Weekly update from the Vice-Chancellor - 10/07/2020

Posted in: Weekly Update

Dear colleague,

I hope this message finds you well and able to enjoy some benefits from the easing of restrictions on movement and meeting. It has been a pleasure to see the campus continuing to open up with more people able to come in to work, and local residents also able to benefit from walks on our beautiful site and the provision of excellent refreshments from The Hut.

Summer restarts

The Summer Priority Restarts Group has been working hard with Faculties to reopen laboratories, following risk assessments and with relevant health measures in place. In addition, they have been working on the following:

  • Opening up other areas of campus to allow for key activities such as confirmation and clearing and the production of degree certification.
  • Liaising with both the Library to introduce a 'Click & Collect' service and with Imaging, Design & Print Services to bring back a print service for students.
  • Co-ordinating with colleagues in the Sports Training Village who are making preparations to ensure we are ready for any Government announcements in relation to gyms and sports activity.

In addition, Dr Nicky Kemp is liaising with Heads of Department to start to consider how other University business that cannot be satisfactorily progressed by working from home might be accommodated on campus. I’m very grateful indeed for the work of colleagues in these professional services, and also in Estates, Safety, Health & Employee Wellbeing, and DDaT, for enabling a rapid roll out of activities.

Plans for the 2020/21 academic year

Plans are progressing well for the next academic year and I am so grateful for the hard work in adapting our ways of working and navigating the many challenges we face. Highlights from recent work include:

  • Curriculum: Academic Departments have now returned details to the Bath Resilient Curriculum project team about how they intend to deliver programmes next year. It is clear that a huge amount of work has gone into these and this will enable further decisions to be made on timetabling and use of space on campus. Typically, each student will receive at least four hours of ‘in person’ learning per week, which could include personal tutoring, laboratory work, peer-to-peer learning, design tutoring, unit-level tutorials and broader programme-level sessions. In addition, each student will typically receive two hours of live online (synchronous) teaching per six-credit unit per week.
  • Digital skills: We have approved some fixed term roles to support academic staff with their move to online teaching. These roles for “Instructional Designers” will be advertised shortly and it is hoped that they may be of interest to colleagues considering a secondment, or recent graduates. These posts will be based and line-managed by the Faculties, School and Skills Centre, but will be trained and receive advice and support from the Centre for Learning and Teaching. I am also most grateful to DDaT for their hard work in ensuring that enhanced software will be available for next year, facilitating remote access to specialist software and also considering additional security measures given the growing threats to cybersecurity, particularly with more remote working.
  • Welcoming our students: timelines for the next academic year are beginning to firm up, with student arrivals taking place from 17-22 September and welcome and induction from 23-25 September 2020.
  • Campus: The Campus Carrying Capacity project team has advanced their work in mapping the capacity of rooms on campus and the team is also exploring whether we can secure additional space in Bath.

Next virtual Town Hall meeting

Thanks to all those who joined us for the June town hall meetings. Colleagues can access recordings of the 4 June and 11 June events on our webpages if you missed them.

You should have already received an invitation for our next meeting, which is on Monday 13 July from 13.15-14.15, and I hope that many of you can join us.

We are also planning to hold an event next month for those who are able to attend on 20 August (11.15-12.15) to provide an opportunity for updates and questions. An invitation will be circulated shortly.

Production milestone for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Thank you to all those members of our community who have been working hard since March to make PPE for frontline healthcare workers in the city. The team of 60 people from the Faculty of Engineering & Design and across the University has now made over 100,000 pieces of PPE including face shields and eye protectors.

Colleagues at the Royal United Hospital and elsewhere have expressed their deep gratitude and remarked on the difference this vital equipment has made to their work. Many congratulations on this remarkable milestone.

Sports success

I'm sure you'll want to join me in congratulating two of our students, Di Bevan and Amelie Green, who have been selected for the England Universities hockey squad. This is a wonderful achievement for them both.

With warm good wishes,

Professor Ian White
Vice-Chancellor and President

Posted in: Weekly Update


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