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Strategic Plan 2012-2017


Our Vision The University of Bedfordshire’s aim is to provide transformational opportunities through access to an excellent educational experience.

Our Mission We create a vibrant multi-cultural learning community enabling people to transform their lives by participating in an excellent and innovative learning experience, through our curriculum, co-curriculum, extracurriculum, scholarship and research.


Our Values In fulfilling our mission we are guided by these values: • A  ccess We strive to realise the aspirations and achievements of a diverse student population whose ambitions we share, support and develop. • Scholarship Our subject and practice leadership informs our research, our teaching and our continuous development as a community. • Partnership We value partnership and collaboration as essential in meeting contemporary challenges, in providing access to learning, and in delivering an excellent student experience. • Innovation Our contribution to the sustainable development of communities, organisations and society is built on our ability to innovate through research, enterprise and our own practice. • Respect We are consistent in demonstrating respect and value for the contributions made by all within our community, and we support and celebrate their success. •

Employability

We are ambitious for our graduates, and we support their access to rewarding careers through our curriculum, our teaching practice, and our professional and industrial engagement.


Our progress and achievements The University of Bedfordshire’s first Strategic Plan was developed and launched in 2007. At that time, the University had a UK student population of 16,000 and an annual turnover of £81m. Through the effective delivery and governance of the 2007-12 strategy, it now has a population of more than 24,000 students and an annual turnover of £130m. An award-winning university, with an expanding portfolio and a growing institutional profile, the University of Bedfordshire has already developed an impressive reputation for: • H  igh-quality teaching, supported by the Quality Assurance Agency’s most recent audits of the University and its partner provision • International recruitment, winning the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (International Trade) in 2011 • E  xcellent graduate employment rates, as evidenced by the Destinations of Leavers in Higher Education report 2011 • M  odern facilities, as a result of a £180m investment in enhancing the student experience • S  trong student support, including among the most generous scholarships and bursaries schemes in the country, according to the Office for Fair Access (2011)  orld-leading research, as evidenced in the 2008 Research Assessment • W Exercise • A  robust and developmental framework for managing and supporting our key asset – our staff – reflected in our 2011 achievement of the Investors in People gold standard. The University is committed to supporting its local communities, and is proud of its close relationships with highly-valued college and employer partners. It contributes some £300m to the local economy every year, and its international reputation has grown alongside an impressive record in attracting students from more than 80 countries and a diverse range of educational backgrounds. It has been recognised by the Higher Education sector for its work to widen participation, its international recruitment and its financial management.


This 2012 strategic plan recognises the challenges ahead for higher education, for UK Universities, and for the key stakeholders we support, in particular: • T  he increasingly important role of the University in developing the UK and global economies, which will demand more of the skills of our graduates and the impact of our knowledge transfer activities • O  ur need to respond more fully to the expectations of our students, and to offer excellent value for their increased financial investment in higher education • T  he importance of sustaining and growing our reputation for high-quality provision and a comprehensively excellent student experience, on the full range of public and competitive measures of excellence • O  ur mission requirement to extend the reach of transformative opportunity to new cohorts of learners and to make that offer of opportunity meaningful in the added value of its outcomes to the individual • T  he requirement for us to secure both demand and quality in the complex dynamics of increased competition in the UK and internationally, as a growing number of HE providers seek to maintain sustainable business models. As it enters a new strategic cycle, the University is confident that, in the challenging future of UK higher education, the strengths for which it is recognised nationally and internationally will help to achieve further growth and success, and an even stronger reputation, to secure its academic standing and its business success on a sustainable basis.

Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive


Our vision for 2017 The University of Bedfordshire’s aim is to provide transformational opportunity through access to an excellent educational experience. Providing access to excellence By 2017, we will be a University of choice in our geographical areas, as a result of our success in providing an excellent experience for our students and staff. We will continue to widen participation in higher education, and to attract a diverse and ambitious student population to enrich our learning community. We will identify proactively and respond fully to the aspirations and requirements of our learners, whether young, mature, part- or full-time, and whatever their cultural and educational backgrounds, and offer a high-quality experience that responds to student expectation and need. We will prioritise the student experience and define our success by the positive feedback we receive from our students, enriching this by incorporating the student voice in all aspects of University decision making. We will better focus our activities and approach to deliver a sustainable top 70 league table position, to help us better project the brand and successes of the University. Delivering transformational opportunity We will provide a curriculum which supports both academic and career success. Our excellent educational experience will be delivered by staff who are motivated and enabled to do so by continuous professional development and by systems which are developed collaboratively. Our graduates will be recognised as having strong employability profiles and capabilities forged through engagement in a comprehensive learning experience incorporating the curriculum, co-curricular and extracurricular activity and our formal recognition of their experiential learning and contribution. Our reputation for high-quality teaching and applied research will achieve greater recognition nationally and internationally, and we will continue to innovate for the benefit of communities and organisations. Operating through geographical hubs, both in the UK and abroad, we will support the surrounding regions with teaching, applied research and enterprise activity.


Developing our capacity We will be rigorous and supportive in evaluating our progress, recognising that our success depends on the contributions of all, the continuous improvement of our skills and our systems, and our willingness to support and celebrate the success of colleagues, students, partners and clients. We will continue to innovate for the benefit of our communities and to take advantage of emerging opportunities that support our development and extend the reach of our mission. We will continue to invest substantially from our income in facilities which provide an excellent physical and technological environment that recognises our role as an exemplar of sustainable development. To achieve our goals, we have identified the following strategic priorities: 1 O  ur prioritisation of the student experience will become a defining characteristic of the University of Bedfordshire 2 Our students and our staff will aspire to, and achieve at, the highest levels 3 Our knowledge exchange activity will achieve new levels of impact on the basis of our core capacity and practice of research, innovation and enterprise 4 We will build on our strengths in collaboration and partnership-working 5 Our sustainable business model will support our achievement of excellence and maximise our investment in the student experience.


Strategic priorities and key measures of success 1

Our prioritisation of the student experience will become a defining characteristic of the University of Bedfordshire

Our objectives • T  o be a leader in the field in delivering a consistently excellent student experience across a diverse and multi-location student population. • T  o involve our students and their representatives as partners in all aspects of University decision-making, developing student leadership and the quality of the student experience. • To maintain and grow our reputation for graduate employment, supported by high levels of academic achievement and high-quality curriculum. • To develop the drive and capacity for interdisciplinary collaboration and social enterprise as core attributes of our graduates and their HEAR records. • T  o embed our research and enterprise expertise directly and explicitly throughout all curricula, as a clear indicator of the excellence of our provision. • T  o continue to offer a student experience that represents excellent investment value to learners, employers and sponsoring organisations. • T  o incorporate in the student experience the ideas and approaches capable of driving and sustaining change in global sustainability and sustainable development. • T  o be recognised nationally and internationally as the provider of a curriculum fully and explicitly informed by staff expertise in research and enterprise. • T  o be recognised for the quality of our curriculum, co-curriculum and extracurriculum in developing graduates with immediate positive impact on organisations and communities. • To grow our reputation for high-level student achievement while continuing to extend opportunity.  o have, in our staff, our alumni and our extended community, well-informed • T and committed ambassadors of our success and our reputation.


Key measures of our success • O  ur market share and standing as an institution of first choice will identify us as a market leader, with a 25% increase in first-choice applications. • Our students will identify us as providing a consistently excellent student experience, and we will be positioned in the top quartile for student satisfaction. • Our research, innovation and enterprise will include areas of international and national profile for both excellence and impact. • T  he career success of our graduates will position us above the sector average for graduate employability, and one of the top five modern universities. • Students at every stage of study will be directly and consistently engaged in our decision-making and development. • 30% of our student population will be actively engaged each year in co-curricular and extracurricular activity and experiential learning. • O  ur staff and alumni will be informed ambassadors for our brand, with increasing staff pride in the University. • Our sustainable development strategy will focus on cultural as well as practical change and on the development of future generations of leaders with a firm understanding of, and commitment to, sustainability.

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Our students and our staff will aspire to, and achieve at, the highest levels

Our objectives • To provide a consistently excellent student experience that supports our students in achieving their personal best, through experiential learning, expert coaching and responsive academic and personal support. • To build on our record of widening participation, and support high achievement among all those to whom we extend opportunity through higher education. • To nurture and support the ambitions of our graduates for rewarding careers and immediate employment advantage, encouraging participation in placements, internships and other career development opportunities. • To develop the aspirations and understanding of our students of the value of a learning experience informed by the contributions of a diverse and global student and staff community.


• T  o provide a framework for integrating curricular, co-curricular, extracurricular and experiential learning, enabling our students to develop attributes essential for their effective contribution to the sustainable development of organisations, professions, communities and societies. • To implement in partnership with Beds SU a student partnership agreement that identifies expectations of ourselves and our students, in maintaining a professional and supportive context for the achievement of personal goals and ambitions. • To innovate in our programmes and modes of study, extending our reach as we offer the benefits of continuous personal and professional development through open-learning, flexible part-time study, and short courses. • To make the informed perspectives of our students and staff the basis on which we continue our investment in world-class technology, resources and facilities. • To develop our academic staff as leaders in teaching, research, enterprise and professional practice and our support staff as providers of high-quality individual service on behalf of the University. • To support our staff in achieving their personal best to benefit colleagues, students and their own career development, and to deliver the University’s mission and strategy.


Key measures of success • O  ur students will identify us, through the NSS, as a leading modern university for teaching quality, student advice and support, and organisation of the student experience. • Our record for high-level achievement at undergraduate and postgraduate levels will be sustained and increased across a diverse student body, and the outcomes for those from under-represented groups, including those to whom we offer access bursary support, will equal those of the overall student population. • W  e will invest in an international experience for at least 250 of our UK students annually and communicate this as a defining characteristic of the opportunity offered by the University of Bedfordshire to its students. • We will reduce undergraduate attrition by one third, and maintain our strong record of financial support for student success. • W  e will continue to invest in the support our staff provide for students, through an additional 12.5% investment in human capital over the planning period, to recruit, retain and develop excellence. • We will achieve a 10% improvement in the alignment of departmental SSRs. • Our new approach to the management and support of individual staff performance will be rigorous and comprehensive in identifying and developing excellence as an expectation and a basis for career progression.

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Our knowledge exchange activity will achieve new levels of impact on the basis of our core capacity and practice of research, innovation and enterprise

Our objectives • To develop innovation and enterprise as core activities that inform our research and teaching at individual, team and institutional levels. • To increase our contribution of world-leading research in areas relevant to the communities and economies we support. • To generate new areas of interdisciplinary research expertise responsive to the global challenges of social and demographic change, economic competition and the sustainable development of organisations, communities and societies. • To establish a national reputation for technological, social and educational innovation to enhance individual opportunity, social policy, business practice and leadership capacity.


• T  o promote the civic and community engagement of our students and staff as a contribution to the sustainable development of communities through the transfer and application of expertise. • To identify a primary impact zone around identified UK and overseas hubs, and to direct and organise our research, innovation and enterprise capacity to deliver a client-led service to those areas. • To include as an aspect of our hub-based impact the generation of micro-businesses and SMEs with growth potential, supported by formal development and facilities. • To increase our national and international profile in applied research that impacts on policy and practice and develop new areas that meet contemporary challenges. • To be recognised by organisations and other stakeholders within our regions and communities as a provider of client-led enterprise and innovation. Key measures of our success • Three-quarters of our core academic staff will be contributing actively and consistently to research or enterprise activity, with our enterprise income per academic staff member doubling. • Our enterprise income from strategic external links will double. • All graduates will receive recognition of their skills and achievements in enterprise and civic engagement as part of their achievement record. • The curriculum we deliver will be fully informed at all levels by research and scholarship and the value of this will be identified clearly for our students and graduates.


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We will build on our strengths in collaboration and partnership-working

Our objectives • To implement a new model of partnership with our students, through Beds SU and student representatives across our partner institutions, so that our progress in delivering an excellent student experience is consistently led and informed by the priorities and needs of our students.  o model creative partnership-working as the core characteristic of our delivery • T of excellent service quality to internal and external customers and partners. • To prioritise in our management of team performance the skills and behaviours that support our delivery of projects, initiatives and service quality across the institution. • To work with UK and overseas partners in defining a hub-based approach to identifying and expanding the range and reach of our engagement with the regions we support through teaching and enterprise. • To formalise our collaboration with employers and professional bodies in the delivery of a fully accredited curriculum. • To monitor and review our UK and overseas partnership activity on a regular basis, so that its contribution to our sustainable academic and business development is maintained. • To maintain our role in providing health, education and other professionals through a range of routes that maximise access to careers and the supply of a diverse well-qualified workforce • To embed collaboration within the student experience, providing all students with opportunities to develop mentoring, coaching and volunteering expertise. Key measures of success • We will be operating a well-defined hub-based strategy that will identify priorities for action and for partnership, with major UK hubs in Luton, Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, and overseas. • We will double our level of formal engagement (20,000 days per year) with local employers and organisations across our campus- and partner-hubs. • 100% of our courses will be recognised formally by professional bodies, employer organisations or through a new University of Bedfordshire employability scheme as offering curricular relevance and outstanding opportunity. • O  ur staff will identify team-working and cross-team collaboration as a strength and a characteristic of their work such that they can identify their contribution to the continued success of the University and its community.


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Our sustainable business model will support our achievement of excellence and maximise our investment in the student experience

Our objectives • T  o grow our student population by diversifying our teaching activity to include new courses and delivery modes that meet the needs of a broader range of learners. • T  o enable diversification of income by making enterprise core to staff recruitment, the planning of individual and team activity, and performance management and reward. • To maintain our success in generating surpluses through income growth and prudent resourcing. • To ensure our staff fulfill their potential and meet the challenges of change through coaching and development and robust performance management. • T  o take the creative ideas of our students and staff as the basis for continuous business and service improvement. • T  o sustain capital investment in infrastructure to maintain a high-quality estate and technology provision.  o maintain efficient operations through collaboration and partnership and • T our flexibility and openness to change. • T  o be an exemplar of effective institutional change management as we meet the challenge of environmental sustainability. Key measures of success • Our student community will comprise 26,000 students • W  e will maintain a minimum historical cost surplus of 10% of income, or £15m, through activity and income diversification, including achieving £5m per year income from overseas partnership activity. • We will increase our real investment in high-quality teaching staff by 15%.  e will maintain a sustainable business model and our capacity for • W investment by combining staff costs of 52% of income with continuous discretionary non-pay savings. • We will maintain our ability to meet new challenges by implementing a requirement for continuous professional development to support performance and performance management, supporting our achievement of objectives through minimum CPD participation of 5 days per academic staff member and 3 days per support staff member.


• W  e will deliver the targets of our sustainable development strategy, achieving 5,090 tonnes of CO2 emissions, zero waste to landfill, and an 80% recycling rate. • We will be in the top-quartile of modern universities for space efficiency. • We will have invested a further £100m in strategic development of our campuses and facilities, with net borrowing no more than 30% of net assets.

Our planning framework To achieve our objectives and targets, we will grow our activity and develop our capacity in seven core areas: • Student experience • Learning experience • Enterprise • Regional engagement • Global engagement • Research • Organisation and people development Our strategies in these core areas will be supported by enabling strategies that identify how our strategic priorities will be supported: • Estates and infrastructure management • Internet and communication technologies • Sustainable development • Brand development and management • Recruitment and participation


University of Bedfordshire University Square, Luton, Bedfordshire LU1 3JU Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive: Bill Rammell

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Strategic Plan 2012 - 2017  

The University of Bedfordshire’s aim is to provide transformational opportunities through access to an excellent educational experience.