We often talk about how the higher education world has changed and how internal and external pressures influence the decisions we make. While we’ve responded to many of the changes we’ve experienced, there is more we need to do.
At yesterday’s Staff Open Meeting
, I talked through a three-year change programme. Some elements of this will be familiar to you, including the proposal to move to a Schools structure. The proposal to move to Schools was approved by Council at its meeting on 22 November, and the next stage of work to move to six Schools
has started with the appointment process for new Heads of School. We will also progress the plans to develop our academic administration
to support the School structure.
In addition to talking through changes you should be familiar with, I also talked about other changes you will see come forward in the coming months. The aim of the change programme is to ensure we can continue to succeed in our core objectives, and respond to current and short-term financial challenges.
It’s important to recognise that we are a financially sound institution. However, the funds we have left after running costs are taken out have reduced over the last few years and it is likely to be close to zero in 2018/19.
To remain one of the UK’s leading universities we have to do more than balance income in and costs out. We also have to generate sufficient funds to allow us to invest in long-term improvements. To do this we need to either grow income, reduce costs or, ideally, do both. With increasing pressure on our ability to increase our income, we must find ways to reduce our costs.
I recognise that change isn’t easy, but the action we’re taking is prudent management, and something we are choosing to do because it will make us stronger today and in the future.
Professor Paul Layzell