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Strategic Plan 2008 - 2012


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

Introduction The Students’ Union is delighted to present you with our new strategic plan. This document has been compiled with a considerable amount of effort and dedication from all the students and staff involved in the Students’ Union, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, as well as reflecting input from a host of our external partners.

Student organisations are known to be vibrant and ever changing. What we have recognised is that the core aim of all involved is to get the best student experience for all they represent. This document will be a step towards making this vision become a reality.

In recent years, we have worked tirelessly to ensure that achievements in all areas of our operation would match the expectation of our students, with respect to delivering the activities dedicated to enhancing their student experience, all taking place within the context of the new Queen Margaret University campus. This strategic plan shall be fundamental to the progression of the aims, goals and operational activities of the Students’ Union by consolidating our activities into one document and highlighting, in broad terms, the future direction of our organisation whilst ensuring that our work is effective, efficient and based on the democratic and representative principles upon which the organisation is founded. Although this is a forward-looking document, we believe that much has been achieved over the last few years and we felt it appropriate to record some of that within the strategic plan. Therefore this document offers reflection on what has worked in the past as well as the areas that we will be concentrating on in the future, whilst remaining, above all, student-led and student-focused. This strategic plan is intended to act as a guide for adapting the desires and ideas of a wide range of student representatives who will participate in the Students’ Union over the next few years, to the long-term aspirations of the organisation.

Rio Floreza Student President (2008/09)

Saul Bertoletti General Manager


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

Introduction The Students’ Union is delighted to present you with our new strategic plan. This document has been compiled with a considerable amount of effort and dedication from all the students and staff involved in the Students’ Union, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, as well as reflecting input from a host of our external partners.

Student organisations are known to be vibrant and ever changing. What we have recognised is that the core aim of all involved is to get the best student experience for all they represent. This document will be a step towards making this vision become a reality.

In recent years, we have worked tirelessly to ensure that achievements in all areas of our operation would match the expectation of our students, with respect to delivering the activities dedicated to enhancing their student experience, all taking place within the context of the new Queen Margaret University campus. This strategic plan shall be fundamental to the progression of the aims, goals and operational activities of the Students’ Union by consolidating our activities into one document and highlighting, in broad terms, the future direction of our organisation whilst ensuring that our work is effective, efficient and based on the democratic and representative principles upon which the organisation is founded. Although this is a forward-looking document, we believe that much has been achieved over the last few years and we felt it appropriate to record some of that within the strategic plan. Therefore this document offers reflection on what has worked in the past as well as the areas that we will be concentrating on in the future, whilst remaining, above all, student-led and student-focused. This strategic plan is intended to act as a guide for adapting the desires and ideas of a wide range of student representatives who will participate in the Students’ Union over the next few years, to the long-term aspirations of the organisation.

Rio Floreza Student President (2008/09)

Saul Bertoletti General Manager


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

1. 2.

3. 4. 5. 5.1

5.2

5.3 6.

7.

8.

The Students' Union – Purpose and Role Structure, Governance and Management Status and Membership Constitutional and Governance Framework Operational Responsibility Review – 2005/2007 Achievements – Some Examples About the Plan Situation Review Situation Review: External Student Learning Support Factors Student Involvement Diversity of Student Population Personal Development and Employability Estates and Buildings Relationships with the Community Situation Review - Internal Future direction Communication & Publicity Finance Students’ Union Building Activity Recording Continuity SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Mission and Aims Strategic Aims Aim 1: Representation and Engagement Aim 2: Student Well Being Aim 3: Volunteering and Employability Aim 4: The Social Space Supporting Aims Aim 5: Our People Aim 6: Finance and Funding Implementation, Monitoring and Review Implementation Monitoring Evaluation

1 2 2 2 3 4 5 7 8 8 8 8 9 10 11 11 12 12 12 13 13 14 14 15 16 18 18 18 18 18 18 25 25 26 27 27 28 29

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1. The Students’ Union – Purpose and Role The key role of the Students’ Union is to represent the interests of all matriculated students at Queen Margaret University (the University). There are a number of representatives from the Students’ Union who sit on University Committees including Court and Senate. The Students’ Union is represented throughout all relevant branches of the University’s decision-making structure. The representative function is augmented by the delivery of services aimed at enhancing the student experience while at Queen Margaret University. The objectives as set out in the constitution, are: •

To enhance the Student experience by providing representation, advice, activities and services to all matriculated students.

To stimulate the expression of Student opinion within the University on all matters affecting the life and education of students and to be the recognised body representing the students’ views both within the University and to external organisations.

To promote co–operation amongst the Students in order to further their educational, cultural, social, athletic and recreational interests, recognising the diversity of the student population and ensuring equal opportunities are available to all.

To provide representation, advice, activities and services to all Queen Margaret University Students.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

1. 2.

3. 4. 5. 5.1

5.2

5.3 6.

7.

8.

The Students' Union – Purpose and Role Structure, Governance and Management Status and Membership Constitutional and Governance Framework Operational Responsibility Review – 2005/2007 Achievements – Some Examples About the Plan Situation Review Situation Review: External Student Learning Support Factors Student Involvement Diversity of Student Population Personal Development and Employability Estates and Buildings Relationships with the Community Situation Review - Internal Future direction Communication & Publicity Finance Students’ Union Building Activity Recording Continuity SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Mission and Aims Strategic Aims Aim 1: Representation and Engagement Aim 2: Student Well Being Aim 3: Volunteering and Employability Aim 4: The Social Space Supporting Aims Aim 5: Our People Aim 6: Finance and Funding Implementation, Monitoring and Review Implementation Monitoring Evaluation

1 2 2 2 3 4 5 7 8 8 8 8 9 10 11 11 12 12 12 13 13 14 14 15 16 18 18 18 18 18 18 25 25 26 27 27 28 29

Page 1

1. The Students’ Union – Purpose and Role The key role of the Students’ Union is to represent the interests of all matriculated students at Queen Margaret University (the University). There are a number of representatives from the Students’ Union who sit on University Committees including Court and Senate. The Students’ Union is represented throughout all relevant branches of the University’s decision-making structure. The representative function is augmented by the delivery of services aimed at enhancing the student experience while at Queen Margaret University. The objectives as set out in the constitution, are: •

To enhance the Student experience by providing representation, advice, activities and services to all matriculated students.

To stimulate the expression of Student opinion within the University on all matters affecting the life and education of students and to be the recognised body representing the students’ views both within the University and to external organisations.

To promote co–operation amongst the Students in order to further their educational, cultural, social, athletic and recreational interests, recognising the diversity of the student population and ensuring equal opportunities are available to all.

To provide representation, advice, activities and services to all Queen Margaret University Students.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

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2. Structure, Governance and Management Status and Membership The Students’ Union Queen Margaret University is a non-incorporated charitable organisation - Charity No. SC012608. All students registered at Queen Margaret University are automatically members of The Students’ Union. Students can opt out once per academic session. Membership entitles students to vote and stand for election. Where students opt out they can still use The Students’ Union facilities and services. The legislation relating to students’ unions and representative bodies is contained in the Education Act 1994. This sets out in broad terms, how such organisations should operate and stipulates the duties of the ‘governing body’ (i.e. the parent institution) to ensure that any student body operates in a fair and democratic manner and is accountable for its finances.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

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General Meeting. There is one standing Sub Committee - the Staffing Sub-Committee - which meets on an ad hoc basis. Its membership is made up of the Sabbatical Officers and the General Manager. Parliament has the capacity to establish Working Groups, which are generally convened by each Executive officers and they have an advisory function for the Executive Committee. Operational Responsibility The General Manager fulfils a Chief Executive role and undertakes dayto-day management on behalf of the Executive; the Executive implements Student Parliament policy on a day-to-day basis. To do so, the Executive (on behalf of Student Parliament and through the General Manager) has operational financial power and responsibility. Various checks and balances, as required by the University, are provided for in this process. The six Executive officers meet with the General Manager on a fortnightly basis in order to plan for the following two-week’s activities and review those of the previous fortnight. Ad hoc meetings take place regularly between the two Sabbatical Officers and the General Manager.

Constitutional and Governance Framework The Students’ Union constitution was revised and approved by Student Parliament in May 2008. It was ratified by University Court in June 2008. A review was needed in order to bring the constitution into line with the new campus context and to update it so that it follows the democratic needs of our student body and new charity laws. This process coincides with the five-yearly review by which our constitution abides. The process also ensured that the new constitution was brought into line with the Education Act (1994) and the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. The trustees of the organisation are the members of the Executive Committee. All members of the Executive Committee are elected through secret ballot. The constitution makes provision for a Student Parliament of approximately 50 members and an Executive Committee of six members, of which two act on a sabbatical basis and four on a part-time basis (whilst students). Members of Student Parliament (MSPs) are elected to their positions annually from several constituencies through the Students’ Union Annual

Sabbatical officers receive a honorarium payment, which allows them to fulfil their role on a full time basis. They work closely with the Students’ Union staff (ensuring that all areas of the organisation are run appropriately) and support the General Manager in day-to-day administration tasks.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

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2. Structure, Governance and Management Status and Membership The Students’ Union Queen Margaret University is a non-incorporated charitable organisation - Charity No. SC012608. All students registered at Queen Margaret University are automatically members of The Students’ Union. Students can opt out once per academic session. Membership entitles students to vote and stand for election. Where students opt out they can still use The Students’ Union facilities and services. The legislation relating to students’ unions and representative bodies is contained in the Education Act 1994. This sets out in broad terms, how such organisations should operate and stipulates the duties of the ‘governing body’ (i.e. the parent institution) to ensure that any student body operates in a fair and democratic manner and is accountable for its finances.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

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General Meeting. There is one standing Sub Committee - the Staffing Sub-Committee - which meets on an ad hoc basis. Its membership is made up of the Sabbatical Officers and the General Manager. Parliament has the capacity to establish Working Groups, which are generally convened by each Executive officers and they have an advisory function for the Executive Committee. Operational Responsibility The General Manager fulfils a Chief Executive role and undertakes dayto-day management on behalf of the Executive; the Executive implements Student Parliament policy on a day-to-day basis. To do so, the Executive (on behalf of Student Parliament and through the General Manager) has operational financial power and responsibility. Various checks and balances, as required by the University, are provided for in this process. The six Executive officers meet with the General Manager on a fortnightly basis in order to plan for the following two-week’s activities and review those of the previous fortnight. Ad hoc meetings take place regularly between the two Sabbatical Officers and the General Manager.

Constitutional and Governance Framework The Students’ Union constitution was revised and approved by Student Parliament in May 2008. It was ratified by University Court in June 2008. A review was needed in order to bring the constitution into line with the new campus context and to update it so that it follows the democratic needs of our student body and new charity laws. This process coincides with the five-yearly review by which our constitution abides. The process also ensured that the new constitution was brought into line with the Education Act (1994) and the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. The trustees of the organisation are the members of the Executive Committee. All members of the Executive Committee are elected through secret ballot. The constitution makes provision for a Student Parliament of approximately 50 members and an Executive Committee of six members, of which two act on a sabbatical basis and four on a part-time basis (whilst students). Members of Student Parliament (MSPs) are elected to their positions annually from several constituencies through the Students’ Union Annual

Sabbatical officers receive a honorarium payment, which allows them to fulfil their role on a full time basis. They work closely with the Students’ Union staff (ensuring that all areas of the organisation are run appropriately) and support the General Manager in day-to-day administration tasks.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

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Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

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3. Review – 2005/2007

Achievements – Selected Examples

Operational Improvements

Volunteer Award: In June 2008, the Students' Union was awarded 2nd place in the Participation Category at the 2008 National Union of Students (NUS) Awards. The NUS Participation Award is awarded in recognition of the achievement of a students’ union, which has significantly increased participation levels of student members. The criteria focussed on the key areas of; election turnout, representation, campaigning, clubs and societies, course representatives and involvement in decision making.

Rights and Welfare Centre (RAW Centre): This was established as part of the move to the new campus and has already proved to be essential in offering a valuable point of contact for students needing impartial advice on issues such as, but not limited to, health, welfare and academic issues.

Raise and Give (RAG): 2007/08 saw the resurrection of RAG. This popular student run project is a chance for the students and staff of Queen Margaret to do something different by helping those less fortunate. The Students’ Union facilitated awareness and fund raising events for good causes, locally and nationally, varying from Children In Need to Jeans for Genes to The Sick Kids Of Edinburgh Foundation. In 2007/08 alone, RAG collected and donated approximately £500 to charity and also nominated several students, who volunteer externally, for the Abbey Santander Awards, whereby QM students and the organisations they volunteer for were awarded a cash prize for their work.

Student Elections: The participation in students election showed significant growth in 2007/08 with four students running for each sabbatical position and at least one candidate for each part-time Student Executive position. Over 800 students voted, which represents a 100% increase from the previous year.

Best Bar None Award: In 2006/07, the Students’ Union Bar was short listed for the prestigious Best Bar None Award organised by the commercial arm of the National Union of Students (NUSSL). We were nominated alongside six other Students’

In recent years the organisation has undergone continuous operational improvements. The following are some of the main areas where visible progress has been made: 1.

The merger of the three campuses has allowed us to create stronger links to all our members.

2.

The size of the new Students’ Union café and bar, whilst limited, has served to reinforce the image of our social space as a ‘meeting place’ rather than ‘just a bar’.

3.

A Mission Statement and Business Vision has been established that reflects the new ethos and values of The Students’ Union.

4.

A new Constitution has been established, which provides a sound platform for the work of the organisation.

5.

A reporting template, used by all student officers, has been developed in order to enhance accountability and effectiveness by encouraging reporting against agreed individual objectives.

6.

Financial management efficiency has been improved through reviewing our internal budgeting structure.

7.

Clear and unambiguous line management structures have been put in place and are being adhered to.

8.

A staff review and appraisal system has been established, along side increased emphasis on staff training and development. In addition, a new staff handbook has been produced.

9.

A comprehensive officer training and induction programme (independently evaluated annually) has been put in place.

10.

Strong working links between Students Union Staff, Student Officers and University staff have been established reinforcing the essential element of team and partnership work.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 4

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 5

3. Review – 2005/2007

Achievements – Selected Examples

Operational Improvements

Volunteer Award: In June 2008, the Students' Union was awarded 2nd place in the Participation Category at the 2008 National Union of Students (NUS) Awards. The NUS Participation Award is awarded in recognition of the achievement of a students’ union, which has significantly increased participation levels of student members. The criteria focussed on the key areas of; election turnout, representation, campaigning, clubs and societies, course representatives and involvement in decision making.

Rights and Welfare Centre (RAW Centre): This was established as part of the move to the new campus and has already proved to be essential in offering a valuable point of contact for students needing impartial advice on issues such as, but not limited to, health, welfare and academic issues.

Raise and Give (RAG): 2007/08 saw the resurrection of RAG. This popular student run project is a chance for the students and staff of Queen Margaret to do something different by helping those less fortunate. The Students’ Union facilitated awareness and fund raising events for good causes, locally and nationally, varying from Children In Need to Jeans for Genes to The Sick Kids Of Edinburgh Foundation. In 2007/08 alone, RAG collected and donated approximately £500 to charity and also nominated several students, who volunteer externally, for the Abbey Santander Awards, whereby QM students and the organisations they volunteer for were awarded a cash prize for their work.

Student Elections: The participation in students election showed significant growth in 2007/08 with four students running for each sabbatical position and at least one candidate for each part-time Student Executive position. Over 800 students voted, which represents a 100% increase from the previous year.

Best Bar None Award: In 2006/07, the Students’ Union Bar was short listed for the prestigious Best Bar None Award organised by the commercial arm of the National Union of Students (NUSSL). We were nominated alongside six other Students’

In recent years the organisation has undergone continuous operational improvements. The following are some of the main areas where visible progress has been made: 1.

The merger of the three campuses has allowed us to create stronger links to all our members.

2.

The size of the new Students’ Union café and bar, whilst limited, has served to reinforce the image of our social space as a ‘meeting place’ rather than ‘just a bar’.

3.

A Mission Statement and Business Vision has been established that reflects the new ethos and values of The Students’ Union.

4.

A new Constitution has been established, which provides a sound platform for the work of the organisation.

5.

A reporting template, used by all student officers, has been developed in order to enhance accountability and effectiveness by encouraging reporting against agreed individual objectives.

6.

Financial management efficiency has been improved through reviewing our internal budgeting structure.

7.

Clear and unambiguous line management structures have been put in place and are being adhered to.

8.

A staff review and appraisal system has been established, along side increased emphasis on staff training and development. In addition, a new staff handbook has been produced.

9.

A comprehensive officer training and induction programme (independently evaluated annually) has been put in place.

10.

Strong working links between Students Union Staff, Student Officers and University staff have been established reinforcing the essential element of team and partnership work.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

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Union within the Northern-England & Scotland region. The criteria for the award are set by the Greater Manchester Police to assess how responsibly a bar operates with regard to the sale of alcohol. This is reflected in our policies and procedures, staff training and general attitude of our bar. •

Education: In 2007/08, Queen Margaret University, in partnership with the Students’ Union, launched the ‘Learning through Representation’ module. This module provides 15 university credits to the students who actively participate in representational activities and reflects on their experiences whilst doing so. This is a step in the right direction in encouraging participation in Students’ Union-led representational activities and recognises the students for their efforts. Sport – In 2007/08, the QM women’s hockey club and the QM women’s basketball clubs won their league titles as part of the British University Sports Association (BUSA) championship. In the past five years, QM men’s and women’s rugby, football and netball clubs all excelled in their fields and provided a number of valuable players to the Scotland University Sports Association (SUS), taking part in international competitions.

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4. About the Plan This plan sets out, in broad terms, the future direction of our organisation and the key mechanisms by which we will take it forward in the context of the new campus in Musselburgh. This strategy does not often refer specifically to the constituent elements of the Students’ Union and the language and direction are overarching. The aims and objectives are not overly specific but are intended to encapsulate the nature and future direction of the organisation without constraining the capacity of elected student officers to set their own campaigning priorities. This strategy will be augmented by an annual operating plan agreed between staff and elected student officers. This will set out the priorities for the year ahead and will provide details of how these objectives will be achieved.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

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Union within the Northern-England & Scotland region. The criteria for the award are set by the Greater Manchester Police to assess how responsibly a bar operates with regard to the sale of alcohol. This is reflected in our policies and procedures, staff training and general attitude of our bar. •

Education: In 2007/08, Queen Margaret University, in partnership with the Students’ Union, launched the ‘Learning through Representation’ module. This module provides 15 university credits to the students who actively participate in representational activities and reflects on their experiences whilst doing so. This is a step in the right direction in encouraging participation in Students’ Union-led representational activities and recognises the students for their efforts. Sport – In 2007/08, the QM women’s hockey club and the QM women’s basketball clubs won their league titles as part of the British University Sports Association (BUSA) championship. In the past five years, QM men’s and women’s rugby, football and netball clubs all excelled in their fields and provided a number of valuable players to the Scotland University Sports Association (SUS), taking part in international competitions.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 7

4. About the Plan This plan sets out, in broad terms, the future direction of our organisation and the key mechanisms by which we will take it forward in the context of the new campus in Musselburgh. This strategy does not often refer specifically to the constituent elements of the Students’ Union and the language and direction are overarching. The aims and objectives are not overly specific but are intended to encapsulate the nature and future direction of the organisation without constraining the capacity of elected student officers to set their own campaigning priorities. This strategy will be augmented by an annual operating plan agreed between staff and elected student officers. This will set out the priorities for the year ahead and will provide details of how these objectives will be achieved.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 8

5. Situation Review The Students’ Union has a close relationship with the University and shares many of the University’s aims and aspirations for students of the institution. There is considerable collaborative work undertaken between the two parties with a particular focus on student involvement in quality assurance, retention, employability, and personal development. Inevitably, the fortunes of the Students’ Union are therefore closely linked to those of Queen Margaret University.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 9

Students are often open to exploitation by a variety of selling agents from landlords to banks to mobile phone companies, since they are usually negotiating from a position of weakness or ignorance. It is not necessarily one individual factor that impacts on a student’s achievements at University but usually a combination of several. We provide our members with a safe environment where they can socialise at minimum cost. We continue to advise and represent individual students on a wide range of welfare related issues from small claims court actions against landlords to disability benefits to employment rights.

The external situation review relates, in the main, to how we will continue to work with the University. The internal review relates to our own operations. Key elements of this review are highlighted in the SWOT analysis at the end of this section.

The problems experienced by individual students continue to inform our campaigning role, ensuring our work is relevant and focussed on addressing issues that impact on the quality of life of our members.

5.1 Situation Review: External

Student Involvement

Student Learning

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) recommends that the effective involvement of students is at the centre of the Enhancement Agenda and sets out the following as part of a variety of mechanisms through which students could and should be involved:2

A key Strategic Theme for the University is ‘Enhancing the Academic Experience’.1 The University’s strategic plan outlines a range of actions by which it will achieve this. The Learning and Teaching Strategy, in particular, could see the Students’ Union as a partner in achieving many of its objectives. There is strong student representation on all learning and teaching committees, as well as joint working groups established to address key issues.

a) b) c)

Our Rights, Advice and Welfare (RAW) Centre continues to represent and support students through the academic appeals and complaint procedures. Issues and trends identified through this route have been the catalyst for joint working with the University in developing solution orientated approaches, which benefit all students. Support Factors The support factors which impact on student retention do not only relate to academic matters. Students continue to experience low income and high levels of debt, often requiring them to undertake part time work. 1

Strategic Plan 2004-07: Queen Margaret University (College)

d)

the involvement of student members in review teams within the new institutional review process; the systematic representation of students at all levels within institutions; the effective training and support for student representatives through both internal mechanisms, existing external structures and through a new national Student Development Service; better information on the student experience through national surveys both of the student experience within institutions and also longitudinal surveys of student and graduate cohorts.

The partnership established between the University and the Students’ Union across various areas of work has proved beneficial to both parties in working to enhance student engagement. The QAA recognise the importance of Student Representative Organisations’ and Institutions working together: 2

Handbook for enhancement-led institutional review: Scotland (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education)


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 8

5. Situation Review The Students’ Union has a close relationship with the University and shares many of the University’s aims and aspirations for students of the institution. There is considerable collaborative work undertaken between the two parties with a particular focus on student involvement in quality assurance, retention, employability, and personal development. Inevitably, the fortunes of the Students’ Union are therefore closely linked to those of Queen Margaret University.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 9

Students are often open to exploitation by a variety of selling agents from landlords to banks to mobile phone companies, since they are usually negotiating from a position of weakness or ignorance. It is not necessarily one individual factor that impacts on a student’s achievements at University but usually a combination of several. We provide our members with a safe environment where they can socialise at minimum cost. We continue to advise and represent individual students on a wide range of welfare related issues from small claims court actions against landlords to disability benefits to employment rights.

The external situation review relates, in the main, to how we will continue to work with the University. The internal review relates to our own operations. Key elements of this review are highlighted in the SWOT analysis at the end of this section.

The problems experienced by individual students continue to inform our campaigning role, ensuring our work is relevant and focussed on addressing issues that impact on the quality of life of our members.

5.1 Situation Review: External

Student Involvement

Student Learning

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) recommends that the effective involvement of students is at the centre of the Enhancement Agenda and sets out the following as part of a variety of mechanisms through which students could and should be involved:2

A key Strategic Theme for the University is ‘Enhancing the Academic Experience’.1 The University’s strategic plan outlines a range of actions by which it will achieve this. The Learning and Teaching Strategy, in particular, could see the Students’ Union as a partner in achieving many of its objectives. There is strong student representation on all learning and teaching committees, as well as joint working groups established to address key issues.

a) b) c)

Our Rights, Advice and Welfare (RAW) Centre continues to represent and support students through the academic appeals and complaint procedures. Issues and trends identified through this route have been the catalyst for joint working with the University in developing solution orientated approaches, which benefit all students. Support Factors The support factors which impact on student retention do not only relate to academic matters. Students continue to experience low income and high levels of debt, often requiring them to undertake part time work. 1

Strategic Plan 2004-07: Queen Margaret University (College)

d)

the involvement of student members in review teams within the new institutional review process; the systematic representation of students at all levels within institutions; the effective training and support for student representatives through both internal mechanisms, existing external structures and through a new national Student Development Service; better information on the student experience through national surveys both of the student experience within institutions and also longitudinal surveys of student and graduate cohorts.

The partnership established between the University and the Students’ Union across various areas of work has proved beneficial to both parties in working to enhance student engagement. The QAA recognise the importance of Student Representative Organisations’ and Institutions working together: 2

Handbook for enhancement-led institutional review: Scotland (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education)


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 10

“Student Engagement at the strategic level is clearly a very powerful driver for enhancement, as exemplified by those institutions where a strong and productive partnership exists ” 3 Diversity of Student Population The University will continue to recruit students from a range of backgrounds as highlighted in the ‘’Internationalisation Strategy” document, compiled by the University Vice Principal in April 2007: “Increasing international student numbers [by attracting] 30% of students from the UK; 10% from the European Union; 20% from other international jurisdictions.”4 Through this prominent international expansion, the University is continuing to seek to attract an increasing number of international and postgraduate students.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

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Personal Development and Employability There is a growing recognition, in many areas of learning, that employers are seeking evidence of students being ‘well rounded’ individuals with some ‘real life’ experience to complement their academic achievements. The Students’ Union continues to work closely with the University in the establishment and rolling out of the Personal Development Planning (PDP) strategy. The volunteer opportunities we provide will complement the University’s objective of offering learning opportunities that will encourage entrepreneurship and enhance employability and enterprise. Volunteering can be a significant factor in enhancing a student’s career prospects as well as perhaps an opportunity for those from different cultures to learn about various aspects of life in Scotland and to develop new interests and friendships outwith their own peer group. Volunteering is also a very powerful tool in promoting integration between different cohorts of students. Estates and Buildings

In general terms, the nature of the student population at Queen Margaret is changing; with a move from what was regarded as the typical, (traditional) learner towards a (non-traditional) student population which is considerably more diverse with respect to age, class and ethnicity. “Our focus is not just on the young. Seventy per cent of our students are over the age of twenty one, and half of those are over thirty. Our growth over the next dozen years will be built on a massive expansion of our specifically-designed part-time provision. We intend to develop pro grammes at undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD levels for people in our new hinterland who, for a variety of reasons, may otherwise have been unable to access higher education”.5 This has obvious implications for University learning provision and support services. It also presents a challenge to the Students’ Union in terms of both our service delivery and our representative functions. 3

Learning from ELIR- Managing assurance and enhancement: Evolution and progression An interim report. (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) 2007

4

QMU Internationalisation Strategy, David Kirk, University Vice Principal (2007)

5

A University for the 21st Century - A vision for the future - Anthony Cohen, University Principal (2004)

The creation of the new campus saw the merger of three separate campuses located in three individual sites across Edinburgh. The University relocation project saw the integration of Gateway, the site which held the School of Drama and Creative Industry (SDCI), to the new campus very late in the planning project. SDCI was integrated within the Students’ Union/Sports Centre building, effectively reducing the space originally allocated to the Students’ Union. The Students’ Union has created a productive relationship with the Estate and Facilities department. By working closely in the relocation project there has been reciprocal support in dealing with ongoing limitations and ‘snagging’ that the new building has faced.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

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“Student Engagement at the strategic level is clearly a very powerful driver for enhancement, as exemplified by those institutions where a strong and productive partnership exists ” 3 Diversity of Student Population The University will continue to recruit students from a range of backgrounds as highlighted in the ‘’Internationalisation Strategy” document, compiled by the University Vice Principal in April 2007: “Increasing international student numbers [by attracting] 30% of students from the UK; 10% from the European Union; 20% from other international jurisdictions.”4 Through this prominent international expansion, the University is continuing to seek to attract an increasing number of international and postgraduate students.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 11

Personal Development and Employability There is a growing recognition, in many areas of learning, that employers are seeking evidence of students being ‘well rounded’ individuals with some ‘real life’ experience to complement their academic achievements. The Students’ Union continues to work closely with the University in the establishment and rolling out of the Personal Development Planning (PDP) strategy. The volunteer opportunities we provide will complement the University’s objective of offering learning opportunities that will encourage entrepreneurship and enhance employability and enterprise. Volunteering can be a significant factor in enhancing a student’s career prospects as well as perhaps an opportunity for those from different cultures to learn about various aspects of life in Scotland and to develop new interests and friendships outwith their own peer group. Volunteering is also a very powerful tool in promoting integration between different cohorts of students. Estates and Buildings

In general terms, the nature of the student population at Queen Margaret is changing; with a move from what was regarded as the typical, (traditional) learner towards a (non-traditional) student population which is considerably more diverse with respect to age, class and ethnicity. “Our focus is not just on the young. Seventy per cent of our students are over the age of twenty one, and half of those are over thirty. Our growth over the next dozen years will be built on a massive expansion of our specifically-designed part-time provision. We intend to develop pro grammes at undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD levels for people in our new hinterland who, for a variety of reasons, may otherwise have been unable to access higher education”.5 This has obvious implications for University learning provision and support services. It also presents a challenge to the Students’ Union in terms of both our service delivery and our representative functions. 3

Learning from ELIR- Managing assurance and enhancement: Evolution and progression An interim report. (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) 2007

4

QMU Internationalisation Strategy, David Kirk, University Vice Principal (2007)

5

A University for the 21st Century - A vision for the future - Anthony Cohen, University Principal (2004)

The creation of the new campus saw the merger of three separate campuses located in three individual sites across Edinburgh. The University relocation project saw the integration of Gateway, the site which held the School of Drama and Creative Industry (SDCI), to the new campus very late in the planning project. SDCI was integrated within the Students’ Union/Sports Centre building, effectively reducing the space originally allocated to the Students’ Union. The Students’ Union has created a productive relationship with the Estate and Facilities department. By working closely in the relocation project there has been reciprocal support in dealing with ongoing limitations and ‘snagging’ that the new building has faced.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 12

This constructive relationship is vital for the Students Union in being able to maintain our space to adequate standards and continually strive to improve our facilities. Relationships with the Community The location of the new campus at the edge of Edinburgh lies within the boundaries of East Lothian Council, a local authority that did not previously include a higher education institution. The University new campus project included an explicit intention to fully engage with and integrate into the local community. This is reflected within the strategic documents produced prior to the move: “Fundamental to our strategic development is our view of QMU as ‘the people’s university’. We think of ourselves, on our new campus at Musselburgh, as an ‘ungated’ institution, in which the most important stakeholders are the public. Indeed, our new campus has been deliberately designed with this in mind.”5 At this early stage of the relocation it is difficult to gauge the extent to which the presence of the institution has impacted on the local community. However, some community groups have already expressed their concerns regarding the impact of burgeoning student population in their midst. The Students’ Union has now established links with some community organisations and has the opportunity to develop this further. 5.2 Situation Review - Internal Future direction The Students’ Union is a multi faceted organisation, which offers a range of services and fulfils a statutory representative function. The development of a strategic plan (supported by an operational plan) will ensure that the work of the elected officers and the staff team are clearly linked and focussed on achieving the organisation’s aims. We will also develop activity and outcome targets and indicators for the period 2008 - 2011 against which our success can be measured. 5

A University for the 21st Century - A vision for the future - Anthony Cohen, University Principal (2004)

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 13

Measuring our impact in some areas is resource dependent and will require us to work in partnership with the University. It should be recognised that the objective of the strategic plan is not to restrict elected officers but to serve as a framework which accommodates the democratic process. Communication & Publicity Related to the above, there is a need for the Students’ Union to develop and communicate a vision as to its purpose in order to broaden and deepen its credibility with its members and the wider University community. Although student officers are democratically elected, the Students’ Union acknowledges the need to ensure ongoing dialogue and engagement with its membership in order to increase its recognition and to bolster legitimacy amongst stakeholders. To do this, the Students’ Union employs a variety of consultation and engagement tools. Further, there is a need for the Students’ Union to publicise its successes in order that members understand the nature, depth and range of its work. The concepts of marketing, engagement and representation are closely linked and the Students’ Union intends to build on its performance in all such areas. Finance The Students’ Union receives around 80% of its annual income through the University’s block grant. Additional income is generated through the revenue from the bar, catering and marketing activities. Whilst there is strong evidence that the revenue from bar and catering after the move will provide a higher income, the Students’ Union key functions will continue to relate to Student Support and Representation.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 12

This constructive relationship is vital for the Students Union in being able to maintain our space to adequate standards and continually strive to improve our facilities. Relationships with the Community The location of the new campus at the edge of Edinburgh lies within the boundaries of East Lothian Council, a local authority that did not previously include a higher education institution. The University new campus project included an explicit intention to fully engage with and integrate into the local community. This is reflected within the strategic documents produced prior to the move: “Fundamental to our strategic development is our view of QMU as ‘the people’s university’. We think of ourselves, on our new campus at Musselburgh, as an ‘ungated’ institution, in which the most important stakeholders are the public. Indeed, our new campus has been deliberately designed with this in mind.”5 At this early stage of the relocation it is difficult to gauge the extent to which the presence of the institution has impacted on the local community. However, some community groups have already expressed their concerns regarding the impact of burgeoning student population in their midst. The Students’ Union has now established links with some community organisations and has the opportunity to develop this further. 5.2 Situation Review - Internal Future direction The Students’ Union is a multi faceted organisation, which offers a range of services and fulfils a statutory representative function. The development of a strategic plan (supported by an operational plan) will ensure that the work of the elected officers and the staff team are clearly linked and focussed on achieving the organisation’s aims. We will also develop activity and outcome targets and indicators for the period 2008 - 2011 against which our success can be measured. 5

A University for the 21st Century - A vision for the future - Anthony Cohen, University Principal (2004)

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 13

Measuring our impact in some areas is resource dependent and will require us to work in partnership with the University. It should be recognised that the objective of the strategic plan is not to restrict elected officers but to serve as a framework which accommodates the democratic process. Communication & Publicity Related to the above, there is a need for the Students’ Union to develop and communicate a vision as to its purpose in order to broaden and deepen its credibility with its members and the wider University community. Although student officers are democratically elected, the Students’ Union acknowledges the need to ensure ongoing dialogue and engagement with its membership in order to increase its recognition and to bolster legitimacy amongst stakeholders. To do this, the Students’ Union employs a variety of consultation and engagement tools. Further, there is a need for the Students’ Union to publicise its successes in order that members understand the nature, depth and range of its work. The concepts of marketing, engagement and representation are closely linked and the Students’ Union intends to build on its performance in all such areas. Finance The Students’ Union receives around 80% of its annual income through the University’s block grant. Additional income is generated through the revenue from the bar, catering and marketing activities. Whilst there is strong evidence that the revenue from bar and catering after the move will provide a higher income, the Students’ Union key functions will continue to relate to Student Support and Representation.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 14

The organisation will therefore continue to be reliant chiefly on a single source; Queen Margaret University. It is therefore essential that, whilst retaining its independent representative function, the Students’ Union is seen to be giving added value to the University’s efforts to enhance the student experience. Of course, it is equally important that the University continues to acknowledge the work of the Students’ Union and recognises the importance of an independently led and properly resourced representative body. Students’ Union Building The Students’ Union capacity to enhance its services is hampered by the lack of appropriate space in the current building and poor access in some areas. The early stages of the Students’ Union occupancy at the new campus has proven to be challenging in both practical layout of the building and space. It is proving particularly difficult to operate in an open-plan space where volunteers, elected officers and staff all work in a limited communal space. The bar and café space provides adequate space for students to socialise but the specification of the material and finishing used is likely to wear rapidly, leading to ongoing maintenance requirement and the potential for additional investment to have to be made in the near future. Activity Recording The Students’ Union records outcomes and trends in a variety of ways with a view to improving the service offered to students, particularly in the areas of representation, advice and support and volunteer opportunities. In the case of the Rights And Welfare (RAW) Centre, the range of students to whom the centre provides support is anonymously recorded. This allows the Students’ Union to identify trends, which inform its campaigns. It also allows the Students’ Union to establish whether it is reaching a representative cross-section of the student community. The Students’ Union also employs a variety of user feedback mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the quality of its work.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 15

Continuity Office bearers of the Students’ Union are subject to annual election. Inevitably this can impact on the capacity to deliver on long term aims since new student officers, with differing priorities, are elected. One of the functions of this document is to serve as part of a continuity framework which will allow student officers to set their own priorities within a very broad enabling framework. This document will form a central aspect of the induction training for new student officers and will lend additionality to the comprehensive induction training developed over the last three years for new student officers. The staff will continue to play an important role in supporting and advising student officers, working with them on objective setting and working in partnership to achieve the organisation’s and their individual aims. Strong and positive working relationships have developed between the Students’ Union staff and University staff, which helps ensure a degree of continuity at operational level.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 14

The organisation will therefore continue to be reliant chiefly on a single source; Queen Margaret University. It is therefore essential that, whilst retaining its independent representative function, the Students’ Union is seen to be giving added value to the University’s efforts to enhance the student experience. Of course, it is equally important that the University continues to acknowledge the work of the Students’ Union and recognises the importance of an independently led and properly resourced representative body. Students’ Union Building The Students’ Union capacity to enhance its services is hampered by the lack of appropriate space in the current building and poor access in some areas. The early stages of the Students’ Union occupancy at the new campus has proven to be challenging in both practical layout of the building and space. It is proving particularly difficult to operate in an open-plan space where volunteers, elected officers and staff all work in a limited communal space. The bar and café space provides adequate space for students to socialise but the specification of the material and finishing used is likely to wear rapidly, leading to ongoing maintenance requirement and the potential for additional investment to have to be made in the near future. Activity Recording The Students’ Union records outcomes and trends in a variety of ways with a view to improving the service offered to students, particularly in the areas of representation, advice and support and volunteer opportunities. In the case of the Rights And Welfare (RAW) Centre, the range of students to whom the centre provides support is anonymously recorded. This allows the Students’ Union to identify trends, which inform its campaigns. It also allows the Students’ Union to establish whether it is reaching a representative cross-section of the student community. The Students’ Union also employs a variety of user feedback mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the quality of its work.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 15

Continuity Office bearers of the Students’ Union are subject to annual election. Inevitably this can impact on the capacity to deliver on long term aims since new student officers, with differing priorities, are elected. One of the functions of this document is to serve as part of a continuity framework which will allow student officers to set their own priorities within a very broad enabling framework. This document will form a central aspect of the induction training for new student officers and will lend additionality to the comprehensive induction training developed over the last three years for new student officers. The staff will continue to play an important role in supporting and advising student officers, working with them on objective setting and working in partnership to achieve the organisation’s and their individual aims. Strong and positive working relationships have developed between the Students’ Union staff and University staff, which helps ensure a degree of continuity at operational level.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 16

5.3 SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) The table below summarises the main factors emerging from recent SWOT analyses carried out with various stakeholders and draw on the foregoing situation review.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 17

The SWOT encapsulates the situation review and some of the key points that emerge from this are summarised below. The Students’ Union statutory foundation affords it a degree of security. The working relationship with the University across a broad range of areas and the financial support from the University ensures that our energies are focused on delivering our aims. There is a general confidence in the management of the organisation, strong internal working relationships with staff, and student officers feel well supported. The Students’ Union continues to work to build its profile and publicise its successes. There is a need to work to increase the perception of the Students’ Union as a legitimate representative organisation across campus. We are however constrained by the restrictions of our building and the limitations of our funding. The organisation benefits from the influx of ideas and enthusiasm brought by new student officers, although there is potential for instability should there be a lack of understanding by new officers of their responsibilities as trustees. The Students’ Union bar and café fulfil an important function by providing necessary social space to our members within a cramped new campus.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 16

5.3 SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) The table below summarises the main factors emerging from recent SWOT analyses carried out with various stakeholders and draw on the foregoing situation review.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 17

The SWOT encapsulates the situation review and some of the key points that emerge from this are summarised below. The Students’ Union statutory foundation affords it a degree of security. The working relationship with the University across a broad range of areas and the financial support from the University ensures that our energies are focused on delivering our aims. There is a general confidence in the management of the organisation, strong internal working relationships with staff, and student officers feel well supported. The Students’ Union continues to work to build its profile and publicise its successes. There is a need to work to increase the perception of the Students’ Union as a legitimate representative organisation across campus. We are however constrained by the restrictions of our building and the limitations of our funding. The organisation benefits from the influx of ideas and enthusiasm brought by new student officers, although there is potential for instability should there be a lack of understanding by new officers of their responsibilities as trustees. The Students’ Union bar and café fulfil an important function by providing necessary social space to our members within a cramped new campus.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 18

6. Mission and Aims The Students Union QMU is independent and student led. We represent all students registered at Queen Margaret University. Our mission is: To enhance student experience in a supportive and social environment. Strategic Aims Aim 1: Representation and Engagement Ensure the interests and views of our members are represented and addressed throughout the University and externally. Aim 2: Student Well Being Promote the well being of existing students and potential students by providing independent professional support services, which reflect the diversity of the student body. Aim 3: Volunteering and Employability Contribute to a thriving campus life and individual personal development through provision of opportunities and activities which meet the intellectual, cultural and social needs of our members. Aim 4: The Social Space To provide our members with the opportunity to socialise and relax in a safe environment whilst creating a ‘sense of community’ within campus.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 19


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 18

6. Mission and Aims The Students Union QMU is independent and student led. We represent all students registered at Queen Margaret University. Our mission is: To enhance student experience in a supportive and social environment. Strategic Aims Aim 1: Representation and Engagement Ensure the interests and views of our members are represented and addressed throughout the University and externally. Aim 2: Student Well Being Promote the well being of existing students and potential students by providing independent professional support services, which reflect the diversity of the student body. Aim 3: Volunteering and Employability Contribute to a thriving campus life and individual personal development through provision of opportunities and activities which meet the intellectual, cultural and social needs of our members. Aim 4: The Social Space To provide our members with the opportunity to socialise and relax in a safe environment whilst creating a ‘sense of community’ within campus.

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 19


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 20

Top level indicators of success: •

Increased level and quality of student engagement

Number and impact of consultations and campaigns

Enhanced profile and reputation of the Students’ Union

Increased Number of Members of Student Parliament (MSPs) recruited and trained

Positive feedback on quality of training and support

Development of communications strategy

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 21


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 20

Top level indicators of success: •

Increased level and quality of student engagement

Number and impact of consultations and campaigns

Enhanced profile and reputation of the Students’ Union

Increased Number of Members of Student Parliament (MSPs) recruited and trained

Positive feedback on quality of training and support

Development of communications strategy

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 21


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 22

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 23

Top level indicators of success: •

Increased footfall in the Students’ Union Building

Positive customer feedback

Number of Clubs and Societies supported

Increased number of events supported/coordinated

Increase number of members using the RAW Centre and their positive feedback

Top level indicators of success •

Number of Clubs and Societies supported

Successful establishment of awards system

Positive feedback from agencies and volunteers

Increased space available to volunteers and clubs and societies

Increase number of volunteers and placement opportunities

New initiatives created


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 22

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 23

Top level indicators of success: •

Increased footfall in the Students’ Union Building

Positive customer feedback

Number of Clubs and Societies supported

Increased number of events supported/coordinated

Increase number of members using the RAW Centre and their positive feedback

Top level indicators of success •

Number of Clubs and Societies supported

Successful establishment of awards system

Positive feedback from agencies and volunteers

Increased space available to volunteers and clubs and societies

Increase number of volunteers and placement opportunities

New initiatives created


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 24

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 25

7. Supporting Aims The following aims and mechanisms might best be described as ‘enabling’ factors which relate to how we go about our business as opposed to what we deliver.

Top level indicators of success •

Higher level of attendance by non-traditional student groups

Wide variety of events organised each year

Positive perception by members and guests

Higher level of customer satisfaction

Top level indicators of success: •

Higher level of staff satisfaction

Positive evaluation of training and support to Student Officers


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 24

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 25

7. Supporting Aims The following aims and mechanisms might best be described as ‘enabling’ factors which relate to how we go about our business as opposed to what we deliver.

Top level indicators of success •

Higher level of attendance by non-traditional student groups

Wide variety of events organised each year

Positive perception by members and guests

Higher level of customer satisfaction

Top level indicators of success: •

Higher level of staff satisfaction

Positive evaluation of training and support to Student Officers


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

• •

page 26

Large scale uptake of training and personal development opportunities Improvement of facilities and use of space within the Students’ Union Building

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 27

8. Implementation, Monitoring and Review Implementation In order to deliver the Aims set out in our Strategic Plan, the Students’ Union will commit all appropriate resources and support mechanisms. To ensure effective implementation we will adopt a more corporate approach to our operational planning by consolidating and refining all current departmental planning processes into the development of an annual operating plan to be agreed before the start of each academic year. Monitoring The annual operating plan will address the overarching aims in this document and will include reference to the following: Projected Outputs We define these as the direct, measurable results of our activities. This can include items such as: • • •

Top level indicators of success •

Annual Report produced

Increased income through block grant

Annual increment (10%) of level of free reserves

Development of Risk Management Strategy

Uptake of student representation activities Support provided to clubs and societies Direct usage of the services we provide

We recognise that it is important to be as productive as possible in maximising these direct outputs from the work that we do. Our operational plan will specify target annual outputs in relation to key elements, relating these to the aims and objectives specified above. Operating plans will specify how such data is to be captured and it will be reported regularly to Students’ Union Executive Committee.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

• •

page 26

Large scale uptake of training and personal development opportunities Improvement of facilities and use of space within the Students’ Union Building

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 27

8. Implementation, Monitoring and Review Implementation In order to deliver the Aims set out in our Strategic Plan, the Students’ Union will commit all appropriate resources and support mechanisms. To ensure effective implementation we will adopt a more corporate approach to our operational planning by consolidating and refining all current departmental planning processes into the development of an annual operating plan to be agreed before the start of each academic year. Monitoring The annual operating plan will address the overarching aims in this document and will include reference to the following: Projected Outputs We define these as the direct, measurable results of our activities. This can include items such as: • • •

Top level indicators of success •

Annual Report produced

Increased income through block grant

Annual increment (10%) of level of free reserves

Development of Risk Management Strategy

Uptake of student representation activities Support provided to clubs and societies Direct usage of the services we provide

We recognise that it is important to be as productive as possible in maximising these direct outputs from the work that we do. Our operational plan will specify target annual outputs in relation to key elements, relating these to the aims and objectives specified above. Operating plans will specify how such data is to be captured and it will be reported regularly to Students’ Union Executive Committee.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 28

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 29

Projected Outcomes

Evaluation

We define these as the ultimate benefits that individuals and groups achieve through the range of activities and services that we provide. Again, these flow directly from our overall aims and some examples will include:

The Students’ Union has recently enjoyed a period of stability; therefore no real evaluation (typically triggered by negative performance) has been carried out in recent years. Although we do not believe this imperative to exist at present, we are open to the benefits that can come from an independent review of our activities and we will look to access resources to commission such an independent evaluation of our activities midway through the period of this plan as part of the process for development of the next strategic plan.

• • • • •

Improvements in the capability and capacity of the student population to engage with the University Enhancements in the confidence, self-esteem and employability of students Economic benefits to students through reduced costs and maximisation of income Improved safety Enhanced student retention levels

Whilst some of these outcomes arise at the level of individual students, there are also benefits to the wider institution through outcomes such as student retention but also in terms of the recognisable legitimacy of the institution, which arises through effective student engagement. Some of these outcomes can be inferred from the activities and outputs we deliver but, in other cases, direct consultation with students and other stakeholders will be required. Within our operating plans, we will determine where it is appropriate, cost-effective and prudent to do this and will allocate resources accordingly. However, our resources are limited and, given that many of our activities and outcomes are the same as, or give additionality to, those of the University we would expect to receive support from or work in partnership with the University, in measuring our softer outcomes.


Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 28

Students’ Union QMU Strategic Plan

page 29

Projected Outcomes

Evaluation

We define these as the ultimate benefits that individuals and groups achieve through the range of activities and services that we provide. Again, these flow directly from our overall aims and some examples will include:

The Students’ Union has recently enjoyed a period of stability; therefore no real evaluation (typically triggered by negative performance) has been carried out in recent years. Although we do not believe this imperative to exist at present, we are open to the benefits that can come from an independent review of our activities and we will look to access resources to commission such an independent evaluation of our activities midway through the period of this plan as part of the process for development of the next strategic plan.

• • • • •

Improvements in the capability and capacity of the student population to engage with the University Enhancements in the confidence, self-esteem and employability of students Economic benefits to students through reduced costs and maximisation of income Improved safety Enhanced student retention levels

Whilst some of these outcomes arise at the level of individual students, there are also benefits to the wider institution through outcomes such as student retention but also in terms of the recognisable legitimacy of the institution, which arises through effective student engagement. Some of these outcomes can be inferred from the activities and outputs we deliver but, in other cases, direct consultation with students and other stakeholders will be required. Within our operating plans, we will determine where it is appropriate, cost-effective and prudent to do this and will allocate resources accordingly. However, our resources are limited and, given that many of our activities and outcomes are the same as, or give additionality to, those of the University we would expect to receive support from or work in partnership with the University, in measuring our softer outcomes.


The Students’ Union Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, EH21 6UU. Tel: 0131 474 0000 Fax: 0131 474 0001

Strategic Plan  

Strategic Plan 2008-12

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