Our core strategies - University of Bedfordshire

University of Bedfordshire
Strategic Plan 2012-17
Our Vision
The University of Bedfordshire’s aim is to provide transformational opportunity
through access to an excellent educational experience.
Our Mission
We create a vibrant multi-cultural learning community enabling people to transform
their lives by participating in excellent, innovative education, scholarship and
Our Values
In fulfilling our mission we are guided by these values:
Access - We strive to realise the aspirations and achievements of a diverse
student population whose ambitions we share and support.
Scholarship - Our subject and practice leadership informs our research, our
teaching and our continuous development as a community.
Partnership - We value partnership and collaboration as essential in
meeting contemporary challenges, in providing access to learning, and in
delivering an excellent student experience.
Innovation – Our contribution to the sustainable development of
communities, organisations and society is built on our ability to innovate
through research, enterprise and our own practice.
Respect - We are consistent in demonstrating respect and value for the
contributions made by all within our community, and we support and celebrate
their success.
Employability - We are ambitious for our graduates, and we support their
access to rewarding careers through our curriculum, our teaching practice,
and our professional and industrial engagement.
Our progress and achievements
The University of Bedfordshire’s first Strategic Plan was developed and launched in
2007. At that time, the newly-merged University had a UK student population of
16,000 and an annual turnover of £81m. Through the effective delivery and
governance of the 2007-12 strategy, it now has a population of more than 24,000
students and an annual turnover of £124m.
An award-winning university, with an expanding portfolio and a growing institutional
profile, the University of Bedfordshire has already developed an impressive
reputation for:
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High-quality teaching, supported by the Quality Assurance Agency’s most
recent audits of the University and its partner provision;
International recruitment, winning the prestigious Queen’s Award for
Enterprise (International Trade) in 2011;
Excellent graduate employment rates, as evidenced by the Destinations of
Leavers in Higher Education report 2011;
Modern facilities, as a result of a £150m investment in enhancing the student
Strong student support, including among the most generous scholarships and
bursaries schemes in the country, according to the Office for Fair Access
World-leading research, as evidenced in the 2008 Research Assessment
A robust and developmental framework for managing and supporting our key
asset – our staff – reflected in our 2011 achievement of the Investors in
People gold standard.
The University is committed to supporting its local communities, and is proud of its
close relationships with highly-valued college and employer partners. It contributes
some £300m to the local economy every year, and its international reputation has
grown alongside an impressive record in attracting international students (from 2,000
in 2007 to 8,250 in 2011). It has been recognised by the Higher Education sector for
its international recruitment and its financial management.
As it enters a new strategic cycle, the University is confident that, in the challenging
future of UK higher education, the strengths for which it is recognised nationally and
internationally will help to achieve further growth and an even stronger reputation, to
secure its academic standing and its business success on a sustainable basis.
Our vision for 2017
The University of Bedfordshire’s aim is to provide transformational opportunity
through access to an excellent educational experience.
By 2017, we will be a University of choice in our geographical areas, as a result of
our success in providing an excellent experience for our students and staff.
We will continue to attract a diverse and ambitious student population to enrich a
learning community of 30,000 students. We will recognise and respect the
aspirations and requirements of our learners, whether young, mature, part- or fulltime, and whatever their cultural and educational backgrounds, and offer a highquality experience that responds to that diversity..
We will provide a curriculum which supports both academic and career success. Our
excellent educational experience will be delivered by staff who are motivated and
enabled to do so by continuous professional development and by systems which are
developed collaboratively.
Our reputation for high-quality teaching and applied research will achieve greater
recognition nationally and internationally, and we will continue to innovate for the
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benefit of communities and organisations. Operating through geographical hubs,
both in the UK and abroad, we will support the surrounding regions with teaching,
applied research and enterprise activity.
We will be rigorous and supportive in evaluating our progress, recognizing that our
success depends on the contributions of all, the continuous improvement of our skills
and our systems, and our willingness to support and celebrate the success of
colleagues, students, partners and clients. We will continue to innovate for the
benefit of our communities and to take advantage of emerging opportunitiethat
support our development and extend the reach of our mission. We will invest from
our £180 million turnover in facilities which provide an excellent physical and
technological environment that recognises our role as an exemplar of sustainable
To achieve our goals, we have identified the following strategic priorities:
(1) Our strong academic brand will reflect our standing as a leading modern
university for applied research and transformational education;
(2) Our students and our staff will aspire to, and achieve at, the highest levels;
(3) Our core capacity in applied research, innovation and enterprise will achieve
new levels of impact;
(4) We will build on our strengths in collaboration and partnership-working;
(5) Our sustainable business model will support our achievement of excellence.
Strategic priorities and key measures of success
(1) Our strong academic brand will reflect our standing as a leading
modern university for applied research and transformational
Our objectives
To lead the field in delivering a consistently excellent student experience
across a diverse and multi-location student population.
To maintain and grow our reputation for graduate employment, supported by
high levels of academic achievement and an excellent learning experience.
To increase our national and international profile in applied research that
impacts on policy and practice and develop new areas that meet
contemporary challenges.
To be recognised by organisations and other stakeholders within our regions
and communities as a provider of client-led enterprise and innovation.
To continue to offer a demand-led portfolio that is relevant to careers,
responsive to changing employer and applicant priorities, and recognised by
graduates and employers as meeting the needs of both.
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To be recognised nationally and internationally as the provider of a curriculum
fully and explicitly informed by staff expertise in research and enterprise.
To grow our reputation for top quality student achievement while maintaining
our access mission.
To have, in our staff, our alumni and our extended community, well-informed
and committed ambassadors of our success and our reputation.
Key measures of our success
Our market share and standing as an institution of first choice will identify us
as a market leader, achieving a 5% increase in applications each year.
Our students will identify us as providing a consistently excellent student
experience, and we will be positioned in the top quartile for student
satisfaction in both NSS and i-grad, with minimum scores of 85% satisfaction.
Our research, innovation and enterprise will achieve national profile for both
excellence and impact, with 10% of our REF unit submissions (2014)
achieving 4* grading, and 20% being identified as 3*.
The career success of our graduates will position us as a leading university
for graduate employability, and our graduate employability rate will rise to
Our staff and alumni will be informed ambassadors for our brand, with 12% of
graduates choosing to re-enrol with us, and staff pride in the University
reaching 90%.
(2) Our students and our staff will aspire to, and achieve at, the highest
Our objectives
To provide a consistently excellent student experience that supports our
students in achieving their personal best, through expert coaching and
responsive academic and personal support.
To nurture and support the ambitions of our graduates for rewarding careers
and immediate employment advantage, encouraging participation in
placements, internships and other career development opportunities.
To provide a framework for the development of enquiry, collaboration,
contextual understanding and enterprise as attributes essential for effective
contribution to the sustainable development of organisations, professions,
communities and societies in a global knowledge economy.
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To implement in partnership with UBSU a Student Charter that identifies
expectations of ourselves and our students, in maintaining a professional and
supportive context for the achievement of personal goals and ambitions.
To innovate in our programmes and modes of study, extending access to the
benefits of continuous personal and professional development through openlearning, flexible part-time study, and short courses.
To maintain our investment in world-class technology, resources and facilities
to support the student experience and our campus communities.
To support our staff in achieving their personal best to benefit colleagues,
students and to deliver the University’s mission and strategy.
To develop our academic staff as leaders in teaching, research, enterprise
and professional practice, so that the student experience is fully informed by
current knowledge and practice, and the engagement of staff in their
professional and academic fields.
Key measures of success
Our students will identify us (NSS) as a leading modern university for
teaching quality (90%), student advice and support (85%), and organization of
the student experience (80%).
At undergraduate level, two-thirds of our students will achieve the highest
degrees, and at postgraduate level a third will achieve the same, with
retention exceeding our sector benchmark and the number of non-continuing
students halved.
Our management and support of individual staff performance will be rigorous
and comprehensive (100% implementation) in identifying and developing
excellence as an expectation.
(3) Our core capacity in applied research, innovation and enterprise will
achieve new levels of impact
Our objectives
 To develop innovation and enterprise as core activities that inform our research
and teaching at individual, team and institutional levels.
 To increase our contribution of world-leading research in areas relevant to the
communities and economies we support.
 To generate new areas of interdisciplinary research expertise responsive to the
global challenges of social and demographic change, economic competition and
the sustainable development of organisations, communities and societies.
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 To establish a national reputation for technological, social and educational
innovation to enhance individual opportunity, social policy, business practice and
leadership capacity.
 To develop enterprise as a core attribute of our learning experience and graduate
achievement record.
 To embed our research and enterprise expertise directly and explicitly throughout
all curricula, as a clear indicator of the excellence of our provision.
 To identify a primary impact zone around identified UK and overseas hubs, and to
direct and organise our research, innovation and enterprise capacity to deliver a
client-led service to those areas.
 To include as an aspect of our hub-based impact the generation of microbusinesses and SMEs with growth potential, supported by formal development
and facilities.
Key measures of our success
90% of our core academic staff will be contributing actively and consistently to
research or enterprise activity, with our enterprise income per academic staff
member doubling.
Our enterprise income will show a five-fold increase.
All graduates will receive a report of their enterprise skills and achievements
as part of their achievement record.
The curriculum we deliver will be fully informed at all levels by research and
scholarship and the value of this will be identified clearly for our students and
(4) We will build on our strengths in collaboration and partnershipworking
Our objectives
 To implement a new model of partnership with our students, through UBSU and
student representatives across our partner institutions, so that our progress in
delivering an excellent student experience is consistently led and informed by the
priorities and needs of our students.
 To model creative partnership-working as the core characteristic of our delivery of
excellent service quality to internal and external customers and partners.
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 To prioritise in our management of team performance the skills and behaviours
that support our delivery of projects, initiatives and service quality across the
 To work with partners in defining a hub-based approach to identifying and
expanding the range and reach of our engagement with the regions we support
through teaching and enterprise.
 To formalise our collaboration with employers and professional bodies in the
delivery of a fully accredited curriculum.
 To monitor and review our partnership activity on a regular basis, so that its
contribution to our sustainable academic and business development is
 To maintain our role in providing health, education and other professionals
through a range of routes that maximise access to careers and the supply of a
diverse well-qualified workforce
 To embed collaboration within the student experience, providing all students with
opportunities to develop mentoring, coaching and volunteering expertise.
Key measures of success
We will be operating a well-defined hub-based strategy that will identify
priorities for action and for partnership, with major UK hubs in Luton, Bedford,
Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, and 8 key international hubs.
We will double our level of formal engagement (20,000 days per year) with
local employers and organisations across our campus- and partner-hubs.
100% of our courses will be recognised formally by professional bodies,
employer organisations and our partner employers as offering curricular
relevance and outstanding opportunity.
Our staff will identify team-working and cross-team collaboration as a strength
and a characteristic of their work (achieving a 70% score in staff survey),
such that they can identify their contribution to the continued success of the
University and its community.
(5) Our sustainable business model will support our achievement of
Our objectives
To grow our student population by diversifying our teaching activity to include
new courses and delivery modes that meet the needs of a broader range of
To enable diversification of income by making enterprise core to staff
recruitment, the planning of individual and team activity, and performance
management and reward.
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To maintain our success in generating surpluses through income growth and
prudent resourcing.
To ensure our staff fulfill their potential and meet the challenges of change
through coaching and development and robust performance management.
To sustain capital investment in infrastructure to maintain a high-quality estate
and technology provision.
To maintain efficient operations through collaboration and partnership and our
flexibility and openness to change.
To be an exemplar of effective institutional change management as we meet
the challenge of environmental sustainability.
Key measures of success
We will achieve £180 m turnover, with a minimum historical cost surplus of
10% or £15m, through activity and income diversification, including achieving
£8m per year income from TNE.
We will maintain our resource efficiency by combining staff costs of 50% of
income with continuous discretionary non-pay savings.
We will maintain our ability to meet new challenges by implementing a
requirement for continuous professional development to support performance
and performance management, supporting our achievement of objectives
through minimum CPD participation of 5 days per academic staff member and
3 days per support staff member.
We will deliver on the targets of our sustainable development strategy,
achieving 5090 tonnes CO2 emissions and an 80% recycling/reuse rate, and
be in the top-quartile of modern universities for space efficiency.
We will have invested £100m in strategic development of our campuses and
facilities, with net borrowing no more than 30% of net assets.
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Student numbers and income targets
Income and surplus targets
Enterprise, CPD & Consultancy
Other Income
Non Pay
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Our planning framework
To achieve our objectives and targets, we will grow our activity and develop
our capacity in six core areas:
 Student experience
 Learning experience
 Enterprise
 Regional engagement
 Global engagement
 Research
Our strategies in these core areas will be supported by enabling strategies that
identify how our strategic priorities will be supported:
 Organisational culture and development
 Estates and infrastructure management
 Internet and communication technologies
 Sustainable development
 Brand development and management
 Recruitment and business development
The objectives of our six core strategies are as follows:
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Our core strategies
Regional engagement
To engage with
communities and partners
to extend the reach of the
opportunities and support
we provide through hubs
in key geographical areas
Global engagement
Learning experience
Student experience
To support our students
to achieve the
knowledge and skills to
contribute to global
communities and
To deliver graduate
outcomes with the
potential to transform the
futures of our graduates
To guide and support
our students to develop
a confident
understanding of their
potential and prospects
To enhance the
profile and impact of
our achievements in
applied research
To extend and
strengthen our
reputation as a driver
of social and
To generate new
research impact,
responsive to local
and global
To become a
recognised source of
support for individual
and organisational
To work with partners in
the public and private
sectors, developing
innovative applications of
research and expertise for
social, cultural and
economic development
System and
To improve the
structures and
systems that support
our research activity
To build structures
and systems that
make enterprise a
core activity of our
learning community
To enhance our systems
for supporting timely and
relevant professional
development that meets
the demand of individual
and organisational clients
To grow our range of
thriving research
teams combining the
expertise of
established and
To grow our level of
enterprise income
commensurate with its
status as a core
To develop partnerships
that support sustainable
economic development
through our education and
To develop a reputation
for excellence in the
support of an
international student
community across our
campuses and hubs.
To extend access to
learning opportunities by
maximising the flexibility
of our provision
To develop models of
partnership that
recognise and support
the diverse ambitions
and requirements of
our student community
Regional engagement
Global engagement
Learning experience
Student experience
University of Bedfordshire Strategic Plan, final draft Feb 2012
To implement innovative
approaches to
supporting the
international experience
of our students
To support our
partnerships with
efficient systems and
structures supportive of
To apply creative
approaches shaping and
enhancing our
curriculum and our
teaching practice to
support diverse learner
To develop and
implement with complete
consistency a learning
experience supported by
high levels of staff
expertise and
To develop a vibrant
student community
through our innovation
in practice and
To improve our
systems for supporting
student achievement
and remove barriers to
their success
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