Wednesday, 5 December 2007


Today was a meeting of the Senate. Senate is the body which oversees and approves all academic recommendations, for example about teaching and learning, research and academic structures.

The main item of today’s meeting was the report of the Senate Steering Group, which was proposing changes to the structure of the university – I’ve already reported what these are:
  • Keep the existing 5 faculties
  • Departments to be in one Faculty only, and to decide in conjunction with the Faculties where they sit - this may evolve over time
  • 5 Faculty PVCS – Academic leaders who provide external representation, and are budget holders for the Faculty
  • 3 University-wide PVCs – Teaching and Learning, Research, External Matters (regional, national international)
  • A University Executive Board consisting of the 8 PVCs, the VC and representatives of the Professional services

The UEB will propose budgets for the whole University, which will be approved by a University Development Committee which will be a committee of the Senate.

Some details are still being worked on - where departments sit, membership of the UDC etc.

There was a lively discussion at Senate, covering areas including:
  • How professional services will align to the faculties, and it was confirmed that there was no intention to break up the services, but some alignment would be necessary
  • Cross faculty collaboration
  • How consistency will be applied across faculties, and how examples of good practice we currently have must not be discarded.
  • Governance in faculties – will there be common principles?

Senate approved the report and further work on the detail will now be continued. In terms of consultation, there will be open meetings, VC surgeries, and a webcast from the VC.

Another matter which came up was our recent implementation of new Finance, Payroll and HR systems. Although technically the implementation has gone very well, there are still problems with some business processes, particularly with purchasing. Meetings have been held with all Faculties where a number of problems have been noted and are being worked on. Matters discussed included payment of invoices, payments through the external payroll, future developments and training.

One other thing discussed which might be of interest included MASH – Maths and Statistics Help. A new service for students.

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