The Shaping Futures update from the June 2017 Leadership Bulletin
Shaping futures – Professor Christina Hughes
Prioritisation. At our first Shaping Futures Board, this was the core task. It was tough because there is so much we all want to do and know we need to do. But delivering the strategy requires focus. Yes, we could fire off on every area that we have identified. But all this will do is create overload for all of us, with the consequent lack of really understanding what is imperative just now and what has to wait.
How did we decide which areas are the most pressing? In our first meeting we concentrated on the first of the ten priorities of the Transforming Lives implementation plan: putting in place clear, targeted, comprehensive actions to deliver consistently excellent performance across the student lifecycle. This gave us three core areas of priority, with very specific foci. These are:
- Employability: Colleagues have been working for the past twelve months on a broader plan for employability and all is on course to launch this at the beginning of the new academic year. Meanwhile, our most immediate priority is students graduating this year as we want them to achieve their best possible outcomes – whether that is a highly-skilled job or further study.
- Retention: I am aware of the great work in faculties supporting retention of our students and there is no doubt this is to good effect. But there is more we can do. The Shaping Futures Board is, therefore, developing a plan with faculties that will have a strong focus on incoming first year students.
- Inclusive practice: As a University for social mobility, there is no doubt that we deliver innovative and pioneering work. It really is outstanding. And, if you have not done so already, check out the Inclusive Practice resources on the Teaching Essentials webpages. But, again, we have more to do and further actions are planned. The most pressing is the BME attainment gap. This remains a serious concern and we are determined to deliver a step-change. If you are not aware of this as an issue, please make it your business to find out. All Shaping Futures Board members, as well as ULT, have the data so you can ask them, or of course me.
We will be communicating more of what these plans mean in practice as they develop, so please watch out for these. I have not, either, forgotten the Hallam Guild and we are beginning to discuss how this might be inaugurated. Get in touch, any time, as I’m always glad to hear from you.
Excerpt from the June 2017 Leadership Bulletin