Lots of meetings yesterday - is there such a thing as a pre-Christmas meeting rush? First was with the Faculty of Arts and was one of our strategic liaison meetings. Discussion was around our main service areas - support for learning and teaching, research and communication and collaboration. We identified some priorities for further work and discussion, including the area of space utilisation and timetabling. They offer many degree programmes, with a high number of dual degrees, and finding enough space and with the right equipment is an issue for them. Currently we have a timetabler in each department, and the rather sophisticated software we have is used mainly as a room allocation system. At our Programme Board meeting yesterday we agreed to establish a new project to look at moving to a more central timetabling system, using more of the software's functionality to improve the utilisation of our estate. This links in with a number of University initiatives, including the carbon reduction one.
Also at the Programme Board we approved another new project, to review our portal. We've had a staff and student portal for some years as part of our strategy to make everything available over the web, and the time has come to review it. Lots of preparatory work already done, so now we need to make a decision on the way forward.
Following our Departmental Programme Board we had a meeting of the University Collaboration Improvement Programme Board where we had a very interesting discussion on whether Universities encouraged and rewarded collaboration, and how important it is to break down silo mentality. The latter is particularly important in times of financial difficulty - it's very easy to become very protectionist, but that won't get us anywhere - except into more difficulty.