Thursday, 12 June 2008
Senate meeting yesterday afternoon - 2 major discussion items. First was the on-going process around restructuring. All of the Faculty Pro Vice Chancellors are now in place, and the new University Executive Board (UEB) will take over on 1 August. UEB consists of the Vice Chancellor, 5 Faculty PVCs, the 3 cross-cutting PVCs (Teaching and Learning, Research and Innovation, and External Affairs), the Registrar, Director of Finance, Director of HR and Academic Secretary. More professional service reps than before (still no IS rep though but I'll keep working on it...). We're promised that there will be much more transparency of decision making - no inner cabinets, just a collective responsibility, which is a good thing. There's still a lot of work in progress around the role of the Faculties, including their governance structures, but this seems to be progressing well. I'm in the process of meeting all of the PVCs - I've had 3 very positive discussions so far - about how we might work in partnership with them to provide the most efficient, cost effective service to them, and add value to the support they already receive from their departmental staff.
Second item on the Senate agenda was the capital programme, with details of new buildings on the cards, as well as significant refurbishments. The most significant refurbishment is the Arts Tower. It's over 40 years old, and a Grade II listed building, and in drastic need of a lot of money spending on it! I wonder how many of you realise that it's inspired by the Seagram Building in New York - which has twice as many floors. The building will be gradually emptied over the next few months, (with the exception of the Estates Department who have bravely agreed to move into it during the works), and then the outside cladding will be replaced as well as an internal refurb of some of the floors.
Another two major refurbishments are Western Bank Library, and University House (Student's Union) which will have a significant amount of work done on it to create a variety of new spaces.
I've mentioned the concept of Learning Hub before, but rather tha a new build, we are currently looking at trasforming the Edwardian wing of the old Jessop Hospital into teaching space, including self help space for students for the English Language Teaching Centre and Modern Languages Teaching Centre. They will have to get rid of the dead pigeons first though!