Vice-Chancellor's Office

Updates and events both on and off campus

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.

zebra-fish-embryo

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.”

vc-acregistry

 

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.

vc-timetabling

 

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.

vc-seal

 

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.”

 

A message from the VC following the EU Referendum result

  ,

📥  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

 

VC visits Development & Alumni Relations

  ,

📥  Visits to departments

It was the turn of Gavin Maggs, Director of Development & Alumni Relations, to escort Dame Glynis, the President & Vice-Chancellor, to the East Building for her latest visit, and a look behind the scenes of events where she is usually centre stage.

Martin Cornish, Alumni Communications Officer, introduced a discussion on how they manage an event from inception to finish.

With the purpose decided - be it fundraising, stewardship or engagement – Andreea Stangu, Prospect Research Officer, described how her team works with academic colleagues to help create the guest list, Sarah Kilgallon, International Events Assistant, covered managing invites and Zoe Whitten, Events Assistant, talked about the all-important details like seating plans.

Dame Glynis discusses event planning with staff in Development & Alumni Relations

Dame Glynis discusses event planning with staff in Development & Alumni Relations

Kirsten Buckley, Head of Corporate Partnerships, focussed on the post event follow up, such as the 15 new meetings arranged after the Department’s recent Windsor Castle event and Martin wrapped up describing how he publicised the event to our 100,000 alumni by email, on Twitter and in print.

Kirsten then offered Dame Glynis a virtual tour of Raiser’s Edge, the database of detailed information on alumni and donors. Every interaction with an individual is recorded alongside biographical information to build up a complete picture of their relationship with the University.

The power of this data was brought to the fore when Dame Glynis stepped into the Telethon call centre.

Liz Foot, Fundraising Officer, explained how Raiser’s Edge data was used to match student callers to alumni by identifying connections such as degree or society, to create conversations that as well as raising money, offer opportunities to make connections and for careers advice.

Alex Joseph, Senior Student Caller, described recruiting and training the student callers for the 303 shifts that raised £221,000 last year over, and Kit Stone, Data & Analytics Officer, unpicked how profiling and prediction modelling helped the most suitable alumni to approach.

Everyone then gathered for tea and cakes, with the Vice-Chancellor complimenting Chris Andrews, Departmental Administrator, on her outstanding orange polenta cake.

Dame Glynis said: “The £66million Look Further campaign fundraising target is ambitious. But I know you, and we, will achieve it. It is a clear demonstration of how you are enabling the Strategy and its transformational change of the University.

“I am asking you to maintain the momentum, not just to demonstrate the impact of the campaign but because it will build a platform for the next stage and where you go next.”

A useful Q&A session was rounded off by Dan Graves, Alumni Relations Assistant and fervent Leicester City FC fan, with the question of the moment - what does the University have to learn from their success?

Dame Glynis said: “I was just in South Africa with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester so, as you can imagine, I heard a great deal about this.

“It shows what you can achieve by working strongly as a team and getting the whole community behind you. You need determination, consistency - and you can’t worry about what everyone else says about you.”

 

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

 

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

 

 

VC explores possible collaborations in Germany

  , ,

📥  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.

vc-berlin350

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.

 

Message from the Vice-Chancellor: June 2016

  , , , , , ,

📥  Messages

We are operating at a time when the external HE policy environment is on the cusp of significant change. The HE White Paper, published on 16 May, proposes an Office for Students to replace HEFCE and incorporate OFFA as well as the much-anticipated introduction of a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). The seven research councils will be brought together in a new body called UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), with revised funding arrangements and an increased emphasis on interdisciplinary research.

This could be one of the most important moments for HE policy since the 1990s.  The HE Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech on 18 May, will reinforce the messages of the White Paper.  The new TEF, the opening up of the market to new providers and the requirement for more information to be published on application, offer and progression rates will all serve to increase competition.

All of these changes will have a significant impact on our core activities and we cannot afford to stand still.   It is reassuring, therefore, that we are already moving ahead with a strategy that makes the most of the changing environment.

We aim to establish the University as an international centre of excellence in innovative graduate education. Our ambition is to grow the critical mass of the research we conduct and to continue to enhance the quality of the student experience we offer.

To achieve our ambitions in graduate education, we need to develop our postgraduate portfolio. With our solid basis of delivering an excellent undergraduate student experience, we are in the best possible place to do this. We need to take steps to ensure our curriculum is always informed by the best thinking in the relevant field and well attuned to the evolving needs of those who see how continuing their studies will enhance their future prospects.

Our new strategy envisages a University which is innovative in its modes of delivery.  Many of you are actively pursuing initiatives which will lead to new academic programmes, more flexible and agile working processes or enhanced technological infrastructure. I anticipate we will see more examples of success like the unique doctoral training programme we are delivering in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in South Africa which is already gaining excellent feedback both from its first cohort of students and their sponsors. Our new facility in London will provide a base from which we can further develop our international profile, enhance the impact of our research and expand our executive education offer.

Those of you who attended, or viewed, the recent Let’s Talk meeting will have already heard how plans for a Doctoral College – or something similar - are developing and how the University’s investments in the city and on campus will increase our teaching and research capacity by 9.75% and student learning space by 20%.  We have secured 354 additional bed spaces for our next student intake and postgraduate students will soon be able to make use of the ‘graduate commons’ space on the top two floors of the new 10 West building. Work is progressing fast on 4ES which will enable the expansion of the Faculty of Engineering and Design and provide a new home for Computing Services.  Developments such as the new Independent Learning Centre in Manvers Street and the Milner Centre which will soon be a reality. Planning permission is being sought for new student accommodation on campus.

Whilst there remains much work to do to ensure effective implementation of our new strategy, I have been impressed by the energy which has already gone into planning our next steps and you will have a further opportunity to contribute to the discussion shortly.  The positive feedback from colleagues to date indicates that you feel we are moving in the right direction and I would like to thank you for your continuing support.

In the almost 50 years since our foundation, this University has worked together to achieve great things. Our rich heritage of invention, enterprise and international engagement and the vibrant, diverse community we have become provide a firm foundation for our future.

We might have started life as a University on a hill overlooking Bath but our influence and physical presence now extend far beyond Claverton Down. The outlines of the next chapter of our story are already taking shape.

Thank you,
Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signatureProfessor Dame Glynis Breakwell DBE DL
Vice-Chancellor

 

VC visits Student Services

  ,

📥  Visits to departments

To get the latest VC visit underway Anthony Payne, Head of Student Services, and his management team met Dame Glynis for a ‘big picture’ look at the advice and support they offer our students, from help with visas to counselling.

Barbara Furnival, Disability Service Manager, who joined us in March, described how 10% of our undergraduates have a disability, attracted by our compact campus and the support on offer.

vc-st-servs-roper550

The VC meets staff who work in the 4W Roper Student Services Centre

Fellow new arrival Andrew Ayers, Counselling & Mental Health Services Manager, spoke about how his team helps students normalise the ups and downs of student life while providing specialist support for complex mental health issues.

Catherine Bailey, Operations and Student Money Advice Manager, gave an overview of their ‘whole person approach’ that ensures coordinated support and case management.

Dame Glynis then popped into the 4W Roper Student Services Centre to hear from Emma Nash, Acting Operations Team Leader and Angela Toms, Student Adviser, about the front of house student services.

vc-st-servs-pc550

Jessica Scott describes the provision we offer international students.

Jessica Scott, Team Leader for International Student Advice, took Dame Glynis into one of the soundproof ‘pods’ to talk about the advice and support the team offers international students.

Across The Parade in the new 1W Student Services area, Susan Fielding, Team Leader for Disability Advice, described the service’s impact using the hypothetical example of ‘Jo’, a AAA student with a mild visual disability. Susan ran through the support and adjustments that would be put in place for Jo, both before her arrival and once she had started studying.

Hayley Mutchell, Student Mental Health Worker, elaborated on Jo’s story and explained how counselling and support would increase Jo’s mental resilience to help her through her transition into student life.

vc-st-servs-cake550

Dame Glynis chats to Student Services staff over tea and cake after her visit

The whole department, minus the few who kept the service running, then gathered to chat with Dame Glynis over tea, coffee and cake.

Dame Glynis said: “Thank you for your time today, you have given me a real insight into the valuable support that you provide for our students.”