University Improvement Groups update

Published: 27 October 2015

Three groups, charged with taking forward some of the key points raised in the new University Strategy were set up in the summer.

Three groups, charged with taking forward some of the key points raised in the new University Strategy were set up in the summer.

Colleagues from across campus, involving both academic and professional service staff have been considering what changes are needed and how these might be achieved to make Glasgow a place where staff, as well as students, have the best possible experience.

Campus E News will carry regular updates on the work of the Focus, Agility and Empowering People improvement groups, what the work they are doing will mean for all of us and how you might get involved.  

To set the scene we asked each to summarise their aims and objectives. 

Agility - chaired by Professor Frank Coton and Robert Fraser

‌‌‌‌‌Frank CotonThe University operating environment is arguably more dynamic now than in the past. Research funding and support mechanisms continually evolve and student recruitment and support needs are subject to increasing external change. 

At the same time, we are evolving what we do to support our strategic goals.  The future sustainability and success of the University will require us to operate effectively in this change environment, fully utilising the expertise of our staff in a responsive and agile manner.

‌Many of our current processes are inefficient and constrain rather than enable an agile approach.

Robert Fraser The Agility workstream aims to address this by understanding the key problems and redeveloping processes to be more agile and efficient.  In doing so, we want to develop processes that support and empower staff to contribute effectively to the future success of the University.

‌The Agility steering group is made up of staff from across the University and includes a project delivery team drawn from each of the Colleges and University Services.  

We are currently interrogating University processes and how these interact with each other but, later, we will be engaging widely to explore how we can change these to make things better for our staff and students. 


Focus - chaired by Ann Allen and Professor Neal Juster Frank Coton and Robert Fraser

Ann Allen, Director of Estates and BuildingsGlasgow is a proudly broad based institution. Across our four colleges, we have a presence in almost every field of academic inquiry, and staff and students alike benefit from working and studying within a rich interdisciplinary culture.

We believe that our breadth is a key dimension of our identity and success and one we wish to retain.

Resources are not infinite, so we recognise that developing world class teaching and research requires our Schools, Research Institutes and Services to focus their resources on supporting that ambition. 

Neal JusterThe Focus Improvement Group includes staff from across the Colleges and University Services.

It aims to facilitate these discussions by introducing an updated strategic planning and budgeting cycle for the University - a process that provides units with accurate and up to date. information about their performance and their opportunities for growth in teaching and research, and a process that explicitly connects performance to budgets and allocation of resources. 

The group is currently meeting with colleagues from other universities and organisations from outside the HE sector to gather best practice in planning and budgetary processes.

The group will present its finding and proposals for updating Glasgow's own model in the coming months.


Empowering People - chaired by Christine Barr and Professor Robby O Maolalaigh

‌‌Christine BarrThe Empowering People Improvement Group aims to define and deliver a number of key actions that will enable all staff to play an active role in delivering the University strategy.

The group will maintain strategic oversight of an improvement programme that will clarify the many positive aspects of the existing University culture that need to be built upon and also those aspects that will need to change.

‌The work of the Empowering People Improvement Group is closely connected with the work of the two other improvement work streams, Focus and Agility. Careful oversight and co-ordination of all three groups is undertaken by the Strategic Improvement Programme Steering Group.  All of this to ensure that the University can continue to be successful in a changing higher education world.

Roibeard O MaolalaighThe group is working collaboratively on the development and delivery of an action plan focused on empowering our staff so that they can experience a greater degree of ownership and influence as strategy is developed and implemented. To do this the group recognises that the University will have to truly engage with the whole workforce in fostering an inclusive culture with enabling leadership that balances stimulating work with a healthy lifestyle in working towards the fulfilment of our strategic vision, based upon the pursuit of excellence. 

The plan will detail the key actions required to build an organisational culture that nurtures collaborative leadership, optimises internal engagement and embeds a consistent approach to the management of improvement, innovation and change in which two way communication and high quality dialogue will be essential. 

The group will maintain strategic oversight of the resultant improvement activity through delegating activities to sub-groups, enlisting specialist project management and communications support (as appropriate), ensuring that robust reporting mechanisms are in place to monitor progress and measure success, communicating progress to staff on a regular basis. It will ultimately be accountable to the Strategic Improvement Programme Steering Group.

First published: 27 October 2015

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