Read a preview of VC's report to Senate

1.            League Tables

1.1          QS World University Rankings
The QS World University Rankings were published on 6 September 2016. The University of Bath remains ranked 159th in the world, despite many UK institutions dropping in ranking.

1.2          Good University Guide
The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide was published on 25 September 2016. The University remains in 12th place.

2.         International Engagements

2.1       I led a delegation to the British Council Going Global conference (Cape Town) and Stellenbosch University in May. During the visit, we agreed the establishment of a new strategic network including the University’s best performing strategic partners (University of Stellenbosch (South Africa), Zhejiang University (China) and University of Camoinas (Brazil)). Consisting of four leading research-focused institutions with complementary strengths, it is envisaged that the network will enable collaboration aimed at addressing the major economic, political and social issues in each partner country and influence policy makers nationally and internationally, in a way that would not be possible in isolation.

2.2       I also took part in a UUK delegation of Vice-Chancellors to Germany in June and hosted a number of high profile visitors over the April to September period, including the Vice-Chancellor of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (South Africa), the University’s partner for the delivery of the DBA(HEM) in South Africa.

2.3       PoLIS has developed a Memorandum of Agreement with Zhejiang University aimed at facilitating enrolment on the suite of Master’s programmes in Translating and Interpreting for up to five students per year from Zhejiang.

3.         September Open Day

A very successful Open Day was held on Saturday 17 September with over 14,000 attending.  Thank you to all those who took part and helped to make the day such a success.

4.         Visits to Departments

Since my last report I have visited Student Services on 12 April, the Department of Development & Alumni Relations on 11 May, Academic Registry on 7 June, part of the Faculty of Science Technical Services on 14 June, the Academic Skills Centre on 6 July, the Faculty of Engineering and Design Professional Services on 21 July and Student Recruitment and Admissions on 20 September.

5.         Creation of the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT)

5.1       The development of the new University Strategy and the significant changes to the external Higher Education policy environment provided an opportunity to review the leadership and strategic direction of the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Office (LTEO).

5.2       Following a full staff consultation, the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) was launched on 26 September 2016. The CLT has replaced the LTEO and encompasses four main areas of activity: Academic Staff Development; Curriculum Development; Technology-Enhanced Learning and Student Engagement. The Student Learning and Quality (SLEQ) team (less the Student Engagement Manager) has moved to the Academic Registry.

5.3       The CLT led by its newly appointed Academic Director, Professor Andrew Heath, has a strong remit to provide pro-active support to cultivate excellence in learning and teaching across the University.

6.         B&NES Draft Placemaking Plan

In February 2016, the University submitted a representation in response to the publication of the B&NES draft Placemaking Plan (PMP).  The representation made the case for supporting the University’s expansion needs on campus and in the City in the context of its own academic ambitions but also with reference to:

(i) Government’s vision that universities should continue to drive the knowledge economy in the UK;
(ii) Government’s £30 billion education exports ambition.

Evidence regarding the University’s ability to support economic growth was provided by a report from Oxford Economics, ‘The economic impact of the University of Bath: A report for the University of Bath’, January 2016.

The Oxford Economics report indicated that the University’s total impact on the local economy was valued at £294 million in 2014/15, or 6.2 percent of the total GDP for B&NES.

The Placemaking Plan and associated representations were submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in April 2016 and the Examination in Public of the Placemaking Plan is being conducted by the Independent Planning Inspector, Claire Sherratt DIP URP MRTPI.  Issues relating to the development of the University of Bath and Bath Spa University were considered on 21 September.

The University’s position is that sufficient provision needs to be made in the PMP for the development of student residences and for the expansion of the University’s academic activities both on and off campus.

7.         Science and Innovation Audit

The University, as part of a consortium covering South West England & South East Wales, has undertaken a Science & Innovation Audit (SIA) commissioned by BIS (now BEIS). The aim of the Audit is to “help local organisations map their research and innovation strengths and identify areas of potential global competitive advantage”.

The outcome of the Audit is intended to outline opportunities for further investment to transform the partnership between academia and industry, in order to deliver economic growth and enhance productivity. The submission was made on 16 September.

8.         Other University news

I particularly wish to draw the attention of Senate to the following appointments and developments since our previous meeting:

8.1       Professor David Galbreath was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017. Professor Nick Brook is also now in post as Dean of the Faculty of Science.

8.2       Professor Gregory Maio has joined the University as Head of Department of Psychology from 1 September 2016 to 31 August 2019.

8.3       Dr Alan Hayes has been appointed as an assessor for the Teaching Excellence Framework.

8.4       Professor Saiful Islam from the Department of Chemistry will present the 2016 Christmas Lectures on BBC Four on the subject of energy. This is the 80th anniversary year celebrating the Royal Institution’s rich heritage of scientific discovery.

8.5       Honorary degrees have recently been awarded as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations to Professor Uta Frith, Professor Robert Crabtree, Professor Philip Power, Professor Kevin Edge and Sir Anthony Seldon.

8.6       Recent significant grant awards include:

Description

Funder Principal Investigator £

Amount

An Integrated, Multi-Dimensional In-Operando Reaction Monitoring Facility for Homogenous Catalysis Research EPSRC Professor Matthew Davidson 677,502
How Does the Expression of One Gene Affect that of its Neighbour? MRC Dr Adele Murrell 454,804
UR Fellowship for Alex Cresswell - Better than Boron? Silicon-Mediated Aromatic Functionalisation The Royal Society Professor Christopher Frost 483,720
NEWFAMSTAT European Research Council Professor Lynn Prince Cooke 1,402,654
Institutional Sponsorship 2016 - University of Bath EPSRC Professor Jonathan Knight 441,541

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell
President & Vice-Chancellor

September 2016

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