Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Art on the pasternoster and other ideas

Several big meetings over the last couple of days as we get back into the swing of the new academic year. Yesterday was the Process Improvement Steering Group, an important, high level body chaired by the VC which oversees the work of our PIU (Process Improvement Unit).  Lots of projects in various stages of progress - you can see a list of them here.  There's been good progress in the year that the unit has been set up, and the VC is holding a formal launch event later this week. The PIU uses a mixture of techniques, concentrating on LEAN, and it was interesting to hear about some work going on in our Management School using Six Sigma  which puts much more emphasis on data analysis.

Then it was our Service Strategy Board where we had our standard look at reports from all of our projects, and highlight reports from each of our service managers. Interesting discussion about resources, particularly as we introduce more and more new services, seemingly without stopping any. System and infrastructure support is becoming a real issue for us -  I'm sure every IT Director is facing the same issues. It doesn't help when things come out of "left field" at us - things that are apparently very important and have to be implemented, but they haven't come through any of our governance processes, and we have no resource allocated to them.

Today was PSE (Professional Service Executive), and we had a brilliant presentation from our new Student Sabbatical officers. Our aim is to work collaboratively with them to maintain the University's exceptional provision for students, and we have a good track record of an excellent working relationship with them.
They outlined their prioritues for the year to us, which fall under the following themes:

Well Being  - sport, links to health service, encouraging students to be active, helping women feel safe, safety abroad workshops, training for tutors on support for students

Community - volunteering, outreach, student engagement, getting women into STEM subjects through science outreach

Campus Life - promoting Reslife, integrating home and international students, public art on campus, (they suggested an art exhibition on the paternoster lift - inspired!), making rooms accessible for student societies, eliminating booking charges

Postgraduate research students - issues relating to contracts, continuation fees, pastoral care, allocation of teaching hours

Protecting international student rights - campaign against NHS fees, leveraging #weareinternational campaign, accommodation issues, welfare

Student Union - set up gumtree network accessible through MUSE for textbooks, household items, languages; implementing SU policies across University including living wage, funding education not war, bottled water ban

Student Voice - undertaking a one year research project using active critical engagement resulting in a long term strategic plan for the University written by students.

Great set of priorities, (especially the last one) - looking forward to working with them.

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