Reports from Council and Senate - Oct/Nov 2013

Update from Council – 28 November 2013

The following items were discussed at the recent meeting of Council: 

  • The Vice-Chancellor gave a report on key issues facing the University, including recent completion of the University’s Research Excellence Framework submission (REF), developments in public engagement, internationalisation and building projects, a regular health and safety update and news of the successful Doctoral Training Centres bid.
  • Council considered the actions arising from their Strategy Day and the Vice-Chancellor’s Retreat in October, including what is needed to make a successful department, the implications of growth of the University and ideas for the 50th Anniversary celebrations.
  • Council discussed the University’s Strategy and approved the supporting strategies for People, Estates, Finance, Research and Education; the latter two will be subject to approval from Senate on 4 December.
  • Council considered the Annual Report on Equality and Diversity issues.
  • Tim Kaner gave a presentation of the key issues for marketing and communications at the University; these included our global reputation as well as maintaining our excellent league table position.
  • Four external members of Court were appointed and Ms Anne Goodman (lay Council member) was appointed to serve on the Audit Committee.
  • The Chair of Council reported his intention to step down as Chair with effect from the end of this academic year, just slightly before the end of his third term. A process for appointing a new chair is now underway.
  • Council approved the Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2013, noting the very positive independent auditor’s report. It also approved the financial forecasts for 2013/14 which have to be submitted to HEFCE.
  • Council approved the Annual Report of the Audit Committee and the Internal Audit Annual Report for the year ended 31 July 2013.
  • Council approved the submission of the Annual Assurance return and the Annual Sustainability report for 2013 to HEFCE.

Update from Senate – 16 October 2013

The following issues were discussed at the recent meeting of Senate:

  • Amendments to the Regulations for Students: Senate approved amendments to Regulation 17.
  • Joint Awards: Senate recommended to Council amendments to the Charter and Statutes specifically to provide for the award of joint degrees with partners. Academic freedom and the student experience at potential partner institutions would always be considered as part of the due diligence process.
  • Admissions: Senate noted that the University had had a very successful admissions cycle, including an increase of 13.6% in UK and EU domiciled undergraduate applicants against a national average of 2.7%.
  • Open Day: the Vice Chancellor expressed her thanks to those who played a part in making the Open Day on 14th September such a success, which generated much positive feedback from visitors. Fortunately the impact on traffic was much less than predicted thanks to our efforts to alert local residents to potential congestion. It was pleasing to see staff from so many different parts of the University come together to showcase what we offer our students.
  • National Student Survey: The Vice Chancellor congratulated everyone involved in the University achieving the ranking as top for student satisfaction in the NSS this year. The overall satisfaction rate for Bath students is at an all-time high of 94%.
  • Institutional Review: Senate noted the report on the Institutional Review received from the Quality Assurance agency.
  • Massive Open On-line Courses: Senate noted that a working group on MOOCs was being set up to consider the implications of introducing these courses.
  • Appointments: Dr Tina Skinner had been appointed as Deputy Marshal for three years.
  • Effectiveness Review of Senate: Senate approved a series of recommendations of the group chaired by Professor Chris Jennison. Its main finding was that Senate could continue to be assured of its effectiveness, after assessment of the four key effectiveness factors identified by Senate and other good practice.
  • Motion From Academic Assembly: The Chair of Academic Assembly presented a motion requesting that the recent decision by the Academic Programmes Committee to close the Department of Education's PGCE course be brought to the attention of Senate for further scrutiny, not only in terms of the closure decision itself but also the process which had been followed to reach it.

After a full discussion, it was concluded that correct procedure had been followed in the decision-making process, that the student experience of the current cohort was being protected and that Senate had thoroughly scrutinised the decision.

  • New Academic Programmes: Senate approved the following new programmes with effect from October 2014:
    • BSc (hons) Biomedical Sciences (3yrs) and
    • BSc (hons) Biomedical Sciences with placement (4yrs).
    • BSc (hons) Psychology FT (3 yrs)
    • MSci (hons) Psychology (4 yrs)
    • MSci (hons) Psychology with placement (5 yrs).
    • Exit awards to the Doctor of Education (EdD) professional doctorate of Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Studies, Postgraduate Diploma in Education and MPhil.

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