Weekly update from the Vice-Chancellor - 15/07/2020

Posted in: Weekly Update

Dear colleague,

I hope this message finds you well. May I also thank all those who joined our latest virtual Town Hall earlier this week, both for your time and for your thoughtful questions. I am most grateful.

National Student Survey results

I want to extend my sincere thanks and congratulations to all those staff across the University who have played a part in helping achieve such positive results in the National Student Survey, the results of which were published today.

Overall satisfaction of Bath students is 88.3%, well above the UK average of 82.6% and a rise of 1.1% on last year’s survey results. For full time students studying their first degree in the UK, this means that Bath now ranks joint 7th nationally, and joint 2nd in England and best in the south west, tied with UWE. Further information is now on our staff homepage.

This is an outstanding achievement, especially given the challenges of this academic year, not least due to Covid-19 and the rapid switch to online delivery of teaching.

Plans for the 2020/21 academic year

There has been much activity in the student experience work stream and plans are advancing. I am so grateful for all the hard work and careful planning taking place. Key points in relation to welcoming new students include:

  • We have a healthy level of applications for accommodation from both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Now that the application guarantee deadline has passed, we are confident that all successful applicants who have applied for accommodation can be housed by the University.
  • Students will be supported in University accommodation by 34 newly recruited Student Living Ambassadors. They will collaborate with the SU, Student Services and Ahs to ensure that student welfare and wellbeing are supported.
  • Registration will take place between 7 and 14 September. Once registered, students will have access to all our University systems, library resources and Moodle.
  • From 14 September onwards, students will be able to access the Jisc discovery tool, which will allow them to explore their digital capabilities and be directed to help and support where necessary.
  • The Student Experience project team will continue to engage with Departments to plan and co-ordinate welcome and induction activity.
  • Extended induction will continue to be delivered online throughout Semester 1 as in normal years. If social distancing allows, we may be able to deliver an in-person component too.

Further information from all work streams will be available in the next operational update.

Health and safety measures for our community

Of course, the health, wellbeing and safety of all our staff and our students is a priority in our plans for this summer and the next academic year. We are implementing social distancing guidelines, altering room layouts, applying rotas and one-way systems where possible, and installing hand sanitiser at entrances and exits to buildings. You will see new signage across campus which will provide clear information about these changes. We are also developing guidance for both students and staff about what we can all do to keep each other safe.

Carrying over annual leave 

Our current policy is that the number of hours of annual leave staff could carry over to the next leave year is a maximum of 36.5 hours, pro-rated for part time staff. We recognise how important it is for staff to take leave to manage their wellbeing but some staff are finding it difficult to take their full leave allowance in this year given the demands upon their time in these exceptional circumstances.

At the virtual Town Hall meetings and in other fora, we have listened to a number of requests to increase this limit and we have now done so.

For this year only, you can now carry over a maximum of 73 hours (10 days) into the next year of holiday entitlement, or the pro-rated amount for part time staff.

We are happy to listen and respond to these requests, but would ask that colleagues do try to take regular breaks over the summer, whenever they are able, for their own wellbeing.

A “thank you” from colleagues at the Royal United Hospital (RUH)

I wanted to share with you another kind letter from the local community, this time from the RUH. Previously, I’ve spoken about the wonderful work members of the University have done in producing PPE. In addition, our operational staff in Ahs have been doing a superb job in providing free accommodation for frontline health workers at the John Wood Building in central Bath. My congratulations to Jane Loveys and the accommodation and security teams, both for helping NHS workers and for giving us yet another reason to be proud of our community. Thank you.

With warm good wishes,

Professor Ian White
Vice-Chancellor and President

Posted in: Weekly Update


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