We're right in the middle of our planning round at the moment - writing our submission about priorities for next year, what resources we might need, and also going out and talking to all of the Faculties about their plans and how we can help them. We've seen 3 of the Faculties so far, and will see the other two next week. A lot of discussion about our plans to set up a Research IT Support Service. We already do support research in terms of providing computing facilities, storage, applications and help and support, but we are going to significantly increase this. Our researchers have told us that what they really need is access to people, and we're about to go out to advert for a Head of Research IT, and then hope to recruit more to the team. In addition, we'll be providing access to our services which will be free at the point of use! Obviously they will have to be paid for, but we do not want to be recharging departments.
Other things discussed at the meetings include developments in learning and teaching - many areas are looking to increase their distance learning offer so we need to produce a framework for the delivery and support of that, as well as carrying our a review over the next year of our VLE.
We also talked to them about the review of the website which we have just kicked off, and we got a lot of support for the way we are approaching it - work out what we want the web site to do and what its purpose is and leave the technology till later. We also picked up that many feel our current web site is a good marketing tool, but doesn't serve other stakeholders as well, particularly current staff and students.
Great news this week as our Process Improvement Unit was nominated for an award. They were shortlisted by the Institute for Continuous Improvement in the Public Sector, which given the small size of the unit - just 4 staff based here in CiCS - is a fantastic achievement. You can read the press release giving more details about the nomination and what the unit gets up to here.
Sadly they didn't win, but came second, and now have a trophy to display!