My week - 2 September 2013 - Professor John Fisher looks forward to the new session

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor John Fisher reflects on recruitment and looks at plans for the new year.

Professor John Fisher

The first week of September marks the start of the new academic year so welcome back and, if you have been away, I hope you have had a good break.

In many ways, the 2013/14 new academic year is already well underway as August is now a very busy month in the University calendar.  We have received the results of the National Student Survey (NSS) and graduate employability data, and colleagues have been very active in international student recruitment and home admissions following the A-level results.  In research, many staff throughout the University have been preparing the final drafts of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission, whilst colleagues in eight Schools have been working on developing improved academic plans for 2013/14 as part of their extended Integrated Planning Exercise process. My VCEG colleagues have been heavily involved in all these activities, and over the next four weeks Professors David Hogg and Vivien Jones and Martin Holmes* will use the My Week column to give updates on these areas as part of the start of the new academic year.

Generally, there is a good feeling across the University about the home EU undergraduate recruitment, where we are seeing an uplift in both volume of students and the number of ABB students. That there are many positive outcomes is evident in meetings such as academic planning meeting I attended in the School of Physics and Astronomy last week, where there has been a significant increase in the quality and quantity of the undergraduate intake. Martin will provide a full recruitment update towards the end of the month.

Many of the good results in individual schools, whether they are about recruitment, NSS, employability or REF submissions,  reflect the hard work, efforts and focus on improvement that staff have put in over the last year. They also reconfirm that we are operating well in an increasingly competitive and dynamic higher education market. As we go through September, the My Week column will provide a fuller update on University-wide plans for further improvements for 2013/14.

Starting on 25 September, colleagues in Schools will also have the opportunity to discuss their ambitions and plans for improvement in the annual, individual School meetings. These have been scheduled so that our new Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands can attend all 34 meetings, providing the School leadership teams with an initial opportunity to discuss their plans and ambitions with Alan. I know he also hopes to visit all Schools and Services in the coming months and is looking forward to meeting staff and students from across the University.


*Professor David Hogg is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation; Professor Vivien Jones is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Student Education: and Martin Holmes is Marketing Director.

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