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Strategic Plan 2014-18

FOREWORD Huddersfield Students’ Union’s mission is very simple: we will work together ‘to make student life better’. It is a simple phrase, but with over 20,000 students at Huddersfield University who have diverse backgrounds, wants and needs, getting this right is a complex task. Throughout 2013, the Students' Union Officers and Students' Union staff have been working hard to devise our strategic plan through to 2018. We have undertaken extensive research to discover what our students think about Huddersfield Students’ Union and how their University experience could be made better. We have worked hard to understand and focus upon what students want from us over the coming years. We ran eight in-depth focus groups, surveyed over 1400 students and ran a ‘What’s Your Big Idea for Change?’ campaign in Autumn 2013, securing over 400 contributions from students across campus.

Huddersfield students told us: Academic success, employability and personal development was a key motivation for studying at Huddersfield

An enriching and fun student life was what you expected above and beyond an excellent academic experience

These are Huddersfield students’ top three priorities, and these are the three key themes that shape our strategy to make student life better. The new strategy also coincides with our relocation to the new Learning and Leisure Centre, placing the Students’ Union physically at the heart of campus life. To put it simply, our strategy to 2018 puts students’ views at the heart of our work and sets out how we will try to achieve the simple task of making student life better.

Nosheen Dad Students’ Union President 2013-14


Immediate finances are your top concern and impact on your wellbeing

DELIVERING THE STRATEGY AND TURNING IDEAS INTO CHANGE We are really pleased that there has been significant student contribution to this strategy. The responsibility of Students’ Union team - elected Officers, volunteers and staff - is to continue to engage students and partners in delivering these objectives. •  We have set out our Mission and Vision of making student life better through having a positive impact on the lives of all our students •  We have established the approach and behaviours we will adopt as we go about our work: our Values •  We have set out strategic aims that will make student life better •  We set out what we need to excel at in order to deliver our strategic aims: our Enablers •  Our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set out how we will evidence our success and give us some stretching targets to achieve The Strategy Map and KPIs represent the top-level drivers and indicators that will help us know if we are achieving our aims. But it will be our members who judge whether we are making their student life better. Consequently the majority of the indicators are based on students’ opinions – we’ll annually ask students to ‘Rate My Union’. Each of the themes covered in the strategic aims and enablers will have delivery plan, detailing performance indicators and tasks that require undertaking. Additionally we will aim to achieve or sustain a number of external accreditations that provide both assurance and stretch; this represents a commitment to quality reflected in our values. The strategy is challenging and it can only be delivered by committed team members working in partnership with each other. If you share our values and aims we’d invite you to partner with us: as a service provider, student volunteer, elected representative, trustee or advisor.

Matt Mills Chief Executive


Strategic Aim 1

SUPPORTING YOUR ACADEMIC SUCCESS, EMPLOYABILITY AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT You told us: •  That teaching quality and academic success were one of your top concerns •  That your motivations for coming to Huddersfield were to pursue a career and subject area you are passionate about, to improve your employability, and to develop and grow as a person

Our ideas for change and development: Strengthen the support for Course Representatives:

•  That the teaching on your courses is good, but more support and access to tutors would improve your learning experience

Through investing in extra staff, we want to create a community of active Course Reps focused on making positive changes for students. This will include more communication, showcasing change for the better, and mainstreaming Course Rep voices into our own democratic and policy forums.

•  That you spend more time on independent study than contact time

Maximise the benefits of independent study:

•  That the effectiveness of the supervision and support of postgraduate research could be improved

Through ensuring production of student-friendly resources and lobbying the University to provide induction and transition activities that support you to be effective independent learners. We also want to work with students and academics to develop a group work charter.

•  That many of you need to work during your studies to pay your living expenses •  That careers advice and guidance was best delivered as part of your programme of study, and you would like to access Graduate Jobs fairs •  That a concentration on careers and jobs in May/June immediately after assessment would be timely and useful •  That you would like to share your knowledge and learn new skills through a collaborative skills exchange •  That you feel unsure about how to get work experience and then articulate it in graduate career applications

Ensure quality contact with your tutors: Through the development of a vigorous intellectual climate, by supporting approaches to teaching and learning that are challenging, and interactive, and by creating a culture in which: •  Students and teachers are partners in learning and research •  Teachers employ practices which challenge students •  Students expect to be active learners and engage enthusiastically in all aspects of their education •  High quality learning resources prepare students for vibrant learning experiences


Improve course organisation and management: Through preparing annual ‘School Student Voice Reports’ which highlight opportunities to improve students’ experiences and lobby for universal systems of electronic submission for written course work.

Increase our support for postgraduate research students:

Other ideas include: •  Provide more short term leadership and entrepreneurial opportunities •  Work with academic courses to provide working and volunteering opportunities within the Students’ Union •  Establish a students skills exchange - a Time Bank for students - where they can share skills to help each other out

Through the collaborative development of a PGR Manifesto for Change that explicitly looks at their student experience and recommends big ideas for change.

Key Performance Indicators:

Develop our work on employability:

•  80% of students agree ‘the Course Representative system is effective and secures improvements’

Through the development of an Employability Manifesto for Change that: •  Sets out the support we want to see from University partners regarding careers and employability •  Develops a principled position related to payment for internships and placements •  Explores and understands the reality of Huddersfield graduate jobs

Focus on the importance of student jobs now: Through maximising the opportunities for paid work within the Students’ Union and University. This will include assessing the viability of establishing a prominent student job shop with a face-to-face service, and investigating other social enterprise ventures such as a Student Design Agency.

Offer more opportunities, experiences and time for professional reflection: Through the continued development of our STARS program, working to integrate it with the Higher Education Record of Achievement 6.1 and the University’s MyCareer module.

How we will evidence our success:

•  80% of students agree ‘the Students’ Union supports student personal development and employability’ •  3 University-wide improvements for students that have been made as a result of the Students’ Union (annually)

Steps along the way – our performance indicators: •  Satisfaction within National Student Survey scores improve •  75% of Course Reps (circa 700), Student Group Leaders (circa 300) and Student Staff will have completed STARS Recording and Reflection which they will be able to reference in their HEAR 6.1 •  We will achieve ‘Investors in Volunteering’ to ensure the quality of Students’ Union volunteering opportunities •  We will benchmark as outstanding for our Course Rep systems using the NUS benchmarking tool •  75% of Course Reps are trained and supported by the Students’ Union, reporting a positive change for students •  Annual Survey will provide a benchmark question “The Students’ Union has provided support for me to secure changes as a Course Rep” •  We will have a national award for student representation


Strategic Aim 2

GIVING YOU A FUN AND ENRICHING STUDENT LIFE You told us: •  That your top motivation for getting involved with the Students’ Union was to make new friends and meet people and your experience matched up to your expectation •  That you wanted more cross cultural opportunities to mix and learn with students from different cultures •  That campus life could be more vibrant •  That you don’t always know what’s on and there could be better promotion and encouragement to get involved •  That there should be more choice of clubs and societies and they should provide a better welcome and keep in touch with you •  That you would like to organise and host student-led events

Our ideas for change and development: Increase the number of cross cultural opportunities: Through internationalising our Students’ Union offer via the deployment of ‘NUS’s Internationalising your Students’ Union’ framework. We will also: •  Work towards supporting all International Student societies within the Students’ Union, including establishing a forum to develop ideas and articulate international students concerns •  Work to open trips and activities to international and home students, partnering with the University’s International Office to deliver vibrant campus events 5_OUR BIG IDEA FOR CHANGE

Increase the number and profile of our campus events: Through celebrating key moments in students’ lives including welcome week, key holidays, end of term and celebrations of success. We will also: •  Secure space for student led groups and enterprises to organise their own events, turning ideas into action with direct Union support from a dedicated staff post •  Develop and support RAG to inject fun onto campus through high profile events and activities •  Ensure there is a weekly program of on campus activities for student to make friends, lead, innovate, get active and create communities

Work with more off campus venues: Through partnership agreements, in order to provide students an affordable program of social opportunities and activities. This will include working with a nominated bar and/or nightclub, securing discounts on activities such as paint balling, gokarting or trips overseas, and volunteering events in the local community.

Develop our student activity groups: Through establishing a quality award or club mark that continuously drives improvement, including providing more support, training and guidance to them.

100 Things to do before you leave Huddersfield... We will develop our 100 things to do in Huddersfield student program. This will map out the essential things that any Huddersfield student should do during their time here. It will encompass: local and regional trips; campus events and celebrations; Give it Go events; self-directed activities; studentled and activity group-led activities and events; campus entertainments (e.g. cinema, comedy, student talent shows); RAG fundraising activities.

•  We will have at least six Students’ Union supported community volunteering projects each involving at least 3 student project leaders and 25 student volunteers •  100 Things to do before you leave Huddersfield: we will have accessible events and activities program that 25% of students (circa 5000) will have participated in during the academic year 2017/18

•  We will launch this in September 2014 after consultation with students to determine what should be on the list •  We will gamify this digitally – enabling students to chart their progress towards the 100 things •  The program will be both fun and developmental •  This will be the overall content holder for our member offer and engagement activities, and will enable us to celebrate student success •  It will support our communication with members and enable us to use CRM techniques We will engage students in leading activities, and will provide experiences that can contribute to students’ HEAR 6.1 Statement of Extra Curricular Activities.

How we will evidence our success: Key Performance Indicators: •  80% of students agree ‘The Students’ Union has supported meeting new people and having fun at University’

Steps along the way – our performance indicators: •  International Student Barometer survey shows trending levels of improvement •  There will be 100+ student groups for students to join with an average of 30 members in each of them •  15% of the student population will have joined an activity group (circa 3000 students) 6_OUR BIG IDEA FOR CHANGE

Strategic Aim 3

LOOKING AFTER YOUR STUDENT WELLBEING AND FINANCES You told us: •  That you feel safe, secure and well-supported at the University of Huddersfield, but some of you will occasionally need advice and support. Your top concerns were academic achievement and current finances •  That immediate financial concern was your top worry, and feeling more secure about money would make you happier •  That many of you have to work (term time and vacations) to make ends meet, but you were less concerned about long term debt •  That you thought sandwiches in the shop were poor value for money •  That you value discounts and good deals •  That you have higher expectations of the University as a result of increased fees. In particular you did not expect to incur extra costs for compulsory elements of your course. We think higher expectations mean you will be more likely to use advice services and demand will continue to increase •  Those of you that have used the Advice Centre were very satisfied with the service you received •  That 31% of you said you would not recommend your current student accommodation to future students •  That 55% of you said your accommodation was value for money and you were concerned about the unfair charges from landlords and agents •  That satisfaction scores with halls of residence was higher than with private landlords and agencies


Our ideas for change and development: Broaden the work of our Advice Service: Through providing student volunteering opportunities we will develop the role of Advice and Wellbeing Ambassadors/Champions, recruiting and training circa 20 volunteers per year to undertake front line duties, support self help and undertake pro-active road show and online promotions.

Make our Advice Service more proactive: Through taking our work beyond the building and providing timely advice to students where and when they need it, often in the form of workshops and clinics. This will also mean strengthening student leadership, online and viral campaigns, quality self help materials/tools such as money doctors, building proactive partnerships with compelling external resources, and establishing a ‘look out for your mates program’

Secure more social policy wins for students: Through better communication and more analysis, we’ll gain more insight from our case work that will translate into termly social policy summaries, and an annual report to support the work of student representatives lobbying for change.

Drive up the quality of student accommodation: Through establishing our own accommodation agency that offers a fair deal for students, and develops long term sustainable relationships with landlords that benefit our members. We will also run a biennial Student Accommodation Survey to support us to raise standards, as well as look to establish a partnership to reduce the cost of student utilities.

Make student life more affordable through a number of different ways including: •  Introducing a budget lunch range into our shop

How we will evidence our success: Key Performance Indicators

•  Working with University catering to ensure there is always a budget deal of the day within catering services producing a Huddersfield student discounts portal (including travel to and from campus) and promoting NUS Extra discounts

•  80% of students agree ‘that the Students’ Union has positively impacted on my wellbeing’

•  Helping you to be environmentally aware and save money through green choices

•  80% of students will agree that ‘the Students’ Union provides value for money’

Immediately increase student incomes through a number of different ways including: •  Maximising employment opportunities within the Students’ Union, University and beyond •  Progressively adopting the ‘Living Wage’ and encouraging our partners to do so too •  Lobbying the University and Government to ensure any bursary income is focused on living costs, not fee waivers •  Lobbying the University to create programmes that include and integrate paid employment with study •  Ensuring that whenever students’ views and feedback are solicited, we will lobby partners to pay for or reward market research •  Ensuring all internships/placements are paid fairly

•  80% of students agree ‘that the Students’ Union has positively impacted on my finances’

KPIs - Wellbeing •  We will run at least three wellbeing campaigns each year (this will always include money advice) •  80% of Advice Centre users will agree with the statement that ‘the Advice Centre helped me to resolve my issue’ •  There will be over 5000 visits to the Advice Centre and 2500 individual students will be supported •  10 changes resulting from social policy work will be identifiable and promoted by 2018 •  Our Advice Quality Standard is retained •  20 Volunteers, recruited, trained and supported each year to deliver wellbeing outreach activities •  1000 Students will have used our budgeting tool, promoted through road shows and workshops

Play a role in the national debate:

KPIs - Reducing Students Costs

Through lobbying against a reduction and restriction of the National Scholarship Fund, and the privatisation of the Student Loan Book.

•  20% of students will sign up and benefit from NUS extra card discounts (circa 4000 students)

Hold the University to account on their additional charging policy: The University has made a commitment to not charge for any compulsory aspects of learning, and there is a policy in place. We will continue to listen to students and raise any matters that fall outside the scope of this.

•  We will be able to identify and locally promote at least 100 discounts that benefit students •  We will ensure our offers (retail and member offers) represent value for money •  We will have developed a sustainable students lettings agency providing access to accredited accommodation


Enabler 1


How we will evidence our success:

That you don’t always have time to engage in our democratic forums

Key Performance Indicators

• That we should not wait for you to come to us, but should meet and engage with you in your schools •  That you don’t know enough about the work of elected Officers and the changes they secure for students •  That your principal identity and concerns are at a course level and in the student groups you participate in

Our ideas for change and development: •  Develop a grass roots programme of student engagement where we come to you and enable you to have your say and make change •  Review our formal governance and democratic structures by December 2014 •  Empower and inspire students to make change by celebrating student-led chance through ‘You Said We Did’ communications •  ‘We will get back to you promise’: develop a universal feedback form for any matter – so we can take action and feed back to you

•  80% of students agree that ‘the Students’ Union engages with me effectively’ •  80% of students agree that ‘the Students’ Union accurately represents students to the University and achieves positive change for them’ •  40% of students participate in the Students’ Union main elections

Steps along the way – our performance indicators •  The Union will deliver induction talks to a minimum of 90% of all new students within a month of them commencing their studies •  Each Exec post will be contested by at least five candidates, and the overall candidate profile will broadly reflect our student demographic •  We will complete our statutory governance review by December 2014 •  We will have a strand to our work focusing upon International Student engagement and integrating home and international students •  Student representative bodies will develop two substantive policies relevant to students’ priorities each year •  We will promote both a monthly Impact Report and ‘You Said, We Did’ campaign each year •  An annual Student Voice report will be produced and circulated identifying students’ concerns and priorities for change


Enabler 2


•  That we should survey you early to get to know your preferences, enabling us to target our communications, activities and campaigning work •  That we have not effectively communicated to you that you are all automatically members of the Students’ Union and the benefits of being a member – only 31% of you said you were members

•  Utilise online booking systems to identify events and activities you have been involved in so we can understand your preferences •  Conduct primary research and use secondary data to produce Student Voice Reports – this will support our evidence led campaigning •  Triennially run a full scale ‘Insight and Member Engagement Survey’ to inform future strategy beyond 2018

•  That although many of you use the trading services regularly, you also told us that you were not aware of the full range of services we offer

Key Performance Indicators

•  That you would like to know more about our representatives and the work we do to effect change

•  80% of students identify themselves as members of the Students’ Union, and are able to identify three benefits of membership

•  That you would like visual representation of the Students’ Union structure

•  80% of students agree that ‘I am kept well informed about what the Students’ Union does’

Our ideas for change and development:

•  5% (circa 1000) of students completed the annual survey ‘Rate My Union’

•  Ask you key questions at registration (when you join) to get to know your preferences and provide information to you based on your preferences and the stage of your student journey

Steps along the way – our performance indicators

•  Better communicate how we work, the role of representatives and the change we have secured for you. We’ll provide you with an annual Impact Report

How we will evidence our success:

•  50% of members will have logged their participation in at least 3 of the “100 things to do before you leave Huddersfield” •  Annual growth in number of students registered on our website

•  Ensure our campaign and representative work is evidence-led and based on what you say

•  An annual Impact Report is produced and circulated to stakeholders

•  Fit our offer and communications into the framework of ‘100 things to do before you leave Huddersfield’ - this will aim to provide both relevant information and opportunities for all students

•  One media release per week, with one external media story per month and weekly inclusion of news onto the University’s Student Portal


Enabler 3


You told us: •  That you understand our Mission of ‘making student life better’, and that our team members should be focused on this •  That friendliness, equality, approachability, inclusiveness, and independence should be reflected in our values, and the everyday work of team members •  That all our team members (student volunteers, elected representatives and staff team members) should work and reflect our values

Our ideas for change and development: •  Recruit and develop team members who align with our values and who commit to ‘making student life better’ •  Ensure our Vision, Mission and Values are reflected in team members’ actions and in our visual presentation •  Ensure our community’s diversity is reflected within our team and activities •  Develop leadership and management skills in a wider range of team members to embed Quality, PRIDE and ownership in our work •  Ensure our student volunteers understand and behave in line with our values •  Adopt a dress code, identity and uniform policy that identifies Students’ Union team members, reflects our values and indicates our independence


•  Embed ‘Quality and PRIDE’ in our support for student volunteers and representatives. We will use these values to attract great candidates and provide a framework for volunteer training •  Use the Investors in Volunteering, Investors in Diversity and Investors in People frameworks to drive our practices and organisational development

How we will evidence our success: Key Performance Indicators •  We will achieve silver through the Investors in People accreditation •  Achieve 90% positive response in our staff engagement Index •  80% of students will agree that ‘the Students’ Union and its services are accessible, inclusive and friendly’ •  We will achieve the Investors in Diversity award

Steps along the way – our performance indicators •  We will achieve the Investors in Volunteers award

Enabler 4


You told us:

How we will evidence our success:

•  That the Students’ Union is an important and valued part of campus life, and your expectations are that it could do more to improve student life

Key Performance Indicators

•  That you expect the Students’ Union to be well funded to make student lives better and plan for the future

•  Have operating cash reserves of £300K and annually contribute £25-50K per annum to a strategic projects reserve

•  That more green space on campus would enhance your student experience

•  Establish sustainable trading services generating modest surpluses for future investment

Our ideas for change and development:

•  Sustain our gold Green Impact Award

•  Sustain financial support from the University to deliver our strategy through demonstrating our impact on student satisfaction levels •  Diversify and increase our external income by ensuring there is bid-making capacity within the organisation - ensuring our staff team are flexible and responsive to secure and deliver funded opportunities •  Make income generation a responsibility of all our team members •  Grow sponsorship and advertising revenue by securing a headline sponsor for sports teams and providing support for activity groups to access funds (bid writing, model contracts etc) •  Increase our digital advertising income

•  Return a balanced budget

Steps along the way – our performance indicators •  We will release reserves through 2013/14 to facilitate relocation to the LLC •  We will have a plan to diversify income through fundraising, sponsorship and partnerships which are complementary to the needs of students •  Our overall financial performance will be within +/3.0% of forecast budget within any one year •  Our cash flow will be updated weekly, reviewed by Senior Managers on a monthly basis, and by the Trustee Board on a quarterly basis, with minimum average cash balances of £300K(+/- £25k) by 2018 •  There will be 6 monthly reviews of thematic delivery plans led by SMT and Officers

•  Lobby the University to further green aspects of the campus •  Develop sustainable trading services that meet students’ needs. We will enter into partnerships to provide services to members and will only develop trading services where we have competitive advantage and there is clear benefit to members 12_OUR BIG IDEA FOR CHANGE

OUT-TAKES AND OUTRIDERS During our surveys and numerous consultations, we asked students to give us their big ideas for change. We received lots of serious contributions that are included directly in this strategy, but some were slightly more wacky. Here are a few that did not make it into the strategy this time, but who knows, what’s unconventional today may be the norm in future...

Establish a University wind farm

Free tea and coffee on tap

A giant swing

A nap room to help combat stress

More drop-in sessions... and also some sort of slide

Tennis courts on the top of the new building

A free Twix for all 9.15 lectures

We want to meet Patrick Stewart more often



Turn spare plots of land into a miniature farm and sell produce or grow livestock. (i.e. grass in front of Sports Hall). Get students involved and provide experiences they can put on their CVs

Our Harvest Hud Project at Storthes Hall provides an allotment for students to grow fresh fruit and vegetables for the local Welcome Centre

More sockets to charge phones

We’ll lobby the University to ensure power and data meet your needs

Sports facilities should be free to all students

We’ll work with University colleagues to ensure that sports facilities are affordable and represent great value for money

Set up a video booth on campus for students to offer feedback

We’ll always look for innovative ways to get student feedback, both online and face to face. We’ll look into this

Lobby the University for a bigger Students’ Union grant so it can be spent on enhancing the student experience

We will; we’d love to do more and we have a great bank of ideas from students

Set up a student self help centre, that teaches them how to cook, clean, grow veg and brew beer

We’ll think about how these activities could be integrated into our Give it a Go programme



Strategic Aims


Vision & Mission

Strategy Map 2014-2018 Vision:

To have a positive impact on the lives of all our students


To make student life better




Independence Diversity


We will be innovative to continuously improve

We will achieve more for students by working with partners

We are democratic and enable students to lead and make change

We are independent and always support students

We will be friendly and inject fun into our work

We value diversity and will be inclusive

Supporting your academic success, employability and personal development

Giving you a fun and enriching student life

Looking after your student wellbeing and finances

We will support you to grow, learn and earn

We will ensure there are opportunities for you lead a rich student life

We will make sure you can access support to make the most of your funding

Student Engagement

Communication & Insight

Our People

Sustainable Practice

We will engage you in ways that are relevant and accessible enabling you to make student life better

We will keep you informed and know student priorities

Our team will put students first

We will be ethically and financially sustainable

Strategic Aims


Vision & Mission

Key Performance Indicators 2018 80% of members will agree with the statement that “The Students’ Union has a positive impact on my life whilst at University” 80% of students will agree with NSS Q23 “I am satisfied with the Students’ Union at my institution”




Independence Diversity


NUS Quality Students’ Union Accreditation at Excellent or Very Good level

10 identifiable partnerships are delivering tangible benefits for students

3 University-wide improvements for students that have been made as a result of the Students’ Union (annually)

80% of students will agree they ‘trust the impartiality and quality of the advice we receive’

80% of students will agree that ‘the Students’ Union and its services are accessible, inclusive and friendly’

Investors in Diversity achieved

Supporting your academic success, employability and personal development

Giving you a fun and enriching student life

Looking after your student wellbeing and finances

80% of students agree ‘the course representative system is effective and secures improvements’

80% of students agree ‘the Students’ Union has supported me in meeting new people and having fun at university’

80% of students agree ‘that the students’ union has positively impacted on my well being’

80% of students agree ‘the Students’ Union supports student personal development and employability’

80% of students agree ‘that the students’ union has positively impacted on my finances’


80% of students will agree that ‘HSU provides ‘Value ‘For Money’’

Student Engagement

Communication & Insight

Our People

Sustainable Practice

80% of students agree ‘the HSU engages me effectively’

80% of students identify themselves as members and be able to identify 3 benefits of membership

We will achieve Silver IIP accreditation

By YE 2017/18 we will:

80% of students agree ‘HSU accurately represents students to the University and achieves positive change’ 40% of students participate in general election

80% of students agree with the statement that ‘I am kept well informed about the Students’ Union’ Annual ‘Rate my Union’ survey completed with valid demographic sample involving 5% of student population

Achieve 90% positive response in Staff Engagement Index

Return a balanced budget Have operating cash reserves of £300K and annually contribute £25-50K per annum to a strategic projects reserve Establish sustainable trading services Sustain our Gold Green Impact Award

University of Huddersfield Students' Union Queensgate Huddersfield HD1 3DH t: 01484 473555 e: Registered charity number: 1137401

Our Big Ideas For Change  

Huddersfield University Students' Union Strategic Plan 2014-18

Our Big Ideas For Change  

Huddersfield University Students' Union Strategic Plan 2014-18