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Chair of Council's foreword to the Annual Accounts 2022/23

The foreword to the Annual Accounts by Pamela Chesters CBE, Chair of Council.

Annual Accounts

Profile of Pamela Chesters
Pamela Chesters CBE, Chair of Council

The University has had a very successful year. We have continued to build on the strong upward trajectory of recent times as we have advanced our strategy: driving excellence in education and high impact research, fostering an outstanding and inclusive community and enhancing our strategic partnerships.

It is extremely gratifying to see all the hard work of our staff; academic and professional services alike, be publicly recognised through the external awards and recognition which we have received. In particular, moving up thirty one places in a single year in the QS World University Rankings, taking us to within the world’s top 150 Universities, is an outstanding achievement and special thanks must go to our leadership team under our Vice Chancellor, Prof Ian White.

Taking quality as our touchstone we have successfully balanced our continued commitment to delivering an excellent student experience with the developments in teaching, research and enterprise. In teaching we have achieved a triple Gold award in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and we have seen the culmination of the curriculum transformation programme, a hugely significant restructuring of our education provision.

We witnessed with pride, the joy of another cohort of our students as they graduated in Bath Abbey, and are confident that they leave us well taught, well qualified, well experienced, well rounded and well grounded and wish them every success in the next chapter of their careers. And of course we welcome them into an ever growing and committed cadre of Bath graduates who continue to support us in so many different ways.

On research, our focussed approach, building on the earlier work in the establishment of Bath Beacons and interdisciplinary working, is paying dividends as evidenced through the growth in our research income. Later this month we will hold the formal opening of our Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems which will offer enhanced opportunity for strategic partnership working.

Looking forward the outlook for the sector remains very challenging. The current economic climate, and the scale of demands on the public purse make it hard to envisage a scenario where greater government funding is made available to Higher Education. The continued importance of the unregulated overseas student fees at a time when patterns of uptake are still uncertain post the pandemic remain a concern. The national dispute with UCU on staff pensions remains unresolved, creating inevitable tensions despite local goodwill on both sides.

However we will continue to harness our resources wisely, seeking to protect and enhance the long term success of the institution, enabling it to flourish and fulfil its full potential as a high performing University.

Finally, earlier this year Prof White advised Council of his intention to stand down as Vice Chancellor at the end of the forthcoming academic year and plans are now underway to appoint his successor. His vision has been instrumental in the success we have enjoyed and he will leave University in far higher standing than at the time of his appointment. However, he would be the first to say that there is much he is still planning to achieve in this his final year, so I will reserve formally recording the University’s thanks and my appreciation until next year’s Annual Report.

Pamela Chesters CBE
Chair of Council

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