11 July 2019

Extraordinary Board End of Year Review July 2019

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National Student Survey (NSS) results

Neil McKay, Dean of Students presented the NSS headlines and next steps. We achieved our strongest results ever with an overall satisfaction score of 86% an increase of 0.2% on last year. We are in the top twenty institutions for teaching (26th from 17th) and had some good results in comparison to competitors.  However, with the sector compressing we cannot be complacent and there are still lots of areas for improvement. Neil’s team will continue to review the data and work with departments on key areas of focus.

The Hallam Model

Kevin Kerrigan, PVC Business Engagement and Enterprise and SBS and Elaine Buckley, Interim Assistant Dean for Academic Development, presented a progress update paper to the Board. Task and finish groups are being established for each of the four principles – Engage, Challenge, Collaborate and Thrive. Any curriculum changes required as a result of the work being undertaken will be aligned to minimise the number of modifications required. – The Student Wellbeing, Healthy Hallam, Healthy Futures timescales will also be aligned.

Delivering the step change programme – Highly Skilled Employment (HSE)

Esther Kent, Academic Director for Employability from the Directorate of Business Engagement, Skills and Employability provided a verbal update to the Board.

The work on the postgraduate provision is starting to pick up pace. The team are piloting an app called PLACER which will help identify and secure additional opportunities for sandwich placements.

Discussions have been initiated with the Academic Director for Academic Advising to ensure that the Academic Advisors can be briefed and will be able to effectively support students in relation to HSE.

Delivering the step change programme – Student Experience and Teaching Quality

Neil McKay, Dean of Students provided a verbal update, expressing his thanks to the Assistant Deans for Student Experience and departments for all the hard work undertaken.

  • The initial phase of the project evaluated the existing practice and policies in relation to teaching quality.
  • The next phase looked at gaining some consistency (three amended policies at the June Board).
  • The last phase of the project is looking at the governance and monitoring to maintain consistencies.

A report is being compiled to communicate the outputs and handovers needed to transition into business as usual.

Attendance and Engagement Policy

The Board approved the new student Attendance and Engagement Policy and the associated processes which aims to enhance student retention. The policy will be available to students shortly, with communication to academic and professional services colleagues being scheduled for the remainder of July and September.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – Internal pilot of Subject level TEF

Liz Smart, Professor of Law and Academic Director for Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) provided an end of year report.

The pilot was a success and highly valued by staff and students who participated. The Assistant Deans, Student Experience expressed their gratitude to both the Academic Director and the Dean of Academic Strategy for the support and development they provided to their teams. Reporting that staff were much more confident in constructing narratives after the process and felt confident that there would be a positive impact on future TEF results. Due to the national review of TEF there is likely to be a fallow year in 19/20 with no submissions. The Vice Chancellor and Interim Dean of Academic Strategy will make decisions regarding how we maintain momentum once more information is know from the outcome of the review.

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018

Brian Irwin, Head of Digital Capability, Learning Enhancement and Academic Development, presented a report providing an overview of a recent law on web accessibility, the implications for the University (and specifically academic practice), and the proposed actions to address these implications. This has also been to the BAGU July Board who have asked the Web Steering Group to suggest an appropriate senior responsible officer to take this work forward. There are currently 850 SHU websites that will need to be reviewed through the lens of the new regulations. There are a number of compliance deadlines detailed in the report.  A programme of awareness and training for all staff using online platforms including timescales, training and guidance will be required.

Reducing the degree awarding gap

Elaine Buckley, Interim Assistant Dean for Academic Development presented a paper with a proposed approach to addressing the differential outcomes with respect to degree outcomes, between our BAME students and their white counterparts, in particular the differential between black and white students, currently standing at 30 percentage points. Including an infographic which provides a summary of the initiatives undertaken by the University to date.

The paper proposes a collaborative and considered approach to action planning, over a number of weeks to ensure optimum engagement and ownership at all levels of the organisation. The plan will support the relevant elements of the access and participation agreement, and enable progress towards the achievement of the Race Equality Charter Mark.

The corporate priorities include

  • Visible recognition of the University’s commitment to become an anti-racist, rather than a
  • non-racist organisation.
  • Developing a co-ordinated approach to governance and leadership
  • Building capacity to achieve an anti-racist culture through developing racial literacy and cultural competence throughout our community.
  • Identification and support for key change agents from within our staff and student communities and across all race groups.
  • Use the student lifecycle to identify critical stages for intervention and change, to achieve optimum impact.

Foundation Year

Helen Best, Interim Dean of Academic Strategy presented a paper to the board regarding the activities undertaken in the last year to enhance the student experience, attainment and progression of Foundation Year students. The paper also outlined the activities needed to be incorporated into the next academic cycle along with ongoing actions for 2019/20. The University needs to give full consideration to it’s approach to Foundation Years and how it fits with the recruitment strategy.

Student Wellbeing, Health Hallam, Healthy Futures

Joe Rennie, Group Director of Academic Services provided a progress update further to the paper presented by Claire Gandy at the May Board. The 6 agreed action areas are

  1. Foster engaging curricula and learning experiences
  2. Cultivate supportive social, physical and digital environments
  3. Strengthen community awareness and actions
  4. Develop students’ mental health knowledge and self-regulatory skills
  5. Ensure access to effective services
  6. Encourage participation in Sport and Physical Activity

A full programme and implementation plan is expected to be completed in Spring 2020, recognising that some priorities are already in progress or ready to commence in 2019/20 which will continue as planned.

You can download this as a two page document here