Vice-Chancellor's Office

Updates and events both on and off campus

Message from the Vice-Chancellor: June 2016

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📥  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


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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 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


Let's Talk recording now available online


📥  Let's Talk

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

The Arts Lecture Theatre was full to capacity and 290 people tuned in to watch the event online.

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

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

Dame Glynis introduced the main presentations, which saw Professor Jonathan Knight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) talk about the new project to develop our doctoral provision. This was followed by Diane Aderyn, Director of Finance & Commercial Services, who gave a detailed overview of the new developments on Campus and in the City that will significantly increase the space available on campus.

There will be more detail on both these areas published online in the coming days.

There were plenty of follow up questions from the room on a range of subjects from the challenges for professional postgraduates to the impact of Brexit.

This meant that there wasn’t time to cover your questions submitted in advance this time, but if you sent one in, you will receive a response soon and the Q&As will be posted online shortly.

Many colleagues stayed for refreshments after the meeting and took the opportunity to talk with senior managers and view the display of plans for Manvers Street and the Milner Centre.

We will be holding another Let’s Talk meeting in the autumn and we look forward to seeing you there.


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


Driving the UK’s automotive excellence

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📥  Representing the University

Myself and colleagues from the University recently met Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid, where we presented the latest developments in the University’s plans to build a new automotive research centre at the Bristol & Bath Science Park.

In what was a highly positive meeting, in which we were also joined by local MPs Ben Howlett and Chris Skidmore, Mr Javid was encouraged by the proposals we presented.

The Government and industry is already working together on researching and developing low carbon propulsion and driverless cars technology. However, Mr Javid recognised more could be done to help universities and industry collaborate to ensure the UK has the right skills for a 21st century automotive industry.

Enhancing the UK automotive sector's competitive edge

Our ambition at the University is to build a unique £50m facility that would deliver transformational research for new advanced automotive propulsion technologies. By combining the expertise of academia and industry and working closely with SMEs and multinational companies, the proposed facility would enhance the UK’s competitive edge in the automotive sector.

The European and global automotive market is highly competitive but we believe this facility would put the UK in the driving seat in creating a new breed of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Local and national benefits

Locally, the proposed project would bring in new investment and thousands of highly skilled advanced engineering jobs to the West of England, as well as providing state-of-the-art facilities that will benefit a range of industry-led collaborations. It would also have educational value, delivering new undergraduate/masters and PhD training opportunities, helping to upskill the current workforce to support the expansion of the automotive propulsion industry.

On a national level, the facility would build on links with the National Composites Centre which is based at the Science Park. Combining new materials and new technologies would make a powerful combination. It would also play an important role in the Government’s Propulsion Nation vision which aims to deliver world-leading technologies, as part of its strategy to support the automotive sector.

Building on decades of success

The University of Bath has a longstanding record for delivering world-class automotive research, and we feel we are best placed to lead on the creation and establishment of such an exciting and significant research facility. For over four decades, our highly regarded Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre (PVRC) has been conducting prize-winning automotive research and has delivered nearly 100 business-led experimental projects worth £24m over the last 20 years.

Only recently, the University was recognised as one of the UK’s leading automotive propulsion groups, having been selected as a Spoke of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). As an APC Spoke, Bath will form a centre of excellence bringing specific functional, technological and regional capability to the APC network. This proposed new facility would help us build on this momentum.

We have been very encouraged by the support from industry and political leaders. We will now work hard to turn this opportunity into reality.

Pictured (left to right): Ben Howlett MP, Director of Research & Innovation Services, Dr Jon Hunt; Chris Skidmore MP; Secretary of State, Sajid Javid; Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Design, Professor Gary Hawley; Vice President (Implementation), Steve Egan.

Pictured (left to right): Ben Howlett MP, Director of Research & Innovation Services, Dr Jon Hunt; Chris Skidmore MP; Secretary of State, Sajid Javid; Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Design, Professor Gary Hawley; Vice President (Implementation), Steve Egan.


VC visit to Marketing & Communications

📥  Visits to departments

Having reported on the Vice-Chancellor's 30 previous departmental visits, as the team who organise the schedule, it was now our turn.

We ran through a familiar range of emotions. Initial nervousness at the glare of the spotlight evaporated as we saw the opportunity to talk directly with the Vice-Chancellor about what we do and to celebrate our achievements.

We have a wide range of expertise from market research to event management, so our aim was for as many of our colleagues as possible to talk to Dame Glynis. Our preparations shifted up a gear as the date approached: Gail Gillespie took charge of ensuring our work was on display. Laura, Wessex House Floor 4’s dedicated cleaner, had the place looking spotless.

Tim Kaner started proceedings with a snapshot of recent successes across the Department and plans to support the new Strategy.

First up were Imaging, Design & Print Services (IDPS) who in addition to managing the print unit, produce everything from exhibition stands to leaflets.


The VC meets some of the team from IDPS

Louise Scattergood introduced Dame Glynis to the team who talked about planning for Open Day and, in between demonstrating - with the Vice-Chancellor’s help - book binding and the image library, described how they ensure they deliver 99.9% of 2 million items a year on time.

A major focus of our work is to help attract the highest calibre students, so CRM Officer Graham Hackney described how the tools newly developed by the Applicant CRM project team will enhance our communications with potential students and provide valuable insight to support recruitment. Marketing Officer Maree Perkins then outlined plans for the Departmental Open Days which were taking place the following Saturday.


Maree Perkins describes plans for the forthcoming Departmental Open Days

Reflecting the importance of raising the profile of our academic research, Andy Dunne, Research Marketing Manager, spoke about the upsurge in authorship and readership of articles supplied by our academics for The Conversation and the Press team - Alison Jones, Vicky Just and Rob Breckon – explained how they work with external media to generate international coverage of the University’s activities.

The Internal Communications team then gave a quick tour of the staff and student news channels they manage when not coordinating the Vice-Chancellor’s visits or organising the Let’s Talk meetings.

The focus of the Public Engagement Unit is to support the academic community to engage others with their research. Helen Featherstone, joint Head, and Ed Stevens, Public Engagement Officer, discussed embedding this approach within the UG curriculum using the ‘Communicating Physics’ module.

Our Digital team then showcased their work to modernise the University’s website and make it more mobile-friendly. Richard Prowse, Head of Content, and Phil Wilson, Technical Architect, invited Dame Glynis to launch an upgrade to the website. Having been reassured that the website would still work, she was entertained by the enthusiastic roar from the diminutive Dragon of Deployment which greets every improvement delivered by the team. With advice from Miao He, Dame Glynis then posted an item on the University’s sina weibo page.


Dame Glynis meets the Dragon of Deployment

As we all regrouped for cake - to Dame Glynis’ delight ringed with Flakes - she said: “It has been fascinating to see the range of what you do. It is essential to do this and to do it well. Thank you, I don’t know where we’d be without you.”

We packed a lot in, but the chance to discuss our work directly with the Vice-Chancellor was something each of us valued, and hope you get to on your visit.


The department regroups for tea and cake with the VC



VC sees Careers Service in action


📥  Visits to departments

The Vice-Chancellor and Tracey Wells, Head of the Careers Service, started off the VC’s latest visit with a look at the Service in action. The Sprint programme, which builds students’ confidence and helps them achieve their professional ambitions, had attracted 43 female undergraduates who were now filling the room in The Chancellors' Building.

Dame Glynis watches female student make presentations as part of the Sprint Training Programme

Dame Glynis watches female student make presentations as part of the Sprint Training Programme

After observing groups presenting to a panel made up of sponsors including Axa, Microsoft and Arup, Dame Glynis said: “It is wonderful to see so many talented and determined young women together in a room moving forward.”

First-year Psychology student Noor Khatijah Zafirah said: “I don’t like giving presentations, so it was good to be made to do it. The community that has been created here is really good.”

Then it was off to the Careers Service in Norwood House to meet the team.

The VC meets members of the Careers Service who are now based at our building in Manvers Street

The VC meets members of the Careers Service

Dr Ghislaine Dell, Careers Adviser, said: “There is so much to talk about that we’re proud of, from the big events like Employer Fairs to personal moments like a student coming to us feeling very anxious and leaving us confident.”

Tracey spoke about the future work of the team and highlighted some new activities including the pilot GW4 Careers Fair in Shanghai last year and the aim of holding an additional one in Beijing this year.

The team also discussed their ideas on how they wanted to support the new University Strategy and contribute their expertise, especially in growing the postgraduate offer.

Dame Glynis congratulated the team on their successes in helping students secure careers with a wide range of employers: “We have a high calibre of students at Bath but, of course, this wouldn’t be possible without you.”

“In the short term the move to Manvers Street will mean the challenge of keeping the show on the road, but the facilities there are great and you will be at the forefront of significant change for us as a university.”


Visit by the Chilean Ambassador

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📥  Internationalisation, Representing the University

On Monday 8 February we welcomed the Ambassador of Chile in the UK to campus. The Ambassador visited us to learn more about our current collaborations with Chile and to establish how the Embassy and the University work together in the region.

Ambassador Rolando Drago was welcomed by Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Internationalisation) Professor Colin Grant and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) Professor Peter Lambert, both of whom have a keen interest in Latin America.

Colleagues from SAMBa, Bath IMI, CSCT, the Milner Centre for Evolution, IPR and PoLIS met with the Ambassador to discuss their current links with Chile.


Bath academics discuss their links with Chile with the Ambassador.

Professor Andreas Kyprianou and Dr Gavin Shaddick from the Department of Mathematical Sciences talked about their recent trip to Chile on behalf of SAMBa.

Dr Leslie Wehner and Dr Juan Pablo Ferrero discussed their research interests in Latin America, Dr Wehner expects to launch a Latin America Centre on campus this year.

Following a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor, the Ambassador met with students from Chile. It was a great chance for His Excellency to talk to them about why they chose to study in the UK and what brought them to Bath.

Professor Grant led an International Unit delegation to Chile and Argentina in 2014 to explore collaboration possibilities with other UK higher education institutions.

He commented: “On our visit to Chile in 2014, we were treated to warm hospitality and a series of very productive meetings, so I was pleased to be able to repay the Ambassador by hosting his visit to us.

“Chile is a rapidly growing country with a vibrant academic community, so to cement our existing relationship and discuss developing it further at such a senior level is very gratifying.”


The Vice-Chancellor meets Ambassador Rolando Drago