VC Updates

27th February 2015

Dear colleagues,

I thought it was timely to provide a further update on progress towards implementation of our corporate strategy in 2015. The changes we are working on are intended to help us meet our strategic outcomes for student success, real world impact and access to opportunity in the coming years.
School and professional functions sub-structures
The new academic divisions within each School have now been finalised and I shared these with you via e-mail on 13 February. We have also finalised the substructures for the professional functions, with the exception of teaching and learning where we are seeking input from Shân Wareing (see appointments below). I hope to circulate the final complete set of structures early April which will also clarify activities, roles and responsibilities in each area. The next stage to be implemented in 2015 will be establishing a ‘business partner’ model between Schools and professional functions. Developing this institutional understanding has involved a great deal of work and so thank you to those involved.
I am pleased to confirm the appointment of Shân Wareing as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience. As you may have seen in today’s Universe staff newsletter, Shân brings a wealth of experience in academia and means we’ll now have two National Teaching Fellows on the executive—which must be rare, if not unique, in the sector and provides a strong base from which to develop our teaching alongside our research and enterprise activity. You can read more about Shân in today’s Universe and I look forward to welcoming her when she formally starts mid-May.
Appointments to the School Executive Teams—normally comprising the Dean, Director of Education & Student Experience, Director of Research & Enterprise and School Executive Administrator—are currently being considered. The first round of appointments has been confirmed and we will now advertise remaining opportunities internally as a staff development opportunity for staff below grade 10 before considering external adverts. I will provide a full list of appointments in April. The adverts for the Executive Assistants are currently live.
Schools administration
There is now one management structure overseeing all academic-related administration previously done by the faculty offices. This is currently based in Student Support and Employment to enable activity in the central ‘hub’ to be aligned with that in the school ‘spokes’. This provides the framework for us to build on our services and we continue to discuss with staff their views on the processes and services they manage, with some moves in line management likely in the coming weeks. This project is on schedule for staff to have proposed their preferred structure for implementation in the summer. Work to further improve systems that support staff and students will of course be on-going but colleagues in these areas are already moving forward on some key developments (see below, for example).
Student journey project
I’m pleased to update you that the design phase of the student journey project is now complete. This project has sought to gain a greater understanding of how and where our students engage with LSBU—from initial enquiry right through to alumni. From that research we aim to improve our processes to meet their increasing expectations. It’s been clear from this work that colleagues are working tremendously hard to deliver good service at all times but that, from a student perspective, a number of our processes are confusing and sometimes restrictive. Staff have identified a number of areas they wish to look at in the first wave of redesign and much progress has been made already, which I will update you on in my next e-mail.
Student support project
As you will be aware, the development of the IBM Business Analytics tool is aimed at predicting a student’s risk of non-progression based on a combination of factors. Now that the technology is in place, we can start to develop its use. All schools and student support teams are represented on the pilot who will provide feedback and input from a range of perspective.
The project team are also working with colleagues across the university to develop interventions for students flagged as ‘at risk’ of non-progression. These need to include both academic and pastoral support systems and we will also look at ‘buddying’ options with other students. I am keen we also get some additional support in place for current students by summer, where we traditionally see the greatest drop-out. For more information about the student support project, please contact Bolaji Banjo.
Get in touch
Thank you for all your contributions to the change programme so far. If you have any questions you can email me at or attend a drop-in session on the following dates:

·         Monday 2 March, 1.30–2.30pm in VG11

·         Tuesday 19 May, 3–4pm in K302

·         Thursday 25 June, 2–3pm in Technopark 1B27

·         Wednesday 22 July, 10–11am in Technopark 1B27

These sessions are unstructured and intended to enable anyone to drop-in to raise queries or seek clarification on issues that concern them.
Kind regards,
Professor David Phoenix
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

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