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Internal News - 03 December 2007

Summary of matters discussed at Council

The University has decided to publish a summary of matters discussed at Council meetings shortly after the meeting. This is the first account:

This is the first report on matters discussed at University Council meetings, which we hope members of the University community will find of interest. The meeting last Thursday had a very full agenda. In addition to consideration of proposals concerning the Oakfield Campus (see separate item), Council considered the following:

Annual Accounts

Council approved the Annual Accounts for the financial year ending 31 July 2007. The University’s income totalled almost £150 million, with a surplus of just under £2 million. Summarising the University’s financial position, Director of Finance Diane Aderyn said the accounts showed “a continued strengthening of the University’s financial position in circumstances in which it was not easy to work”.

Income in 2006/7 grew by just over 10 per cent, excluding investment income, whilst expenditure grew by 11 per cent overall and 12 per cent in academic departments. Research and grant income grew by 10 per cent, with the Director of Finance commenting it was particularly pleasing to have an increase in contribution from 22 to 27 per cent. On expenditure, the largest increase was in utility costs, up by some 40 per cent. Staff costs make up 60 per cent of the University’s expenditure and had increased by 10.5 per cent in the year.

Student Experience

Guiding Principles for the Student Experience at the University were adopted. Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jamieson reminded Council of the even greater importance of getting the student experience right, with, for example, the National Student Survey putting student feedback into the public domain. He said that seeing students simply as consumers was “particularly unhelpful”; the new Guiding Principles acknowledge students play a variety of roles in the University. These roles include learner, University citizen, local resident, colleague, consumer, scholar and ambassador.

The Guiding Principles also set out that students will be encouraged to fulfil their potential and to take both individual and collective responsibility for their own affairs, whilst the University will aim to develop an inclusive institutional culture, encourage students to express their views, and provide accurate, consistent and timely information to students.

Staff Grievance Policy and Procedure

A new Grievance Policy and Procedure was approved, which set out to update and improve on current procedures, to align them with statutory disputes resolution procedures, to pick up best practice, to be fair to all parties and to bring them together into a single document. Input from the trade unions had been received. The document will shortly be published on the HR website.

Other items

Council opened with a presentation from the Dean of The School of Management Professor Andrew Pettigrew in which he briefed Council both on the major changes made in the School over the last five years, and the School’s hopes for the future. Council also:
• appointed a new member, Thomas Sheppard, managing partner of Thring Townsend
• was told that the University’s submission for the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) had been submitted the previous day
• agreed plans for a one-day session for Council members in January which will include a talk by the Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Professor David Eastwood.