It has been a busy few weeks both on campus and in the city. The recent by-election result catapulted the city into national and international headlines and took a lot of people by surprise. A real positive was the number of new voters who took part and I look forward to seeing what impact the election has on the city. The campus itself is also, once again, very busy. The Sustainable Enterprise Centre is progressing well and we hope to begin the demolition of Bradford Halls together with the installation of new multi-use sports pitches fairly soon.
As we prepare to face the challenge of the £9k fees we are looking closely at what we need to change, to attract students and make Bradford the university of choice, through a series of reviews.
Most of you will be aware of the on-going process of academic review currently taking place. Using our schools as the organising framework and based on clear and transparent metrics we are trying to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our programmes in order to ensure we are in the best possible position to invest resources to build our strength and reputation.
Such reviews have inevitably ranged widely, but commonly look at things like demand, application patterns, National Student Survey, research outputs and quality enhancement of teaching. They do inevitably have an element of challenge, and that is something one would expect in an academic institution, but they are intended to be constructive, to help identify where we need to invest and to provide a clearer set of signposts for the development of our programmes.
Staff right across the institution continue to work very hard to ensure we can withstand the inevitable pressures of what is a crude, market-based system. What is important is that we can feel confident in our longer-term sustainability, build on a clear understanding of where our teaching and research strengths are and how we support our commitment to a balanced portfolio of courses and programmes.
The grant letter received by the University for 2012-13 was close to what we had projected with significant falls in our Teaching Grant to reflect the new fee regime coming in September. In addition our Research Grant also fell as funding for 2* research was removed from the QR monies. Again we had projected correctly for these changes which means that we continue to commit funding for new staff appointments in areas which are critical for the strength of the University. Our commitment to quality teaching and investing in research which makes a difference will be reflected in our staff investment plans which are currently being agreed. We do not yet know how the core and margin model of allocating student numbers will function from 2012-13 onwards. Our hope is for at least a period of stability so that we can begin to assess the impact of the new fee regime on access and inclusion but there is as yet no guarantee that this will be the case.
Our alumni and some of our staff make continuing financial contributions to the Braduate Fund and I was pleased to chair a group which distributed around £6000 of funding from this source to student-based projects across activities ranging from support for children of overseas students to sporting and social projects. This represents the fourth round of allocations and I’d like to thank all those who contribute to this fund. The projects are a credit to the University. I’m also pleased to note that the student Rag Week has again beaten all records with the current figure of around £10,000 having been raised for good causes. Thanks to all those who contributed.
Finally I’d like to mention the trip to Gaza in late-March by 14 of our students. Organised by the Students’ Union the visit to a number of universities in Gaza was designed to connect students from Bradford with their fellow students in Gaza. The records of that trip in the UBU paper and in the social media were a powerful evocation of what the visit meant both to our students and to their friends in Gaza. As always our students continue to do us proud!
The University in the News
You can see where the University’s work has recently featured in the media on the ‘in the news’ page of the Media Centre.
Paul Edwards from Bradford Dementia Group (BDG) in the School of Health Studies worked with Panorama on this week’s ‘Undercover: Elderly Care’ programme which revealed the appalling treatment of a vulnerable elderly woman in a care home, after it was captured on a secret camera hidden in the woman’s bedroom by her concerned daughter. Following the programme, Paul and colleagues from the BDG took part in a lively online debate on Twitter, discussing many of the issues raised in the programme.
Professor David Elliott has been awarded a grant of more than £70,000 for research on dizziness and falls after cataract surgery.
A new No7 serum available exclusively at Boots stores, proven by one of the world’s leading pigmentation experts to shrink and fade age spots, has been developed in conjunction with the University of Bradford’s Centre for Skin Sciences.
The University has signed up to partner the inaugural Bradford Business Conference on the 28th June. We will be hosting a Q&A panel featuring Pace, Sovereign Healthcare, Bombay Stores and Hallmark as well as a business clinic.
Congratulations to the School of Computing, Information and Media whose students have recently won a number of accolades. David Williams won the Yorkshire Royal Television Society (RTS) Animation award for his work Malpractice. His work has also been nominated for a BBC Production Award which will be announced at Media City, Salford on May 17.
Another student film, Fired by Facebook, won the Yorkshire RTS Factual Entertainment Award and is now one of three nominated in a similar category for the RTS National Student Award which will be held at the Barbican, London, on Friday May 25. James Newton, Mariam Hanif, Alex Blogg, Numan Shafi, Victoria Mok and Matt Sypien were responsible for its production.
The Estates and Facilities department have been nominated for a number of awards in recent months. They are:
- Greenbuild: Behaviour Change category for the EMU, environmental move of the School of Health Studies
- Yorkshire Post: Innovation again for the EMU project
- RICS Pro Awards: For the Horton A Building in the Design and Innovation category
The Students’ Union has been named Union of the Year (Small Commercial) at the National Union of Students (NUS) Green Impact Awards in Manchester. The awards recognise the environmental work of students’ unions around the country and this year had a record 105 unions competing for the 9 awards.
Congratulations to all.