So how did it come to pass that I was caught scoffing a tasty muffin in the recent all staff meeting? Well, I’d just arrived hot foot from the first City staff forum and although having back to back meetings curtailed my opportunity to mingle with other University colleagues at the forum, the opportunity to partake of a fine piece wasn’t going to be squandered.
But there was more to the event than chat, cakes and coffee. The City Forum has been introduced as a new termly event to give updates to staff on projects and initiatives from across the University. The first event on 28th November highlighted some of the work going on in the Student & Academic Services directorate towards City’s Education & Student Strategy.
President Professor Sir Paul Curran introduced the event and identified three significant current events for the University community.
- Building projects (the start of work on the Sebastian Street project, the opening of student learning spaces in Lower Drysdale and the new Faith Centre in Tait Building).
- Standardising the annual leave allocation for all staff.
- City’s 3 shortlisted nominations for last week’s Times Higher Education Awards. These were for the Outstanding University Entrepreneurship Award, Most improved student experience, University of the Year.
We then heard from Melanie Sanderson, Programme Manager of the Modernising Administration for Students team, or MAfS if you’d rather (and I fear we must). The MAfS blog gives a good overview of the range of projects currently underway with the overall goal of supporting the University strategy and generally improving student processes across City.
Melanie highlighted two particular pieces of work. Procedures for handling Extenuating Circumstances applications and appeals are now being administered through E:vision, this has been a big step forward in standardising procedures which were previously rather disjointed around the Schools.
Meanwhile, the Personal Tutorial Records project is now being rolled out this session after a successful 2016/17 pilot in City Law School. This presents tutors with a more comprehensive and cohesive set of information to support their students and is a key element of the student progression strand of the Education & Student Strategy. By mid-November, over 2700 year 1 Undergraduate tutorials had been arranged through this tool.
Brenda Welch then introduced us to the work the Careers Service have been doing to support the employability strand of the strategy.
Since 2015-16, City has been running a careers survey during the University registration process. This is a short set of questions intended to capture data from students about their current career plans, readiness for employment and current employment experience. The responses are used to determine which stage students are at – decide, plan or compete. By seeking to capture this data as undergraduate students progress through University, it is hoped to improve the capacity of the Careers Service to map and measure changes in career preparedness. City was one of 12 institutions enabled to set up this process for capturing careers registration data through a HEFCE funded project.
The data will soon be linked to the Graduate Outcomes survey, being phased in through HESA over the next couple of years. This is quite a significant change in how information about the destination of graduates after leaving an H.E course is measured.
Both presentations were very informative and gave a good flavour of some of the work going on around City underpinning the Education & Student Strategy.
Do keep an eye out for the next City Forum as I’m sure we can expect another opportunity to learn more about what’s happening around the University and, no doubt, the odd pastry or muffin too.