Date published: March 10, 2016
An update from your University Council
As the University's supreme governing body, your University Council are responsible for the management and administration of the revenue and property of the University and for the conduct of the affairs of the University. For the first installment of a regular series of news stories designed to keep you informed about the work of your University Council, Chair of Council, Rt Hon Baroness Beverley Hughes gives you a useful guide of who the Council are, what they do and what has been achieved in her first 18 months as Chair.
When I became Chair of Council some eighteen months ago it gradually became clear to me as I talked to staff and students that very few knew much about Council, its role and responsibilities, and the decisions it takes. As the overarching Governing Council with responsibility for setting the strategy and measuring performance, decisions taken by Council affect everyone studying or working at the University, so I think it’s vital that you are able to see and understand what your Council and its members are doing on behalf of the University and how we fulfil our governance role.
You will be aware of the significant changes at the University over the past twelve months, a new Vice-Chancellor, building a new senior executive team, a new vision and strategy agreed involving all parts of the University from Council through academic departments, professional services and most importantly students. I was clear when I became Chair that Salford must focus on improving the student experience as the guiding principle underpinning the changes we need to make.
Council itself has also changed considerably during this time. We have a new committee structure including for the first time the Student Experience Committee which I chair and whose members are drawn from across the university. We have streamlined many of your ways of working in Council and appointed new members from senior positions in various organisations to help us build the partnerships we need going forward.
As part of our programme to create closer links between Council members and the university community, new Council members went on a tour of the Peel Park campus, visiting the new multidisciplinary Bodmer Laboratories as well as the spectacular New Adelphi building which opens in September and the recently opened student residences. Council members were able to speak to and listen to the views and perspectives of many students and staff as they toured and it’s clear that recent investment in campus facilities is having a positive effect on the student experience.
Also in late January, I hosted what I hope will be the first of many Council member away days at MediaCityUK where we were joined by a number of senior managers and guest speakers. It gave us an excellent opportunity to not only reflect on the forthcoming council agenda but also look more widely at the national policy context for higher education and the potential opportunities and challenges this will create for Salford.
We also used the session to gather further insights into the evolving civic and regional economic and political agenda, mostly notably the emerging Northern Powerhouse and Devo Manc strategies. Finally we were able to contribute to the evolution of the exciting Industry Collaboration Zone strategic priority which is starting to take shape.
Our next Council meeting is on 18 March and I hope to update you further on the work of your Council shortly after that.Beverley Hughes
Chair of Council