at all levels of the institution. A report will be made to the next meeting of University Research Students Committee.

2. Students’ Union Top Ten Issues

Each summer the Students’ Union identifies its Top Ten Issues of concern to the student body, on which it then works with the University in the coming year.  The Top Ten Issues for 2015/16 are to:

  • Lobby to increase space to work in the Library
  • Secure fixed fees for international students for the duration of their programme
  • Campaign to improve exam feedback
  • Ensure easy access to effective mental health support
  • Increase support for postgraduate students who teach
  • Challenge costs on campus
  • Develop clear group work policies in each department
  • Improve prayer room facilities on campus
  • Make sure unit evaluations are effectively addressed and actions communicated.
  • Lobby for improved housing standards.

I look forward to working with the Students’ Union on these issues.

3. Open Day

September's Open Day was another great success. Despite some indifferent weather, it was another very busy day on campus with an estimated 12,000 visitors coming to see what we have to offer here at Bath. As usual there was a lot of positive feedback and nothing but praise for the welcome visitors received from our staff and Student Ambassadors. Thanks to the hard work of colleagues in the Department of Estates, The Parade and the campus in general were looking at their best, and with the help of our excellent Student Ambassadors, staff volunteers and Students’ Union societies there was a great atmosphere and buzz around campus.

4.  Research Institutes

4.1  Institute for Policy Research

The new Director of the University's Institute for Policy Research (IPR) will be Nick Pearce, former Head of the Policy Unit at Number 10. Already a member of the IPR’s advisory board, his extensive policy experience and public profile will enable the Institute to further enhance its impact and forge deeper links between academic research and policy-makers. He will start his new role in December.

This year the IPR also launched a brand-new Professional Doctorate in Policy Research and Practice for established practitioners. The first cohort of students include individuals working in a variety of international and national policy settings, including for the UN.

4.2  Institute of Mathematical Innovation

A new Global Chair for the Institute of Mathematical Innovation has been appointed, Prof Jim Zidek. The Institute’s launch event will be on 28 October 2015 in the Assembly Rooms.

5.  Regulatory Environment

5.1  Quality Assessment Framework and Teaching Excellence Framework

On 29 June, HEFCE published a consultation to mark the second phase of a review of quality approaches which began in January of this year.  Feedback was sought on proposals to:

  • place the focus on information and data about student academic outcomes rather than quality systems and processes
  • strengthen the existing external examining system to protect the integrity of academic standards
  • enhance the role of universities’ and colleges’ own assurance systems.

The University submitted a response by the deadline of 18 September 2015. Further details

Proposals for a Teaching Excellence Framework are currently being developed by BIS on behalf of the Minister of HE, Jo Johnson. Input and discussion is taking place with representatives of the sector to inform a consultation as part of the wider Green Paper that the government intends to publish by mid-October. The Teaching Excellence Framework is intended to reward institutions where teaching is deemed to be of an exceptionally high standard, through an increase of student fee levels. The University will respond to the Green Paper and TEF in due course.

5.2  Teaching Qualifications

On 9 September 2015, the Universities Minister, Jo Johnson, gave a speech at the UUK Conference outlining “government plans to give students better value for money from their degrees by incentivising excellent teaching, greater transparency and ensuring student protection”:  This emphasis on teaching quality is the latest in a series of statements and initiatives signalling the intent of Government to provide additional reassurance for students that they are getting value for their tuition fees.  One of these initiatives has been a national move to capture information about the academic teaching qualifications held by teaching staff in universities.  HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) introduced a new field to capture information on academic teaching qualifications in 2012/13.  The University is currently taking steps to capture better data on the teaching qualifications for its 2014/15 HESA staff return.

5.3   UUK guidance on Competition and Markets Authority

Under UK competition law students are treated as consumers.  The Competition and Markets Authority issued in March 2015 advice for higher education providers which the University has been considering to ensure it is fully compliant.  ‘Which’ is also taking an interest in the higher education sector.  Universities have been notified that the CMA, based on intelligence from various sources, will be carrying out a review of universities’ compliance this month.  The focus of the CMA’s advice is on ensuring that clear information is provided to students when they decide to apply for a course and that changes to that information should only occur in circumstances which are limited and identified in advance with a reasonable degree of specificity.  The University has been taking action on these matters, drawing on UUK guidance which was recently published.  The University Secretary is leading on this work, with the support of the Legal Office, working closely with Faculty offices and other relevant staff.

5.4 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015: Prevent Duty

The Prevent Duty came into effect on 18 September, the day after its approval by the House of Lords.  The University Secretary has been chairing a task and finish group comprising academic and professional service colleagues to assess the implications of the Duty for the University. HEFCE has, as expected, now been designated as the monitoring authority.  The University is required to carry out a risk assessment and to consider various aspects of its new responsibility to avoid people from being drawn into terrorism.  Once this work is further advanced a report will be made to Senate and modest changes to the University’s Freedom of Expression Policy will come to Senate for consideration.

6. Internationalisation

6.1 International profile

The University has significantly improved its position in the QS World University Rankings and the THE World Rankings as mentioned above.

I travelled to South Africa at the end of September with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Internationalisation) in order to sign a new agreement with the South African Department for Higher Education and Training and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for the delivery of the School of Management Doctorate in Business Administration (Higher Education Management) (DBA (HEM)). This agreement will allow two cohorts of 27 South African senior academic and professional staff to enrol in the DBA (HEM). During my time in South Africa, I also visited the University’s Strategic Partner in South Africa, Stellenbosch University, as well as the University of Pretoria.

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Internationalisation) led a national delegation to Peru and Ecuador, in September, comprising 14 UK university senior representatives, on behalf of Universities UK.

6.2  International partnerships

A delegation from Koç University in Istanbul, led by Vice President Professor Dr İrşadi Aksun, visited the University in July to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with us. The new partnership with Koç University, a leading research institution in Turkey is the latest addition to the University’s very successful portfolio of International Strategic Partnerships.

The University also hosted a delegation from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) led by Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Dato’ Dr Muhamad Jantan. USM is one of Malaysia’s oldest research intensive public Universities.  The purpose of the visit was to explore the possibility of developing a strategic partnership and identify areas of mutual interest.

The University funded three projects this year under the Bath-FAPESP (Brazil). An additional nine projects were also awarded under the Bath Accelerating International Research Collaboration schemes for new initiatives involving University Strategic Partners. More details.

6.3  International Mobility

The University has been successful in three ERASMUS + applications for international credit mobility funding, a new strand of funding that has become available this year. The approved funding will allow students to benefit from ERASMUS+ travel grants when on exchange between Bath and a number of selected partners (Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, City University Hong Kong and National University of Singapore). Two further applications were submitted in September under the same funding scheme to support student mobility with the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa) and the Tecnologico de Monterrey (Mexico).

7.  Visits to Departments

Since my last report I have visited the busy venues of Campus Retail and Commercial Operations and also Research & Innovation Services.  In July I visited the Department of Social and Policy Sciences and the School of Management, which involved a tour of its sites at both ends of campus, including the new Executive Development Suite in The Edge. My last departmental visit of the academic year was to the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering.

8. Senate Elections

Dr Maria Garcia has been elected to Senate from 1st August 2015 to 31st July 2016 in the recent election to replace Dr Joanna Bryson who is on sabbatical this year.

9. Senior Academic Appointments

The following Heads of Department have been approved by Council:

Professor Chris Frost - Department of Chemistry from 1st August 2015 to 31st July 2018.

Dr Mary Hayden - re-appointed for Education to 31st July 2016.

Professor Chris Jennison - Mathematical Sciences from 1st August 2015 to 31st January 2016.

Professor Peter Mörters - Mathematical Sciences from 1st February 2016 to 31st January 2019.

Professor Gary Lock - Mechanical Engineering 1st August 2015 to 31st July 2018.

10. Other University News

I particularly wish to draw the attention of Council to the following developments since our previous meeting:

10.1 Recent significant grant awards include:

Description Funder Principal Investigator £Amount
GROWMOF Modelling of MOF Self-Assembly, Crustal Growth and Thin Film Formation European Research Council Professor Tina Duren 1,241,939
Improving Turbine Efficiency by Combining the Effects of Rim Seals and End-Wall Contours in the Presence of Purge Flow EPSRC Dr Carl Sangan 837,647
 tilisation of Albiglutide in Women of Child Bearing Age GlaxoSmithKline Services Unlimited Dr Anita McGrogan 250,372
XMOS - eXtended Model of Organics Semiconductors EU - Horizon 2020 Professor Alison Walker 508,393
Targeting Bed Reset-Induced Adipose Tissue Dysfunction with Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Nutrients BBSRC Professor Dylan Thompson 420,182
P2P SmarTest EU - Horizon 2020 Professor Furong Li 260,838
EXTREME EU - Horizon 2020 Professor Michele Meo 702,856
COLBE - The Creation of Localized Current and Future Weather for the Built Environment EPSRC Professor David Coley 614,628
Structure-function Studies on Human Angiotensin-l Converting Enzyme (Human ACE) MRC Professor Ravi Acharya 595,238
Delineating the Roles of NSun Proteins at the Onset of Mouse Embryogenesis MRC Dr Tony Perry  656,766
Development of an Infection Detecting Wound Dressing MRC  Dr Toby Jenkins 408,061
Fellow for Industrial Research Enhancement (FIRE) EU - Horizon 2020 Dr Janet L Scott 801,600
Fellow for Industrial Research Enhancement (FIRE) EU - Horizon 2020 Professor Philip Willis 801,600
Mechanically Decoupled Electric Turbocharger for Optimal IC Engines Efficiency Technology Strategy Board Dr Sam Akehurst 292,401
Hollow Anti-resonant Fibres for Visible and Ultraviolet Beam Delivery EPSRC Professor Jonathan Knight 345,155
Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship - Rational Design of Glassy Materials with Technological Applications The Royal Society Dr Anita Zeidler 469,203
REACT Study NIHR Dr Afroditi Stathi 958,422

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell
Vice-Chancellor

 

New Pro-Vice-Chancellor chairs LITEbox Technology Debate

  , ,

📥  On campus

The first LITEbox event of this semester starts with Professor Peter Lambert, the University’s new Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching), chairing a panel debate and round-table discussion about learning technologies on Thursday 15 October 2015 from 12.30pm to 1.30pm in 8 West 2.5. All staff are invited to attend.

A keen supporter of the Alumni-funded LITEbox initiative, Professor Peter Lambert said: “I am delighted to be chairing this event on behalf of the LITEbox team. I believe that developing the University’s use and take-up of new and existing technologies to support the key areas of our teaching and learning is an important aspect of my new role.

"This event is an excellent opportunity to both stimulate discussion, share ideas and gain input from staff to help inform our new Education Strategy for 2016 and beyond. I would encourage all staff with an interest in developing their teaching to attend.”

For more information on the session please visit the LITEbox blog.