The Organisation Effectiveness (Student Support) Review launched by the Vice-Chancellor at the end of last year has this week provided a briefing of its report to Senate. The full report, executive summary and University action plan responding to its findings are now available.
Introducing the executive summary the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Shearer West, said:
“On my arrival at the University of Nottingham I was, of course, impressed by our thriving institution, its outstanding student experience, world-changing research and global reputation for excellence. I was also impressed by the level of commitment and care demonstrated by our academic and professional services staff in delivering outstanding education and services to our students.
“I have been keenly aware that our Student Services teams are delivering a high quality of service to our students and staff, in the face of significant difficulties resulting from the organisational redesign which changed the way in which that support is provided.
“This is why one of my first acts as Vice-Chancellor was to initiate a review which would consult the staff who deliver or engage with these services, and the students who benefit from them, and ask them to identify the difficulties and offer solutions for how they could be fixed. To ensure the review could secure the full range of evidence and provide objective recommendations, I commissioned a task group of academic and professional services staff — working at arm’s length from the University Executive Board, but with sponsorship from Professor Jeremy Gregory.
“The Organisational Effectiveness (Student Support) Review team, led by Professor Sarah Sharples, has worked diligently and rapidly, engaging our staff and students to produce a high quality set of recommendations to overcome the current barriers to the delivery of high-quality support for students. I am enormously grateful to Professor Sharples, the review team, and the many colleagues throughout the University who will have contributed their views.
“Three months of consultative workshops, online surveys and desk analysis, has resulted in some 40 individual actions for improvement which are summarised in this document, with a recommendation that the majority of these are completed before the start of the next academic year.
“The University Executive Board has considered and accepted the findings of the review, and agreed a plan of action to implement these in a quick, efficient and consultative manner. Implementation task groups will now deliver this plan, with the work led jointly by Student Services and Faculty managers. Importantly, each group will include student representatives, and work to support managers who have day-to-day responsibility for student support. An Implementation Steering Group, chaired by the University’s Registrar, Dr Paul Greatrix, will oversee and report openly on progress.
“From studying this review, and from the many conversations I have had with staff in all roles and at all levels since my arrival, it is clear that there is a deep and longstanding commitment to providing the best possible support to students. It is also clear that this commitment has not always been as supported as well as it could have been by the changes in organisational design, with repercussions for the experience of staff and students throughout the University.
“On behalf of the University, I would like to offer a sincere apology for this, as well as an assurance that we will use the review to deliver the improvements that are needed now, and learn the lessons for the management of future major projects.
“This document contains a summary of the proposed developments and timescales for their implementation. If you would like to be involved in making the changes the review has recommended, whether as part of one of the working groups or being part of a progress check in a few months’ time, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.”
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