Weekly update from the Vice-Chancellor - 27/08/2020

Posted in: Weekly Update

Dear colleague,

Recent days have seen universities once more in the public eye, with the changing arrangements for finalising A Level grades. May I start by thanking you all for the hard work and efforts which mean that we will be starting the new academic year with a full cohort. The recruitment of well-qualified students who will benefit from the education that we offer is something which requires a great deal of effort on the part of a very large number of people, and I am most grateful for it. In particular may I thank all those in the Admissions Office for their hard work, and particularly for their professional and diligent response to the more difficult circumstances in which we have found ourselves this year.

New and returning students will be arriving on campus in less than a month. In line with our roadmap to reopening, work is taking place at an accelerated pace to ensure we are ready to welcome more students and staff back on campus in a Covid-secure environment.

Plans for the 2020/21 academic year

As those of you currently working on campus will have seen, more changes to our spaces are now taking place, including:

  • Signage is being rolled out across campus, including on social distancing, one way systems and marking hand sanitiser stations.
  • Work is taking place to improve pedestrian flow around campus, following modelling, to help create safe routes between University buildings.
  • Preparation of student accommodation is on track, including the work to install additional hand basins.
  • More space is opening up, including Level 2 of the Library.

On transport, discussions with First bus and others continue, to ensure we have Covid-secure and reliable options for our community. We’re pleased that the previous U2 route will be served with a replacement service (number 20) as we know this is important to both staff and students.

Colleagues in the Student Experience workstream have made good progress in a number of key areas, including:

  • Implementing a system enabling students to book study space and other activity which will provide a good service to our students as well as helping us manage overall numbers on campus.
  • Working closely with staff and the SU to complete a comprehensive set of plans about how we will deliver extra-curricular activities and services, from sports and arts to clubs and societies, wellbeing services to Library operations. This has been a significant endeavour.
  • Much thought and planning is going into the welcome that we provide, particularly for our first year students. While we recognise that this will not have the usual format of Welcome Week, we are confident nonetheless of welcoming our new students in a fitting and friendly manner. We trust that they will quickly make friends, settle to their studies and feel at home.

You may have also seen the new Be Well, Talk Now service which was launched this week to our Doctoral students and will be available to all new and continuing students. This will help us give enhanced out-of-hours support, support in multiple languages and support from trained advisors from diverse backgrounds.

There will be a real focus on our University buildings on campus and in town over the coming weeks, as well as significant activity to ensure colleagues have clarity on their working arrangements. Look out for communication from your line-manager regarding these matters.

May I also thank those who were involved in sending out approximately 8500 emails to students informing them of plans for the courses this year. This was a major activity spanning the academic departments, registry, and marketing in addition to those involved in the resilient curriculum project team. I pay much tribute to them all.

Engaging with our local community

We continue to engage closely with our local Council, local health authorities and with colleagues at Bath Spa University and in Bath College about the start of the academic year.

Professor Bernie Morley, our Deputy Vice-Chancellor, this week joined a webinar for local residents to outline our plans and the steps we have taken to ensure a Covid-secure environment. This engagement is really important so we can work with the city to welcome students back. We will also be engaging with everyone in our University community, including students, about how we can best help to keep the wider local community safe.

Bank Holiday weekend

Finally, may I take this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work over recent weeks, under the most demanding of circumstances. Please accept my best wishes for the Bank Holiday weekend.

With warm good wishes,

Professor Ian White
Vice-Chancellor and President

Posted in: Weekly Update


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