We have embarked on an ambitious programme of change to implement a new academic structure on 1 August 2019. Alongside the creation of six Schools and the Doctoral School, we have taken the opportunity to create a new approach to the way our teams in academic administration and Professional Services support our students and academics.
We have been working with colleagues on the changes to academic administration throughout the year and, with thanks for the hard work of everyone involved, I’m pleased to say that arrangements for School-based administration and the new School Offices are at an advanced stage. Set-up will be complete in August 2019, before the start of the new academic year.
When the Schools structure was first proposed, it was anticipated the Professional Services would adopt an ‘embedded model’ approach to service. This would mean that colleagues from functions across the Professional Services would base themselves in the School Office at certain times in a week (‘hot desking’). However, following discussions with Heads of School designate, School Managers designate and others, it has become clear that a ‘one-size fits all’ approach based upon this model will not deliver the desired results. Instead, it is clear that different models are needed for different Professional Services. By recognising this and tailoring our approach, we can best respond to the needs of academic colleagues and students and provide the appropriate mixture of professionally managed strategic and operational support.
It is proposed that Professional Services support
be provided in ways that range from project-based support, to Professional Services staff ‘hot desking’ in Schools, through to dedicated Business Partners. These arrangements are proposed as a starting point as the College works towards partnership agreements or service level agreements that will be developed during the course of the next academic year.
In addition to changes to how Professional Services operates with Schools, it is also proposed to adopt a virtual team methodology. This is approach seeks to bring Professional Services support together with the School Administration Teams and Academic Staff to create virtual teams to share good practice and work through new initiatives. Proposed virtual teams
will be developed during the next academic year and might include areas such as Recruitment and Admissions, Campus Infrastructure and Wellbeing.
Dr David Ashton
Deputy Principal (Operations)