General Assembly

 

GA06-M1

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Minutes of the meeting of General Assembly held on 15th March 2006

 

Present: 33 members signed the attendance list. Apologies for absence were received from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

 

1. Minutes

The Minutes of the sixty-eighth meeting of the General Assembly held on 16 March 2005 were accepted as a true record.

 

2. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising.

 

3. Vice-Chancellor’s Report

The Vice-Chancellor delivered a presentation reflecting on some of the issues raised with her during her initial visits across campus. This formed part of a presentation that had been delivered at a previous meeting of Senate.

 

At all her visits prior to taking up the post, Shirley Pearce asked students and staff what they felt had led to Loughborough being so successful. She listed the responses and a copy of her presentation is available from Veronica King. The core values of the University were evident and shared by everybody. Good financial management coupled with high quality administration and good labour relations also played its part in the University’s success. Reference was also made to the strength of the research undertaken at Loughborough.

 

The Vice-Chancellor highlighted that a number of students had also been consulted when making her visits to the various departments. From such consultation it was clear that the University had a high level of respect for its students. However there were areas of University practice where students had expressed concerns. The current student/staff ratio; induction procedures for both post graduate and international students; and the level of assessment and feedback currently given to students were all referred to.

 

The Vice-Chancellor then looked at some of the challenges currently facing the University. In particular should the University continue to remain a ‘non-aligned’ institution, or should it seek alignment. Recognition also needs to be given to the fact that the HE sector is becoming more specialised.

 

The University’s relationship with Loughborough town was also commented upon. The Vice-Chancellor noted the impressive work already done in this area, and made specific reference to the Community Cohesion meeting that had been held recently. However, it was clear that further improvement of local community relations still presented significant challenges for the future.

 

The Vice-Chancellor then looked at the issues of marketing. It was noted that University needed to identify its ‘brand’ and pay careful attention to its media profile. Reference was made to the recent awarding of a fifth Queen’s Anniversary Prize to the University for Research in Social Policy, and the significant achievement this represented.

 

The Vice-Chancellor recognised the importance of work done with elite athletes here at Loughborough University. However, it was also noted that more work needed to be done to improve the sporting experience for all the students on campus.

 

Geographically, the University needs to continue to integrate itself with LUSAD being mindful of the physical barrier created by Epinal Way. Similarly with the continued development of Holywell Park a number of strategic and servicing issues need to be looked at.

 

A closer look was then taken at the organisational challenges faced by the University. In particular the Vice-Chancellor commented on the need to improve communication with the University’s manual staff. It was also recognised that there was a need to provide additional support for Heads of Department.

 

In conclusion, the Vice-Chancellor raised a number of questions which still need to be tackled. Is the University clear on it’s core values? what is the ‘Loughborough Experience’?, and how will the University respond to the current pressures of the HE sector?

 

The Vice-Chancellor was then asked about the University’s new Strategic Plan and whether it would be reactive or proactive. In response the Vice-Chancellor highlighted the need for a balanced approach; on the one hand being in a position to determine and influence what is happening in the HE sector, but to also be well placed to respond to developments that have not been anticipated.

 

The Vice-Chancellor informed members that an away day is scheduled for June 2006, which will be attended by members of Council, Senate and senior HoDs to discuss the Strategic Plan in further detail.

 

4. University Financial Position

The Bursar presented the University’s current financial position. Details of the HEFCE grant for 2006/07 were given, and it was pointed out that the University was not hitting all of its benchmarked targets. As a result there had only been a 3.5% increase in overall funding.

 

The Bursar then looked at the various sources of funding received by the University and how this funding is spent. The importance of pay was referred to in relation to this. The Resources Planning Committee had reported a 2.5% increase in turnover ensuring that Loughborough was doing well in comparison to other HEIs.

 

It was then reported that the University was in consultation with Charnwood Borough Council regarding a number of plans for building development. In response to a question from one member, the Bursar commented that there appeared to be enough interest for the development of a 50 hectare business park, although this required a long time frame. One of the University’s distinguishing features was its links with industry.

 

In relation to the increased level of tuition fees charged by the University from 2006 onwards, it was expected that 18 million income would be generated over the next 4 years. This additional income was already strategically spent, however thought needed to be given to where the University invested in the future.

 

5. Any Other Business

The Vice-Chancellor thanked members for attending.

 

6. Date of Next Meeting

To be confirmed.

 

 

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Author: M Lister

Date: March 2006

Copyright Loughborough University.