Welcome to … the fourth in a regular series of news stories designed to keep you informed about the work of your University Council
The Higher Education and Research Bill currently going through Parliament presents both challenges and opportunities to Universities in the UK. Not least is the establishment of a new Teaching Excellence Framework which will eventually grade each university on a three point scale: gold, silver and bronze. The lowest-ranked universities will be restricted in a number of important ways that will have a significant impact on their ability to attract students.
That is why, we held the first event in which the University Council, Senate and University Management Team (UMT) members came together to discuss the impact of TEF and the priorities for the University.
I believe it’s crucially important to explore our key opportunities and challenges collectively and I’m looking forward to working together like this more often to debate key themes of strategic importance.
As the VC, Professor Helen Marshall, indicated at the event, the impact of TEF and the STERN Research Excellence Framework (REF) review is forcing all universities to address the way they work. The entire dynamics of the sector are shifting. The impact cannot be underestimated – it’s the biggest shake up of the sector since the 1992 Further and Higher Education Act when 35 polytechnics were allowed to take university status.
We were given an overview of the national and international policy context by experts from Wonkhe and Ranmore Consulting. Then our Director of Strategy, Jackie Njoroge, explained the implications of this for Salford.
It became abundantly clear that we need to put actions in place now to address our performance in order to achieve the best possible outcome when the TEF ratings are published next year. If we fail to achieve a Silver rating, we will be unable to raise our fees in line with inflation. This would mean a significant funding gap and would jeopardise all the improvements we want to see – to improve student experience, continue to modernise the campus and it will mean a step change in the way we do things. The Industry Collaboration Zone framework and the work our Organisational Development team is undertaking across the University will help this. Schools and Professional Services’ teams have been briefed by Deans and Directors, supported by the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Team, about the importance of the TEF and performance improvements that we need to put in place.