Weekly update from the Vice-Chancellor - 08/07/2022

Posted in: Weekly Update

Dear colleague,

National Student Survey
My last update was focussed on our inaugural Research Culture Week and associated activity. This time, our excellence in education is back in the spotlight.

Earlier this week, the results of the 2022 National Student Survey were published and I am delighted that we have retained our position as 1st in England when you compare us with similar Higher Education institutions (those listed in the Guardian University Guide). For us to have achieved this for two years running, particularly given the challenges the pandemic has brought, is truly outstanding. A key improvement this year has been that none of the survey sections were ranked as below the benchmark to a statistically significant level and scores in 8 of the 9 sections are above the benchmark to a degree that is statistically significant.

The fact that this survey is based on the feedback of final year undergraduate students, and that we had a response rate of 80% of these students (11 percentage points above the sector average) makes it even more special.

To put it simply: I could not be more proud of our community. Congratulations to our academic colleagues and all those involved in supporting our students, on this deserved recognition.

Graduate Outcomes Survey
I was also delighted to learn of the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey which tracks graduates 15 months after they finish their studies. Key findings from national data for 2019/20 graduates are that 92.9% of Bath’s full-time UK domiciled first-degree graduates, working in the UK, are in high-skilled employment 15 months after leaving compared to just 73% for similar graduates from all UK Higher Education Providers. This places Bath between Oxford and Cambridge which have similar percentages (92.4% and 93.1% respectively) and markedly above all of our comparator group of universities.

Next Dean of Humanities & Social Sciences
I am really pleased we can announce that Professor Deborah Wilson will be joining us as the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences from 1 October 2022, following approval by Council.

Professor Wilson is currently a Professor of Public Policy and Management in the School of Management at the University of Bristol and Deputy Dean at Bristol’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Law.

My thanks to Professor David Galbreath for all he has done for the Faculty and the University. I’m also very grateful that Deputy Dean, Professor Joe Devine, will be Acting Dean from 1 August until Professor Wilson arrives.

Work and wellbeing survey
As you may have seen, our latest survey is now open, with a deadline for responses of 19 July. We have found the responses and feedback really valuable when discussing plans at University Executive Board, and I’d encourage you to take part. Thank you.

Cost of living
It is clear that inflation and other increases in the cost of living are putting pressure on individuals and households. We are particularly concerned about the effect of this on colleagues whose remuneration is at the lower end of the pay scale. As a matter of priority, we are reviewing what steps we might take and we will seek to make an announcement about this in the coming days.

Hybrid working
This year has seen a pilot of hybrid working for those colleagues in office-based roles within professional services. From the review conducted by colleagues in HR, we know there are some benefits to this way of working and some challenges too.

We will be continuing with hybrid working and will be briefing Heads of Department early next week about the framework being adopted and considerations for the future, with a wider staff communication to follow very shortly thereafter.

When I re-joined the University of Bath in 2019 and listened carefully to conversations in our engagement exercise Our University, Our Future, what was clear to me was how deeply people valued our sense of community here. Looking ahead, we will have to establish ways of working that maintain and enhance our community, that enable those informal conversations and information-sharing.

Finally, turning to sport, more than 30 Bath students, alumni and Bath-based athletes will be competing at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The 2022 Games will take place at venues across the West Midlands from 28th July to 7th August and we wish these athletes every success.

I would like to congratulate Team Bath Netball on their 2022 Vitality Superleague campaign which finished on a high with the team winning bronze. In particular I am delighted that Layla Guscoth was named the league’s overall Player of the Season. May I wish them an excellent coming season.

With best wishes,

Professor Ian White
Vice-Chancellor and President

Posted in: Weekly Update


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