Last week, Academic Board agreed to recommend to Council, our governing body, the dissolution of our three Faculties and to create six new Schools
. Each School would contain around four academic departments and would broadly be of equivalent size.
During its debate, Academic Board heard a range of opinions including the risks associated with making the change, comments on the pace of implementation and the impact on the student experience and colleagues. It heard also about the limitations of our current structure; while we have some excellent practice, the experience for our students can be inconsistent, especially for students studying across more than one department. The President of the Students’ Union and other Sabbatical Officers, who are members of Academic Board, gave a very clear representation of the views of students, welcoming the proposal.
Over the last few years at my Open Meetings I’ve talked about changes taking place across higher education including the new Office for Students, the Teaching Excellence Framework and a changed funding model; there is more to come with the Review of Post 18 Education.
At Royal Holloway we’ve adapted to these changes, but have not significantly changed how we operate. The move to a School structure
is a big step towards us being in better shape to meet the challenges of our sector. Over the coming year, and beyond, we will need to continue to change what we do, how we do it and how we use our resources. Although cost-saving is not the primary purpose of the move to Schools, over time there will be savings from a reduced cost of the senior team. In the new year, we will be looking at further changes to help us address the challenge of a student fee that has largely remained flat, and rising costs.
I am committed to supporting you and our institution through these changes. I, together with the leadership team, will be open, transparent and give as much information as we can, when we can. I will be holding my termly Open Meeting on 26 November and I host monthly meetings
for students and colleagues. I would encourage all colleagues to take advantage of both sessions to ask questions and encourage the two-way dialogue that is more important than ever during change.
Professor Paul Layzell