Leadership Bulletin – November 2017

Introduction by Dr Sally Jackson, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development and an update from each of the board chairs.

Introduction by Dr Sally Jackson, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development

I am Sally Jackson, the interim Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development and I have been here for just over a month.  It’s a delight to be here working on the University strategy and accompanying actions.

The Directorate is busy working tirelessly on the day-to-day work of supporting over 4,000 staff (pay-roll is a leviathan task which focuses many minds each month – and is fairly important to us all).  We are also driving aspects of work within the Building a Great University (BaGU) pillar where we are immersed in the Professional Services Operating Model (PSOM) and the Hallam Deal both of which are underpinned by an extensive “People Plan”.

A previous version of this bulletin advised that, ‘the University strategy is more than words and must “be lived” for us to be a successful Institution’.  How true and yet how difficult this can sometimes appear to be.  Aligning strategy and culture is essential in order to ensure that what is done is married with why it is done and how it is done.  Culture embraces the attitudes, beliefs, capabilities, values and vision of an organisation and is not static; it flexes and evolves.  How do culture and strategy become aligned?  By way of Organisational Development and hence the name change of the Directorate.  Of course, changing the name in itself is not going to make any difference to the overall success however I was struck by the work that was taking place that didn’t appear to have a sufficient voice.  To call the Directorate purely HR was not, to my mind, doing sufficient justice to the work being undertaken nor did it express the vision of where we want to be.  Since changing the title of the Directorate I have also been struck by the plaudits – thank you (even if it is now less easy to refer to – HROD is fine)!

One example of work that has been going on is the recently-launched Allies programme.  This is just one example of a programme of work that is designed to support our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) objectives and is a shining example of cross-departmental and faculty work coming together for the greater good.

Priorities for me and the HROD Directorate for the coming months are to continue work on EDI, establishing the capabilities required for staff within the PSOM and the even more extensive work under the banner of “The Hallam Deal“, which we launched earlier this month.  Supporting both these key aspects of the BaGU pillar is the work on Talent Management, incorporating career and succession planning and also a suite of development programmes to support staff at all levels.

For those of you I have met, thank you for your warm welcome and I look forward to meeting many more of you in the next few weeks and months.


Shaping Futures – Professor Christina Hughes

What makes something outstanding?  I was mulling on this recently as our plan for Shaping Futures emphasises the importance of achieving consistently outstanding, not ordinary, outcomes.  For me, outstanding is not a number or a metric or a statistic.  Rather it is a summation of wisdom, knowledge, capability, energy and creativity.  And, not to forget, achieving consistency requires organisation and planning to make all this happen.   We have outstanding practice in Hallam by the bucketful but I fear that we don’t share this enough with others, learn from our colleagues in other departments, faculties and directorates and celebrate our outstandingness (if there is such a word!).

At the most recent University Leadership Forum event, I asked eight of our colleagues to present an aspect of their work that was clearly outstanding.  And we learnt so much.  You can check this out yourself by clicking on the links below:

  • Using her experiences of working closely on the Shaping Futures plan, Claire Ward, Strategic Portfolio Manager in Strategic Portfolio and Business Change, gave us valuable insights into how to organise and manage large scale change projects.  And how not to!
  • Dr Emma Heron, Head of Academic Development, Development and Society who is heading up the Listening Rooms project discussed the importance of this approach to understanding the student experience and triggered a conversation of how we might better listen to staff as well.
  • Leading a National Student Survey Top 10 library and student services provision, Nuala Devlin, Director of Library and Student Support, outlined the importance of coherence, ambition and foresight in realising such national standing.
  • Ann Norton, Head of the Department of Management Studies also demonstrated how to achieve 100% overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey through painstaking attention to the student experience at all levels.
  • Looking at curriculum development, Toni Schwarz, Head of Department Nursing and Midwifery discussed the extensive partnership and co-working relationships that are necessary in putting in place a connected curriculum.
  • One of our National Teaching Fellows 2017, and with 10,000 followers on Twitter, Sue Beckingham (Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing) gave us a great lesson on how to develop a digital media profile.
  • Looking forward, Tony Clark, Head of Department, Computing, set out his plans for radical changes to Level 4 provision that will aid retention and progression of students.
  • And Luke Desforges, our new Head of Department in Natural and Built Environment, provided a compelling account of how aspiration, motivation and a passion for excellence is driving his approach.

I hope you find their accounts inspiring as well as helpful. I am aware that they are only a fragment of the excellence we have here at Hallam.  Do get in touch, then, if you have other examples to share.

For further updates on the Shaping Futures pillar, visit the pillar information hub.


Creating Knowledge – Professor Roger Eccleston

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) represents  an opportunity to address two of our strategic priorities: enhancing our research, and becoming more engaged and connected globally.  The GCRF is something of a new departure for government in its intent to deliver some of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment via research programmes.  ODA-funded activity focuses on outcomes that promote the long-term sustainable growth of countries on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.  The fund aims to ensure that UK research takes a leading role in addressing the problems faced by developing countries through: challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research; strengthening capacity for research and innovation within both the UK and developing countries, and providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.

This is an approach that is already being followed by the Australian Government and I was fortunate to recently visit the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to learn from their experience. Critical success factors appear to be: a clear articulation of the challenge to be addressed; a multi-disciplinary approach and, assembling the most appropriate consortia.

Across the University we have excellent examples of research that has a global impact, we are able to work across disciplines to focus on addressing challenges, and we share a desire to be making a positive impact.  The GCRF represents a great opportunity to develop research and do good in the world.  Over the next few weeks I will be working with the Assistant Deans for Research (ADRs), and colleagues in RIO and GED, to determine how we can develop strong proposals.

The principles of a revised Creating Knowledge Implementation Plan (CKIP) were presented and discussed at the last meeting of the Creating Knowledge Pillar Board and they are now being developed into a detailed plan to be reviewed at the CK Board later this month.

For further updates on the Creating Knowledge pillar, visit the pillar information hub.


Leading Locally and Engaging Globally – Professor Chris Husbands

There are a few areas of activity under the LLEG pillar that I’d like to take the opportunity to share in this edition.  South Yorkshire Futures is an ambitious Hallam-led initiative to improve the life chances of South Yorkshire’s young people, focused on improving educational attainment and raising aspiration. It was unveiled by Robert Goodwill MP, Minister of State for Children and Families, at a well-received September launch event. There are several strands of activity, including a School Governors project, which is focused on raising the quality of governors and has involved mapping partner schools that do not have a Hallam governor with staff who would like to take up the opportunity. To find out more about South Yorkshire Futures please visit: SY Futures launch or contact Greg Burke, Director of South Yorkshire Futures.

Through our Transforming Lives strategy we have committed to creating a high quality Degree Apprenticeship portfolio, embedding the University’s position as the leading Degree Apprenticeship provider and building on our status of one of twenty pioneer providers in 2015. Others are catching up: It has recently been announced that 80+ institutions have registered as apprenticeship training providers and these include our core competitors and Russell Group members. It is clear there will be significant opportunities and some additional investment approved at the LLEG Board will help us leverage these.

In the last edition Kevin Kerrigan wrote about emerging plans to better position us to work with businesses. In October Kevin outlined the initial strategic vision for this Business Readiness strand of work to the LLEG Board. This proposed that we build on areas of excellence to develop a clear and focused narrative that communicates our strengths to the marketplace, including:

  • We are open for Business – the partner of choice to help grow and future-proof business
  •  Leadership excellence – nurture and develop responsible leaders of the future
  • Sustainable ‘scaled-up’ growth – blending cutting-edge research with practical solutions that address real-world business challenges
  • High level skills – practical, cost effective work-based learning
  • Vibrant talent pool – the largest placement programme in the UK.

Working with local authorities in our region and with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is something many of you do on a regular basis. I have recently joined the Board of the LEP, as has Neil McDonald, one of our Governors. A key element of our Regional Engagement work over the past year, following the ‘Heart of the Region’ campaign, has been meeting senior managers and Councillors of local authorities to ensure there is an understanding of the work we do, be it with young people through our outreach work or with businesses. Working closely with these partners cultivates support for our objectives and in turn delivery of our strategy. To improve these relations still further, Hallam key account managers are being identified for our partners, to ensure we build on these positive meetings and discussions.

Finally, the next ULF Fringe event on 8 December is focused on regional partnerships and you can find out more on the blog: Forum on the Fringe. Only a few places remain for this event at the time of writing.

For further updates on the Leading Locally and Engaging Globally pillar, visit the pillar information hub.


Building a Great University – Richard Calvert

As I’ve said in previous bulletins, the programme of work to build a great university is really about getting our foundations right. There are some quick wins here, but much more important is putting in place the long term changes required to underpin the Transforming Lives strategy – whether in terms our ways of working, our infrastructure, our systems, and so on.

That means that much of our current focus is on moving from big picture to more detailed design.

In the case of PSOM, we had over 600 staff at the open sessions last month where we talked through the high level design, and we’ve now moved into detailed work on the new operating model in specific areas. We’re starting with student and academic services, as well as work on business and outward engagement, and use of data. We’ll be coming back to you early in the New Year with the proposals coming out in each of these areas.

Alongside this, the Hallam Deal – which Sally has said more about in her introduction – sets out our thinking on how we take forward our people agenda. As some of you will have heard me say, I think there are lots of ways in which we can improve the career offer for staff here at Hallam, though as Sally says there is also a bigger set of changes proposed, including clarity on the University’s expectations of its staff.

Other themes for the current term are the work on estates masterplanning, on which you can expect to hear more shortly; as well as continued work to ensure that our systems and IT work programme is responsive to the changing agenda here.

And of course, the day-to-day job of delivering goes on alongside this. Particular thanks, this month, to all the colleagues involved in graduation – one of our biggest and most important events of the year, and I’m pleased to say now my second time around!

For further updates on the Building a Great University pillar, visit the pillar information hub.


The VC’s Blog – Keep up-to-date with the latest posts at: https://blogs.shu.ac.uk/vc/

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