Our Future Staff Ideas
I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to submit a suggestion to the our future mailbox. We’ve updated the summary of responses to show what’s being done. It is by working together to ensure everything we do is as efficient and effective as possible that we will ensure that our university is in the best possible position to meet the very challenging future. - Professor Bob Cryan
1. Income Generation (61 suggestions)
• Sell our experience, skills and facilities. Examples include ideas for health, costume, professional education, a legal advice service, architectural consultancy, renting and setting up an arts studio, Fitness diagnostics, Initial teacher Training, HR, e-learning, design innovation, IT repairs, events management service, and selling student work
Deans and Directors are considering these where possible – for example Art, Design and Architecture are working to set up a Design Bureau to offer design services to companies, and to the University.
• Diversifying our product mix including running short courses, running two year degrees, advertising modular degrees, running on-line programmes, and franchising courses to FE.
Deans are reviewing the curriculum, and looking at different ways of delivering teaching. We don’t plan to franchise courses to FE at the moment.
• Setting up a conference centre/hotel
This has been explored but the set up and running costs make it unaffordable.
• Renting out space to business for health, TV, arts and retail purposes
The conference office actively promotes the use of our space out of term time.
• Charging for other services
Deans and Directors are considering this where possible.
• Set up a University Enterprise fund to pump-prime enterprise activities
The Research and Enterprise office allocates funds to do this (via the URF)
• Create a Food Court to generate additional funds
This is being considered as part of the new Learning and Leisure Centre.
• Charge an extra 1p per sheet for photocopying
We don’t want to charge our students additional amounts.
• Set up a Nursery
The set up and running costs mean this isn’t a viable option.
• Develop fund-raising and alumni relations
We are working to restablish contact with our alumni, but are not planning to begin a fund raising campaign in the near future.
• Establish a University of Huddersfield bank
Again, the set up and running costs means this isn’t a viable option.
2. Cost savings (86 suggestions)
• Cease paying interview expenses
Expenses are kept to minimum levels. Since we are not recruiting many people this probably wouldn’t have much impact at this time
• Staff to take a pay cut
We are part of national bargaining and to implement a pay cut would mean leaving the national structure.
• Run an early retirement scheme
Early retirement and phased retirement options are available and the VSS scheme has also been introduced.
• Develop a transparent workload management system to ensure all staff have an equitable and fairly distributed workload
Guidelines on workload management currently exist.
• Reduce paper publications and introduce electronic payslips
We are consulting on this option and staff opinion is split. We would need to continue to produce paper copies for those staff without ready access to computers and will investigate this further when we update our core electronic systems and payroll.
• Cut back PTHP and agency staff, and introduce an in-house team for filling short term gaps
The numbers of PTHP staff and agency staff used have been reduced. Operating an in-house team would be more expensive than using agency staff as we would need to pay rates as paid to permanent staff and set up administrative systems. We would also accrue potential liabilities as the staff would then be employed by the University directly, rather than the agency.
• Reduce staff costs by moving all staff to 80% contracts, reducing holiday entitlement, and implementing an across the board pay cut
We are part of national bargaining and to implement such changes would mean leaving the national structure. Terms and conditions are set by collective agreements and to implement change without the consent of the trade unions would mean that changes had to be negotiated with each individual member of staff. Under employment law such radical changes to individual contracts cannot be simply imposed
• Close the University one day a week
Again, this would be a substantial change to staff’s terms and conditions, please see above.
• Restructure the University Schools and Services
Deans and Directors have been asked to look at everything they do to ensure we are working as efficiently and effectively as possible. If this means re-organising things then that will be done (for example we have developed a new service for international students by relocating staff from various departments).
• Introduce car parking charges
This has been done.
• Integrate IT systems to remove duplication
This is being looked at this year.
Deans and Directors have been charged with reducing costs in their areas and the suggestions below have been circulated to them help them with their plans.
- Save paper by; not printing meeting papers, having electronic submission of assessments and return of marks, setting printers to double sided printing, stopping printing staff development books, not giving students handouts and encouraging use of Blackboard.
- Save energy by banning use of private electrical equipment in offices, training more staff in TREND system, isolating and marking all water valves, using only network printers.
- Save on procurement of mobile phones
- Cease internal hospitality for meetings
- Interview by Skype
- Placement visits by Skype
- Cut back on travel and subsistence, and on hospitality at meetings
- Suggestion that external examiner meetings should be conducted on-line
- Work in partnership with external agencies to cut costs
- Work harder to cut heating and lighting bills by turning down thermostats, reducing heating at weekends and turning off lights
- Stop end of year spend on gadgets and IT
- Do all evening and weekend teaching in one building to save utility/security spend
- Consider bulk purchasing in a consortium
- Use lease cars instead of hiring
- Replace PCs on a 4 yearly rather than a 3 yearly cycle
- Cut non-pay spend in Schools by 10% through better procurement
- Look to outsource activities to drive down costs
- Reducing administration and bureaucracy
- Ensure all letters are sent second class by default
- Create an innovation fund to take forward money saving ideas
• Recycle furniture and IT equipment and develop commercial recycling
Estates and procurement are setting up a register of reusable furniture.
3. Improving marketing and the student experience (52 responses)
• Improve web search optimisation
• Develop social media for marketing to students
Work is already underway in both these areas (social media activity happens via iHud, Facebook and Twitter – you can keep up to date through the social media pages on the website).
• Use careers information more in marketing
We’ve made great progress with this in the last year, and are doing this far more – which has meant we are ready for the new Key Information Sets (KIS) that the government is introducing which will give students information on graduate employment.
• Try to recruit from Greenhead and New College
• Set up a Schools Liaison function which builds relationships with Schools and Head Teachers
We have a team of staff centrally who do this, and work with colleagues in each School to offer visits to the university, and visits into schools and colleges by our staff. They also organise the open days that we hold.
• Use Sir Patrick Stewart in marketing
We use Sir Patrick’s support wherever possible, and keep him up to date with what is going on so he can make informed comments. For example, last July he travelled to China with the VC to help our international recruitment. We also play a message from him at Open Days.
• Change the University name
We looked at this as part of the re-positioning project, and we couldn’t establish any benefit from changing. It would mean we lose the reputation and recognition that is beginning to build now – and we need to continue to build this very proactively. We are now using the name more creatively to establish greater recognition for it (please see the website for examples of this).
• Look at how we market student accommodation
We work very closely with Digs to do this, and have made several improvements this summer.
• Establish a one stop shop for students
• Run summer schools
• Open late for students
• Set up a cultural/arts centre for students
• Provide more pastoral support for students including better careers advice
• Design our support services around the needs of students
• Allow students to pay on 10-12 month direct debits
These issues are all being factored into the planning for the new Learning and Leisure Centre.
• Speed up response to applicants
The recent review of admissions processes has meant that we now make offers much more quickly than before. We will continue to monitor this area.
• Set up a recruitment agency to help students find jobs
The university’s Job Shop does this, for current students and for graduates.
• Sponsor local junior sports clubs
The University does not have any sponsorship agreements now, and we’re not planning to introduce any – we’re focussing on web based activity supported by social media campaigns for promotion.
• Run more open days including open days for industry
We have introduced an extra open day in October (ran for the first time last year) and the research and enterprise office have open days for industry during the research festival each year. Open Day numbers rose by 30% this June.
• Do market research before putting on new courses
We’ve introduced a new procedure where anyone submitting an idea for a new course has to demonstrate that a market exists for it, showing their research, and also that the new course will have a positive impact on our funding position.
• Accredit industry software qualifications for students
The University validates its own qualifications but also seeks accreditation from relevant professional and industry bodies. It is sometimes appropriate to offer software qualifications (eg UCB is able to offer discounted Pro Tools qualifications to students) but in general this is better aligned to FE provision and offered through a partner.
• Put lectures on the web to allow staff more time to spend in smaller group work
Many areas are already developing resources through the VLE which allow students to access ‘lecture’ material flexibly. Unitube allows video and multimedia objects to be presented. Many colleagues are already benefitting from the Epigeum development package in elearning. It is also important to recognise student views on the importance of face-to-face teaching and to ensure a proper balance is maintained.
• Do research on non completers to understand reasons for leaving
We evaluate all courses annually, and this requires a commentary on retention rates. This has helped us to understand, for example, the implications of support arrangements, course structures and regulations, and communication mechanisms, in ensuring good retention.
• Open staff development sessions to students
Although the prime function of Staff development group is to develop staff colleagues, some events are open, and some of them are specifically targeted at students (eg Teaching Assistant Preparation Programme); if the implication is that students should be charged for attendance as an income generator, this might be positively damaging in cases where students are already expected to be part of the audience, and not the right message to communicate to our students in any other cases. Some elements to the SDG are by their nature inappropriate for students.
• Run enrichment courses for students
We are working with the Studens’t Union to provide a wider range of activities, particularly through clubs and societies to cater for student interests.
• Put a clock on St Paul’s
This is not a high priority at the moment.
• Offer cheaper fees to the children of staff
This is an interesting thought and we will look at it as the fee market starts to mature.
4. International Recruitment (8 responses)
• Have January intakes for all programmes
Schools have been asked to look at this for all possible programmes.
• Recruit in the US
A project to begin this is now underway – focussing on a new combined studies programme developed by Music, Humanities and Media and the Business School.
• Open overseas offices
Offices have now been opened in China and Nigeria
• Do market research
We carry out research, and use research from the British Council to inform our plans for international recruitment.
• Employ an IT skills tutor
Schools have IT skills tutors who are available to offer support to home and international students.
5. Oldham and Barnsley (8 responses)
• Build student accommodation
We have made arrangements to offer accommodation at both campuses
• Raise grades to the same level as Queensgate
This has been done.
• Charge the same fees as at Queensgate in 2012
This has been done.
• Deliver only FE programmes so we compete directly with the FE Colleges
This is not a market the University wishes to enter. Our cost base is very different to that of an FE college and this isn’t a market we can compete in.
• Offer specialist HE provision that we don’t have at Queensgate
This has been done at Barnsley for the Music courses which are proving very popular. Deans are looking at which courses are offered at the campuses as part of their future planning.