General Assembly


Minutes of the Sixty Second Meeting of the Committee held on 21 March 2001.

Present: Professor D J Wallace (Chair), Mr J N Bilsbrough, Professor B A Buffham, Mr P H Cole, Professor J V Dawkins, Mr C Dunbobbin, Dr M Gilbert, Dr R A Haskins, Mr J R Hinds, Dr R H Hooper, Dr P A Howarth, Dr P G Leaney, Professor R McCaffer, Dr R J Mortimer, Dr A M Mumford, Dr P N Murgatroyd, Dr J C Nutkins, Mrs L M Parks, Professor P H Roberts, Mr J F Rowland, Dr J H Samson, Mr J A Smith, Mr J Town, Dr F Warren, Mr J B White, Mr J S Wilcox. In attendance: Mr D Hately.

1. Minutes

The Minutes of the sixty-first meeting of the General Assembly held on 15 November 2000 were confirmed, and signed by the chair.

2. Matters Arising

General Assembly had already seen and commented on plans for a reduction in the size of Council. Council had taken note of General Assembly's recommendations and incorporated them into their final resolution. Privy Council had asked for a number of further changes to assist the process and to cover transitional arrangements. These were outlined in a paper from the Registrar. This was received by General Assembly without comment and this was interpreted by the Chair as assent.

3. Vice-Chancellor's Report

A paper titled Matters for Report by the Vice-Chancellor was tabled. It draws attention to an agreement between UCEA and the Unions to enter into further discussion; and it announces details of the current year's budget process, which is now under way.

The Vice-Chancellor reported on seven issues.

(1) The HEFCE Funding Allocations for 2001-02 were welcomed as a more encouraging outcome for the University. (A summary is available with the Bursar's comments on implications for Loughborough.)

(2) Trends in applications, based on figures for 2000 and 2001, show that:

(3) Research Grants for the year so far indicate that the University is on course to meet the demanding targets set out in the Strategic Plan 1999-2004.

(4) In the domain of Reach-Out, a third stream of University 'core-business' funding is anticipated, to be associated with innovation and knowledge transfer. Loughborough is well-placed to take full advantage of this new funding opportunity through the co-location of relevant support services in Rutland Hall.

(5) Procedures to resolve the issues of areas of structural deficit, agreed with Council and the Unions, began in April 2000 and continue, strictly following the agreed processes.

(6) On the Building & Development programme:

(a) Ford College was opened by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, in February;

(b) the University Council has established a Board of Inquiry into a projected additional overspend of c. 1.5M in the Engineering Building;

(c) the sod-cutting for the 50m swimming pool was performed on 26th February, by the Minister for Sport, Kate Hoey. The contract is based on fixed-price tenders;

(d) meetings continue to be held in connection with the proposed Ashby Road development to take account of residents' views. The University has abandoned plans to demolish Dr Schofield's house and will reconsider other aspects of the proposals, in consultation with local residents.

(7) Apart from the better news in HEFCE Funding Allocations and the new Grants and Contracts, causes for celebration include continuing success in ESR assessments of teaching quality, and the award of the University's third Queen's Anniversary Prize, for work in Optical Engineering.

4. HEFCE Initiative: Rewarding and Developing Staff in Higher Education

The Registrar introduced a consultation paper from the HEFCE (Document 00/56) on this initiative, available at aimed at rewarding, retaining and developing staff who work in the HE sector. It was noted that funding will be released once institutions have provided the Council with HR strategies addressing specified priority areas. Loughborough has decided to construct a new strategic document, covering a wider range of issues than that required by the HEFCE. The completed document must be submitted to the HEFCE by June 2001. Comment from members covered most aspects of the proposed Loughborough strategy and several key points emerged, among them:

Asked to comment, the Director of Personnel acknowledged that the difficulty of evaluating human performance and of comparing, as it were, apples with oranges is very great; and that all methods to date - including the Hay model used at some universities - are cumbersome. It was agreed that if members of staff wish to contribute to this exercise, they should be invited to do so via Patrick Cole (

5. Research Assessment Exercise

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) presented members with a progress report on this complex exercise, which has been formally under way since January 2000. An internal scrutiny of the documentation will be completed in time for the submission date in April 2001. The target outcomes in the Strategic Plan for ratings in 2001 include 21% of all staff in grade 5*, 32% in grade 5, and 38% in grade 4. The projection had been that the remaining 9% would not be returned; the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) indicated that it was likely that the actual figure would be higher than this.

6. Any Other Business

There were none.

7. Date of next meeting

To be arranged

Author - D Hately

Date - 29 March 2001

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