Issue 4 of our School newsletter for staff
Improving the student experience was the top priority item at the first School General Meeting of the academic year, following disappointing results for the School, College and University in the latest National Student Survey (NSS).
Although in some areas, eg. feedback times, we are meeting and often exceeding University targets, student satisfaction is still lower than we would expect.
Director of Teaching, Dr Björn Franke, outlined the survey's latest findings and early analysis of the causes, including communication gaps. Contributing factors may include larger and mixed MSc/UG4 final year classes following recent rapid increases in student numbers and disruption caused by building works. These issues may also have impacted on staff morale, to the detriment of teaching and student support.
More detailed analysis and discussions will follow, including focus groups with students to identify solutions at School level, and University-wide.
For more information, see Björn's slides in PDF form:
Head of School Professor Johanna Moore welcomed the 12 new academic staff and six support staff, who have joined or are joining us as the 2016/17 academic year gets underway.
Dr Björn Franke reported that we have 202 new undergraduates and 323 new postgraduate taught students. In addition, the Graduate School says that we have 64 new postgraduate research students (including 42 in Centres for Doctoral Training) with a further 22 joining us later in the year.
Speaking on behalf of new Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator Dr Kami Vaniea, who was teaching, Professor Jane Hillston said we expect the results of our April 2016 Athena SWAN equalities award application shortly - and an implementation group has already met to start taking forward the action plan it described for 2016-19.
Director of Professional Services Martin Wright reported that work is progressing in Appleton Tower and in creating additional offices in the Informatics Forum. Nevertheless, there is likely to be a shortage of desks for postgraduate research (PGR) students in 2017/18, so meeting room IF2.33 may be used temporarily as a PGR room until the Data Technology Institute (DTI) is completed. Construction of the DTI (aka Thomas Bayes Centre) is currently 11 weeks behind schedule but occupancy by early 2018 is still expected.
The planned review of the School Strategy and Plan 2017-20 will include review of staff recruitment priorities and student recruitment projections, with a Strategy Committee meeting on staff recruitment on Wednesday 26 October.
Following the Principal's announcement, 21 June, that he will be demitting office in September 2017, the University has appointed executive search firm Perrett Laver to support the search for his successor. The post is being advertised on the Perrett Laver website -reference 2689 (registration required). Deadline for applications: midday Tuesday 18 October 2016. Recruitment for a new Head of College of Science and Engineering will also be underway shortly.
The University has organised another round of meetings to take stock of the latest developments following the EU referendum. The nearest will take place in Lecture Theatre F.21, 7 George Square, 3-4pm Wednesday 5 October.
Director of Research Professor Jane Hillston is holding a research office hour every Monday, 12noon– 1pm in her office, IF3.49 (except October when she is away). This offers researchers an opportunity to discuss their ideas and proposals, including possible funding schemes and collaborators. Support is available throughout the proposal process.
Jane is also organising a series of research 'biscuit lunches' (you bring your lunch, Jane supplies a speaker and provides biscuits!). Next event: Monday 24 October, 1-2pm , G.07. Topic: REF. Speaker: Professor Steve Renals.
Please tell us asap! Our Equality and Diversity Committee would like to ask female speakers - not least those who are coming into School anyway - to share their career stories with students and staff over an informal sandwich lunch. If you have an interesting speaker in mind, please email E&D Coordinator Kami Vaniea (pictured right) early in your planning.
We're also inviting female staff and alumni to complete case study questionnaires.
Mentoring Connections is a University-wide programme for all academic and professional staff. Mentees are matched with Mentors who are one grade above and who work in a broadly similar field. In particular, mentee applications are encouraged from women, new international staff, new and aspiring leaders and those who through their Annual Review process have identified the need for mentoring. Closing date for the next round of applications: Friday 16 December 2016. Get connected.
The next University Senate meeting will take place 2pm Wednesday 28 September in the Informatics Forum. Theme: 'Interdisciplinarity - How can we strengthen our culture and expectations of high performance in interdisciplinary research, learning, and knowledge exchange?' Speakers include Chris Speed (Design Informatics) and Jon Oberlander. Presentations and discussion open to all staff. Please book via MyEd.
|28 Sept||Senate meeting in the Informatics Forum|
|29 Sept||FULLY BOOKED! Women in Computing informal lunch with Anne Johnson, alumna, angel investor, CEO Cunning Systems|
|3 Oct||Support staff 'away day,' 10am-2pm|
|5 Oct||EU Referendum: University 'town hall' meeting, George Square|
|8 Oct||Undergraduate open day|
|24 Oct||Monthly research biscuit lunch: Speaker Steve Renals on REF|
|16 Nov||Postgraduate open day|
|16 Dec||Deadline for staff mentoring scheme|
Think you know your colleagues? Guess who:
(Click a link for the answer).
The newsletter is produced by Communications, Informatics Knowledge Management Team. If you have any questions or comments please get in touch! Email: email@example.com