Student and Academic Services Group Strategic Plan 2009â€“2012
Contents Aims of the Support Group 1
Objectives: Building on the Universityâ€™s Strategic Plan
Strategies: Delivering our Objectives
Aims of the Support Group The Student and Academic Services Group (SASG 1 ) aims to: · provide a wide range of high quality services to the University community in a seamless and integrated fashion; · further develop and sustain a responsive service culture, recognising that our relationship with users of our services will frequently be one of partnership rather than of provider and consumer; and · pursue continuous improvement of our services. Our activities, and in particular their prioritisation and development, are driven by the University’s needs and are directed at supporting the University’s mission, goals, enablers and strategic themes as set out in the University’s Strategic Plan 20082012 2 . The purpose of this SASG plan is to help the Support Group maximise its achievement of the aims set out above by highlighting our priorities for action over 2009–2012, which is anticipated to be a financially challenging period for the higher education sector. Our plan will provide context to our input to the University’s annual planning and budgeting exercise in which we shall demonstrate the case for investment of the necessary resources, and will allow us to monitor our progress against our longterm strategic objectives.
Link to SASG organisational chart Link to University Strategic Plan 2008-2012
Introduction The University of Edinburgh, as one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, is a leading provider of undergraduate and postgraduate education and is at the forefront of research, commercialisation and knowledge exchange, both within the UK and internationally. It operates on a highly devolved basis with services being provided locally at School and College level as well as centrally by the Support Groups. The University’s vision is clearly articulated and well understood:
To shape the future by attracting and developing the world’s most promising students and outstanding staff. The University’s Strategic Plan 20082012 sets out the University’s agreed approach to pursuit of this vision. It highlights two new strategic themes for 20082012, both of which are critical for the Student and Academic Services Group: · enhancing our student experience; and · stimulating alumni relations and philanthropic giving.
Context The services provided through SASG fall into a number of broad, although not mutually exclusive, categories – from those which are provided directly to our customers: · · ·
students, potential students and alumni; Schools and Colleges; senior University managers;
and hence are wellrecognised by all relevant stakeholders, to those which are performed for the University corporately and in support of the University’s governance processes. This latter group are often less well understood outwith the units which provide them, but are important to ensuring the smooth running and success of the University often through the fulfilling of statutory and other externallydriven requirements. These services range from statistical returns to bodies such as HESA, through drafting responses to external consultative documents, to strategic support and advice to the University Court. It is evident that the SASG’s budgets are likely to be reduced in real terms in each of the years covered by this plan. It is our responsibility to ensure that the way in which our services are provided is effective, efficient and fit for purpose, and that the Support Group is optimally structured for this. Our strategy has to enable us to deliver as many as possible of our current services at as high a standard as we can achieve. To facilitate this we shall seek to increase efficiency by taking advantage of opportunities for structural change, and for removal of levels of management, and by closer collaboration within the Group and with other Support Groups and Colleges. We shall seek to maximise our contribution to the generation of income in other parts of the University, notably in the recruitment of international students and postgraduates, and in providing services which assist in the retention of such students.
Key contextual issues Our Support Group Strategy sits within an overall economic and strategic planning framework which gives due consideration to longterm sustainability issues and takes into account the University’s operating environment. Major features of the external environment that may impact on the delivery of the University’s Strategic Plan and our Strategy are kept under review and published on the Governance and Strategic Planning website 3 .
Link to University Strategic Plan 20082012 : Major Contextual Issues
In addition to those highlighted at the corporate level, there are a number of specific contextual issues which influence the Group’s work. These include: ·
issues arising from the University’s structure and policies: o the existence of administrative support structures in Schools and Colleges o budgetary pressures, where SASG aims to maintain the delivery of quality services in the context of continuing annual real term cuts in core budgets
o the impact of devolved authority on the development of policies and procedures and service standardisation the importance of external perceptions of the University, including our position in comparative rankings, and of engagement with external stakeholders
the University’s plans for growth in postgraduate and international student numbers, and for broadening access the University’s wish to enhance the quality of the student experience at Edinburgh the revised scope of the EUCLID Project the University’s commitment to the importance of fundraising
Achievement We have a strong and committed complement of staff performing well and providing a wide range of services very effectively. We have taken initiatives to improve and develop services in a range of ways. Recent examples include: ·
achieving a 4% increase in the University's overall response rate in 2008 to the National Student Survey, and maintaining a higher response rate than average winning the 2009 SCDI University Award for 'Outstanding Achievement in International Activity' obtaining high scores in the International Student Barometer for SASG services driving positive media coverage for the University, in particular the University’s results in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise introducing a Postgraduate Open Day, a Student Funding Advice Day and a Multi Faith Public Conversation establishing a new University Visitor Centre and a branch of the International Office in India leading a crossUniversity project to implement the new UKBA immigration arrangements for students promoting the Enlightenment Campaign, where 2007/08 broke fund raising records developing sectorleading Widening Participation initiatives and policy
developing and publishing the University’s Strategic Plan 20082012 including the introduction of pocket guides and Chinese and Gaelic versions completing international benchmarking collaboration with the University of Melbourne – the first such international collaboration enhancing delivery of core services: for example: o operational changes in Student Counselling, creating greater flexibility and responsiveness and minimising waiting lists; o providing staff training on mental health for Directors of Studies; o harnessing wiki technologies for Senatus’ discussions; o online student documentation ordering services for transcripts, statements of student status, council tax exemption certificates and certificates of matriculation; o online registrations and applications for Open Days and campus visits, for Access and Accommodation Bursary Schemes and for centrally administered Postgraduate Scholarships; and o introducing a vacancy database which allows us to participate in a vacancy sharing service with other Scottish higher education institutions.
Objectives : Building on the University’s Strategic Plan In order to achieve our overall aims, we will: · ·
optimise the Group’s management and organisational structure, and enhance collaboration within the Group, to improve the quality and efficacy of our services; strengthen relations and look for synergies with other service and student support providers within the University, in Schools, Colleges and other Support Groups, so as to achieve real congruence in our activities, and clarity of roles; improve understanding within the University community of the nature and value of the services provided by the Group; and promote interinstitutional cooperation wherever appropriate, and continue productive relationships with relevant external bodies and agencies.
Strategies : Delivering our objectives In order to achieve those corporate objectives identified in the University’s Strategic Plan which are relevant to SASG, and our SASGspecific objectives, we will pursue a number of strategies, measuring our progress by monitoring performance against a range of targets. We have detailed those Universitylevel targets to which we contribute and, where relevant, we have set our own targets. Unless otherwise stated, the targets run for the life of the Strategic Plan. The Group also has key performance indicators 4 and uses these as part of the business management and annual planning and budgeting process. In pursuing our objectives, we will take a Groupwide approach in which we aim to: · · · · · ·
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take a proactive stance to planning, prioritising and delivering our services; focus on the needs of service recipients ﴾measure satisfaction with services when appropriate; be more responsive﴿; improve our understanding of what constitutes ‘quality services’ in our particular contexts, and seek continuous improvement in that direction; manage expectations as to the volume and range of services that can be provided; monitor external developments and activities relevant to the University and assess their implications for the University and the Support Group; provide leadership for approaches which cross existing boundaries, whether with the other Support Services or the Colleges and Schools, and promote teamwork across the University; seek out ways of simplifying processes and procedures, and of further improving efficiency and effectiveness; maximise our use of IT in support of service delivery; improve communication and understanding within the Support Group and the University; take opportunities to advance further collaborative working within the Group; sustain staff morale at a time of shrinking resources and increasing demands; act on the University’s agreed strategy of enabling staff to take ownership of, and responsibility for, decisions relating to their services, and secure broad acceptance of the need for staff to be able to exercise their professional judgements; invest in the professional development of our staff, improving staff motivation; maximise the Group’s capacity for generating disposable income; argue for the resources to enable us to meet our objectives; and work within the budgets allocated to the Group, identifying opportunities for redeployment of existing budgets in line with priorities, and seek more closely to define what services can be provided within the resources available.
Link to SASG KPIs
SASG Strategic Plan 2009–2012
Strategic Goal : Excellence in learning and teaching Our strategies include: · supporting the VicePrincipals, Assistant Principal and the Director of Academic Standards and Quality Assurance in leading debates to reaffirm guiding academic principles of excellence in learning and teaching and in encouraging and coordinating colleagues’ work in academic quality enhancement · incentivising increases in international and postgraduate students through improved transparency of NPRAS · reviewing and streamlining academic regulations and guidance, including clarifying levels of subsidiary in regulatory matters; award and progression criteria; PhD examinations; and the provision of information to students · managing and promoting the annual National Student Survey process · coordinating the Enhancement Led Institutional Review ﴾ELIR﴿ in 2011
promoting the work of the University to a wide range of stakeholders, via event management, publications, our online presence and the press contributing to employer engagement and work related learning and participating in the Employability Initiative, e.g. building collaborative learning into the curriculum
UoE Targets 1.2 by September 2009, simplify and standardise assessment procedures and regulations, using common processes except where departures from these are necessary for academic reasons 1.3 be one of the first of the Russell Group universities to implement the use of transcripts for measuring and recording student achievement 1.4 increase our headcount of taught postgraduate students by 50% SASG Targets 1.1 deliver at least three ‘Town Hall’ events focussed on clarifying academic guiding principles and policies and quality enhancement/assurance 1.2 produce reports annually to support Teaching Programme Reviews 1.3 develop a Code of Practice for Admissions, by September 2010, which seeks to streamline and professionalise policy and practice across the University
SASG Strategic Plan 2009–2012
Strategic Goal : Excellence in research Our strategies include: · maintaining a strategic awareness, keeping colleagues informed and influencing the development of the Research Excellence Framework ﴾REF﴿ · delivering the Edinburgh Research Management Information System ﴾ERMIS﴿ in support of improved monitoring of research performance · developing processes and systems to manage the requirements of the REF · coordinating and implementing recommendations from the PGR Task Force to deliver UoE Targets 2.2 and 2.3 below, including promoting a culture that values the contribution of PGR students and leading the development and dissemination of comprehensive information on PGR funding sources · supporting a rolling programme of media training to assist academics in Knowledge Transfer issues surrounding their research etc. · continuing Careers input to the Transkills and Researcher Development programme and increasing liaison with Graduate Schools for bespoke events, e.g. alumni evenings
We have a national reputation in transferable skills training and career development for postgraduate researchers. UoE Targets 2.1 achieve yearonyear improvement in the quality and quantity of our research as measured by the Research Excellence Framework 2.2 increase our headcount of research postgraduate students at a greater rate than the Russell Group average 2.3 double the recorded number of skills training and development opportunities taken up by postgraduate research students SASG Targets 2.1 establish an annual programme of Collegespecific training sessions on PGR funding opportunities, by the end of 2010 2.2 contribute to the enhanced conversion of current UG and PGT students onto PGR programmes by establishing a programme of events and activities by the end of 2010 2.3 increase the number of Biological Services’ workshops and seminars offered to technical staff and researchers, and increase attendance by involving research facilities such as EBRC, from a baseline of 2008/09 2.4 reduce the licence application processing time in Biological Sciences by introducing "fast tracking" for specific categories of application, from a baseline of 2008/09
SASG Strategic Plan 2009–2012
Strategic Goal : Excellence in commercialisation & knowledge exchange Our strategies include: · contributing to increasing the impact of our noncommercial knowledge exchange activities through appropriate responses to consultations · contributing to maximising financial and other benefits arising from exchanging knowledge, through sharing our professional expertise · measuring and reporting on the University’s economic impact biennially
We are involved in knowledge exchange through our contributions to policy formulation activities. UoE Target 3.1 increase our economic impact by a higher percentage than our growth in income
SASG Strategic Plan 2009–2012
Enabler : Quality people Our strategies include: · developing our HR Action Plan to ensure that staff are best able to make the contributions needed of them towards achievement of the Group’s objectives · implementing the Leadership and Management Framework of competencies in the recruitment, training and development of staff · working closely with other parts of the University which employ staff who perform functions similar to those undertaken within the Group, for example in regard to staff development and opportunities for internal mobility, in particular o pursuing improved arrangements for training and development of our senior staff, where practicable in association with Heads of Schools and senior post holders in the other support groups o actively looking for opportunities to broaden the work experiences of our staff and staff in Colleges and Schools via work secondments and exchanges · providing career development support for early career researchers and career development reviews for staff at risk/redeployment etc. · proactively seeking visits from international colleagues · developing an internal communications strategy to improve the flow of information across the University and improve efficiency, morale etc.
We aim to attract the best individuals and support them in realising their full potential.
UoE Targets 4.1 achieve an 85% appraisal completion rate across all staff 4.3 ensure 90% of staff in leadership roles have participated in a leadership development programme or other related activities SASG Target 4.1 ensure 90% of SASG Staff Grades 9 and above have participated in the Heads of School Leadership Course or similar training
SASG Strategic Plan 2009–2012
Enabler : Quality services Our strategies include: · achieving greater integration of student services, where possible through colocation · improving efficiency and effectiveness by taking advantage of opportunities to restructure within the Group, including restructuring Registry to meet the requirements of stakeholders postEUCLID · contributing to the embedding of the use of performance indicators through promotion of BSC indicators and Strategic Plan targets · implementing the new student record system and use this as a catalyst to deliver major business change and improvements to all Registry activities · providing advisory services to colleagues, including in relation to academic policies and regulation, legal matters, on compliance with government directives and on legislation such as Data Protection and Freedom of Information · reviewing Disability Office internal systems and working practices to develop and enhance all aspects of student support; the collation of statistical and relevant data and to maximise Advisor time spent supporting students
UoE Targets 5.1 complete the review of the balance and interaction between locally and centrally provided services, and consider and act upon its recommendations 5.2 increase the overall level of satisfaction expressed in the Support services section of the International Student Barometer survey and enter the upper quartile of institutions surveyed 5.3 deliver the EUCLID project in accordance with the agreed plan
maintaining and gaining external quality accreditation for relevant SASG services responding to the Review of Support Activities
SASG Targets 5.1 colocate some student services in the main library building in line with the redevelopment timetable, and ideally by Academic Year 2011/12 5.2 review the matriculation processes to provide online registration by 2010/11 5.3 provide electronic transfer of course results from Schools to Registry and upload of these results into the Student Record by 2009/10 5.4 develop new processes for the transfer of student administration information from Schools and Colleges to complement the functionality of EUCLID in 2010 12 5.5 offer 75% of students an initial counselling appointment within 5 working days and 80% of students ongoing counselling within 3 weeks of their initial appointment 5.6 increase student satisfaction levels with the Disability Office year on year 5.7 ensure that all Chairs and Secretaries of Boards of Examiners and External Examiners have participated in academic policy/regulatory training and briefings 5.8 increase the proportion of SASG units’ webpages which are visited, towards 100%
SASG Strategic Plan 2009–2012
Enabler : Quality infrastructure Our strategies include: · undertaking horizon scanning and risk management, including support of major risk planning undertaken by the Risk Management Committee · contributing to the maximisation of resource capability for capital investment through the planning round, forecasting and work with Finance · establishing mechanisms for agenda planning for strategic academic discussions and for clear dissemination of decisions and documents about academic policy and regulations, to enable better coordination across the institution · contributing to the acquisition, creation, preservation, curation and disposal of information, with specific reference to management information · supporting the University’s corporate and academic governance structures, ultimately supporting Court and Senate, and their respective committees and TaskGroups · managing the University’s response to information legislation requirements, notably the Freedom of Information ﴾Scotland﴿ Act 2002 and the Data Protection Act 1998, particularly with regard to security of information · identifying areas of high information legislation risk for the University and putting measures in place to tackle them · contributing to the development of the Estates Strategy 20102020
We aim to ensure that our estate recognises the health, safety and welfare needs of staff, students and visitors.
UoE Target 6.3 increase overall building performance ﴾condition and functional suitability﴿, achieving 90% acceptable standard in two of our three core academic zones and 60% for the Central Area ﴾within the constraints of historic buildings﴿ SASG Targets 6.1 increase the number of staff directly engaged with Senate Committee and TaskGroup activities, from a baseline of 2008/09 6.2 benchmark records management processes for handling information requests to identify scope for improvement or efficiency gains, from a baseline of 2008/09
SASG Strategic Plan 2009–2012
Strategic Theme : Enhancing our student experience Our strategies include: · responding to the Review of Academic and Pastoral Support for Students · promoting the University as an institution of first choice and ensuring that potential applicants are provided with appropriate, timely and uptodate information to inform their decision making · developing and modernising the elements of student administration where SASG units are the business owner · contributing to strengthening collaboration between academic and student services and EUSA, taking account of student views in strategic planning and University committees · supporting projects within the new Internationalisation Strategy to improve the living and learning experience of international students · reviewing studentrelated Academic Affairs’ processes, e.g. the Academic Appeal process and the Student Complaint Procedure, to ensure these maintain best practice and that related guidance is provided in clear and useable forms · ensuring NSS responses are representative of our student community by maintaining improvements in response rates and increasing awareness of the NSS · reviewing annual student surveys and developing plans to answer any shortfalls that have been identified in our service provision, monitoring the effectiveness of actions · providing communications and marketing support to help to mitigate, clarify and contextualise areas for stakeholders, including using NSS and other survey outputs to foster enhancement of academic feedback to students
UoE Target 7.1 increase the level of satisfaction expressed in the Overall satisfaction question from the National Student Survey and enter the upper quartile of institutions surveyed SASG Targets 7.1 increase the proportion of students responding to the NSS from a baseline of 2008/09 7.2 deliver more online and virtual services by the Registry Business Solutions team, including student online graduation registration and a new online scholarship application for postgraduate research scholarships by 2009/10 7.3 increase the number of students studying abroad to 699 by 2011/12 ﴾a 50% increase based on 2007/08 figures﴿ 7.4 introduce a student development careers portal by start of academic year 2010/11 to facilitate development of key graduate attributes and enhance employability 7.5 measure the effectiveness of counselling and aim for 70% of students having clinically and reliably changed and aim for 75% of students finding counselling beneficial to their academic functioning 7.6 reviewing and developing Student Support Assistance provided by the Disability Office by the end of 2010
SASG Strategic Plan 2009–2012
Strategic Theme : Advancing internationalisation Our strategies include: · supporting Edinburgh Global, the University’s Internationalisation Strategy, including through sustainable and transparent funding mechanisms and supporting the 12 Phase II Projects of Edinburgh Global · identifying the needs of each international cohort of students and ensuring that our services meet these requirements UoE Targets 8.1 increase our headcount of non EU international students by a minimum of 1,000 8.2 increase the proportion of our students attending another international institution by 50% SASG Targets 8.1 maintain and build on our international news presence; monitor the level of coverage we receive in key target global regions; and undertake market research to evaluate the success of the internationalisation strategy 8.2 enter into five new international partnerships by 2012 8.3 increase participation of international students in career learning activities, from a baseline of 2008/09 8.4 increase the number of work vacancies available for international students, from a baseline of 2008/09
We aim to ensure that all of our activities are set in an international context.
SASG Strategic Plan 2009–2012
Strategic Theme : Engaging with our wider community Our strategies include: · working closely with EUSA to disseminate the Community strategy to the wider Edinburgh community, ensuring that it has community support and that it is regularly evaluated and updated · enhancing the University’s capacity in marketing, including in particular the provision of marketing support to Schools, Colleges and relevant support services · making professional contributions at national and international levels where appropriate, to the reputational benefit of the University and contributing to the advancement of higher education in Scotland, the UK and beyond
Part of our commitment to the community is responsible engagement with schools and colleges.
SASG Target 9.1 increase the range and number of employers active on campus, from a baseline of 2008/09
We seek to play a full and active roll in Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond.
SASG Strategic Plan 2009–2012
Strategic Theme : Promoting equality, diversity, sustainability and social responsibility Our strategies include: · contributing to the effort to incorporate equality and diversity perspectives into all our activities and to prevent discrimination by continuing to enhance reporting and analysis of equality and diversity · contributing to increasing the proportion of students from under represented groups admitted through analysis and reporting on the University’s performance in widening participation indicators · contribute to the development of policy and practice on widening participation at local and national level · supporting and engaging with University initiatives such as the development of an overarching Dignity and Respect Policy, and with practical steps such as impact assessment of activities · assist in the development of a Sustainability and Social Responsibility strategy working closely with the Vice Principal Research Training and Community Relations and Estates and Buildings · working with Human Resources to support disabled staff, to encourage staff disclosure of disability and to ensure that the University's recruitment is fully accessible and inclusive; and promoting the disability and equality agenda
We are committed to widening participation, increasing diversity and providing equality of opportunity.
UoE Target 10.1 converge on our participation benchmarks for under represented groups SASG Targets 10.1 complete Registry’s Impact Assessment for its activities by the end of 2009/10 10.2 improve access to professional degree programmes such as Law and Medicine by under represented groups, from a baseline of 2008/09 10.3 increase the progression of students using Disability Office services, year on year
SASG Strategic Plan 2009–2012
Strategic Theme : Building strategic partnerships and collaborations Our strategies include: · building strategic international partnerships in a focused number of countries or regions · conducting a review of the collaborative programmes repository to ensure it is accurate and fit for purpose · continuing to support partnership work including the collaboration with ECA, research pooling initiatives and joint submissions to REF · promoting the University's Marketing Forum, building relationships with other communications professionals working within the University and playing a key role in DEMA Destination Edinburgh Marketing Alliance
We are seeking to bolster our successful external collaborations in areas such as careers and student recruitment.
UoE Target 11.1 establish at least five new international partnerships for the award of joint PhDs SASG Targets 11.1 expand the international benchmarking collaboration initiated with Melbourne University to include further international partner institutions
Our success depends on the establishment of strategic alliances and collaborations at home and worldwide.
SASG Strategic Plan 2009–2012
Strategic Theme : Stimulating alumni relations and philanthropic giving Our strategies include: · increasing our capacity to secure funding from philanthropic and similar sources, led by The VicePrincipal ﴾Development﴿, supported by the Director of Development · promoting the University to visitors of all kinds via hospitality and high profile events · improving event quality and reach and communication with benefactors
Our alumni have always been disposed towards ‘giving something back’, not least in supporting new generations of students.
UoE Targets 12.1 meet or exceed the £350 million fundraising target of the Edinburgh Campaign 12.2 raise £35 million through fundraising for scholarships as part of the Edinburgh Campaign 12.3 deliver a threefold increase in the participation rate of alumni who give to the University SASG Targets 12.1 deliver the above University targets within the timeframe of the Edinburgh Campaign, scheduled to conclude in 2011 12.2 plan and implement new fundraising and alumni relations targets for the University's postCampaign period
We continue to enhance relationships with our 130,000 alumni worldwide.
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Requests for additional information should be addressed to: The University of Edinburgh Student and Academic Services Group Business Unit Old College South Bridge Edinburgh EH8 9YL Telephone : 0131 650 2144 Email : University.Secretary@ed.ac.uk
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