Author: Shaun Williams, Executive Director Engagement and Advancement
As always, a range of strategic and operational issues on the UEB agenda today:
- The Vice-Chancellor updated UEB on communication from Universities Minister Michelle Donelan MP about Government support for students from Ukraine studying at English Higher Education providers, in which she expressed her gratitude to the sector for the generous and vital support shown to students and staff from Ukraine over the last two months. We have been in direct and regular contact with the small number of our students from Ukraine, offering financial and pastoral support.
- The Vice-Chancellor advised UEB Members that nominations for this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Awards open today, and encouraged nominations, with a closing date of Friday 27 May. The award categories this year have been updated to reflect our new University Strategy and to ensure we are celebrating contributions that demonstrate our values and support our strategic direction. The new categories include ‘Bringing the Triple Helix to Life’, ‘Sustainability’ and ‘One Southampton’.
- There was a further update on progress with our Modernising the Governance strategic major project, which has as its core objective delivering a refreshed, streamlined, contemporary and compliant set of University governing documents that are easily accessible and understood by staff, students and other stakeholders, providing transparency about how the University operates and whose purpose is to facilitate agility in its operations – another key aim of our Strategy.
- UEB discussed and approved proposed University responses to two Department for Education consultations – Higher education policy & reform, looking at focusing investment on provision which results in better outcomes for students, the economy and society; and Lifelong Loan Entitlement.
- UEB discussed a paper about the University’s Risk Appetite, which recognised that the University does not currently have a clear risk appetite which is embedded or understood across all levels of the University, and as a result has in places led to an extremely risk-averse culture, creating layers of bureaucracy and processes which may not always be necessary. Establishing a clear university risk appetite could start to unlock some of the issues around bureaucracy which will be tackled in the Organisational Excellence strategic plan. There was strong support for progressing this – further discussion will take place at UEB, and discussions will now take place with individual executive risk owners to set boundaries and expectations for their respective risk categories.
- UEB were reminded that this year’s Science and Engineering Day will take place on campus this coming Saturday, 7 May. More than 3,000 attendees and nearly 100 exhibitors are expected for the popular event, which was moved from March to benefit from expected changes in Covid regulations and (hopefully) to benefit from better weather. Numbers are being controlled and exhibitors will be more spaced out.
- Finally, UEB formally noted the Annual Health & Safety Report prepared by the Director of Health, Safety and Risk for the period January to December 2021, a period in which the COVID-19 pandemic continued to have an enormous impact on the challenges faced by the Health & Safety team; and noted the University Risk Register.