Access and participation plans
Attracting talented students from a diverse range of backgrounds continues to be a priority for us here at Bath. Our Access and Participation Plan has been approved by the Office for Students to cover the five year period from 2021 to 2025 and I know many teams and departments across the University are involved in its delivery. Meeting the five targets relating to undergraduate admissions and on-course student success are a key element in the University’s regulatory right to offer degrees, as well as ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of the University.
It’s fair to say that the Covid pandemic has brought additional challenges to our efforts to reach out to, and attract, groups underrepresented in higher education. I’m therefore grateful to colleagues in the UG Admissions and Outreach department for developing plans to enhance our efforts to recruit this summer, including support for offer holders and prospective students from widening participation backgrounds to visit the University in person. These plans and the associated budget were approved at our last University Executive Board meeting and I’d like to thank all those involved in hosting visitors over the summer and giving them a warm welcome to our campus.
Summer at Bath activities
As the restrictions continue to ease and the weather warms, we are planning activities for both staff and students on campus, in line with the Government’s roadmap.
Staff activities are based on the feedback you gave us in the earlier survey and will include BBQs, wellbeing, health and fitness activities, walking tours of campus and more. Colleagues are working on detailed arrangements, including booking systems, and more information on ‘Summer at Bath’ will be available in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I know many colleagues are making use of the facilities and catering outlets already available for seated service and take away, and the Parade Bar & Grill terrace opens for table service today.
Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) survey
Thank you to those who contributed to the USS staff meeting last week, and to the 679 people who responded to our survey. We are now looking at the feedback in detail and will be discussing our response to Universities UK with the Trades Unions and Council before responding later in May. We will provide further feedback next month.
Achievements since ‘Our University, Our Future’ engagement exercise
As we move towards launching our new University Strategy 2021-26, it is worth pausing to reflect on what we have achieved, together, over the last 12 months. Of course, there have been so many individual and collective successes, it’s impossible to summarise the richness and breadth of them all. However, this video reflects many of the key areas you, our colleagues, and our students and alumni, raised during the ‘Our University, Our Future’ engagement exercise.
As you can see, some work has progressed in spite of the pandemic, and some initiatives have accelerated in response to it. My sincere thanks to all those who have contributed to these successes in truly extraordinary circumstances.
Recognising Professor Bernie Morley’s achievements
As you know, Bernie will be officially retiring at the end of May and we will be recognising his achievements and wide-ranging contributions to the University life beforehand. We are intending to thank him in a range of ways, one of the first being through a virtual card which will be circulated in the next couple of weeks so colleagues can add their memories and best wishes. Everyone is most welcome to contribute to this.
Finally, my congratulations to Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh for being included in the Reuters Hot List of the world’s top climate scientists.
With warm good wishes for the bank holiday weekend,
Professor Ian White
Vice-Chancellor and President