Keele University Strategic Plan

In February 2015 the University Council approved the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, which had been developed over the previous year following consultations with staff, students, the senior management team, and members of Council.

As we look ahead to 2020 our key priorities are well-established and well-understood by our community and stakeholder groups, who have assisted us in preparing our next Strategic Plan. Our strategic course set in 2010 remains at the heart of the strategy. Building upon our successes since that time, Keele beyond 2015 will be a University characterised by ‘aspiration and ambition’ – an aspirational destination for students and staff, and ambitious and aspirational in itself.

Keele Vision

We will be a leading campus-based university that stands out due to our unique community, our world leading research and our broad-based education that produces graduates who have a genuine positive impact across the globe. Our research will be transformational in higher education and across society more broadly and we will be internationally recognised for our professionalism, collegiality and environmental sustainability.

Keele Mission

We are committed to making a difference in society by providing innovative, high-quality education for students from all backgrounds and by undertaking world-leading research that transforms understanding and brings benefit to society, communities and individuals.

Keele Values 

Observing Keele’s founding ethos of ‘the pursuit of truth in the company of friends’, the University is committed to:

  • The transformative capacity of education for individuals, communities and society;
  • Equality of educational opportunity;
  • Advancing knowledge through independent research and academic enquiry;
  • Environmental sustainability for the sake of future generations;
  • Delivering exceptional service and experience in all its activities;
  • Valuing the rights, responsibilities, dignity, health and well-being of individuals through its commitment to equality and diversity;
  • Valuing probity and integrity in all its activities;
  • Exemplifying the highest standards of leadership and governance in the Higher Education sector.

Strategic Aims

AIM 1:  To continue building Keele as a broad-based research-led University of about 13000 students recognised internationally for excellence in education, research and enterprise

Maintain a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary and sustainable portfolio
   ● Continuously enhance programmes across sciences, social sciences,    humanities and health
   ● Maintain a strong and focused portfolio combining contemporary    academic disciplines in a creative and integrated way
   ● Develop high-quality consortial degrees to provide students with    academically-challenging interdisciplinary learning opportunities
Support and develop our staff in a culture of innovation in education and research through:
   ● Innovation in research-led teaching and learning
   ● Establishing international reputations in research
   ● Personal and career development
Grow overall student numbers
   ● Increase numbers on programmes that can attract high-quality    students
   ● Develop new disciplinary areas
Increase the proportion of postgraduate students
   ● Increase postgraduate taught provision through new programmes,    integrated Masters and flexible credit accumulation
   ● Increase provision of Continuing Professional Development
   ● Grow postgraduate research numbers across the whole university
Grow and diversify our international student base
   ● Develop strong institutional partnerships in targeted geographical    hubs
   ● Increase the number of high-quality international students on the    Keele campus from a targeted but broader range of countries
Admit outstanding students from all backgrounds
   ● Increase the standard of qualifications needed to come to Keele
   ● Increase the number of applicants putting Keele as their first choice
   ● Support students from all backgrounds who would benefit from a    Keele education
Increase the number of students taught abroad
   ● Deliver first-rate programmes overseas through strong and    sustainable partnerships
   ● Broaden our blended learning approach to support overseas    students


Transformation Projects

• Refine the portfolio, curriculum and delivery of taught programmes at all levels to further promote enhanced academic attainment and graduate employability

• Establish a regional hub in South-East Asia for both teaching and research

• Invest in new state-of-the-art facilities to support research and education 

AIM 2:  Through the Distinctive Keele Curriculum provide outstanding discipline-based education and a unique portfolio of personal development opportunities in the context of a sector-leading student experience

Produce students who will have a positive impact in their communities and are highly employable

   ● Increase opportunities for external academic, community-based or    work-based experience
   ● Further support the development of transferable and employability    skills
   ● Increase our high-quality career, employment and employability skills    support
Provide multi-disciplinary opportunities and a personalised learning experience
   ● Ensure that we have a Strong and focused portfolio combining    contemporary academic disciplines in a creative and integrated way
   ● Refresh and focus student choice within our programmes.
   ● Expand opportunities for developing foreign language skills
Be innovative in delivery and approach
   ● Introduce appropriate technological developments
   ● Develop the estate to provide both specialist and generic flexible    learning and social spaces
   ● Ensure the Library is central to innovation in learning
Provide a highly supportive environment and experience for students on all programmes and from all backgrounds
   ● Recognise and provide for students’ diverse learning styles
   ● Support the development of learning skills, in particular to support    the transition into, and on from, university
   ● Continue to build on students’ engagement with global approaches    and issues.
Deliver Keele curricula overseas through strong high-quality partnerships
   ● Ensure that students taught abroad have access to the essence of    the Keele ethos and sense of community
Continue to deliver the highest quality student experience
   ● Provide excellent student accommodation both on- and off-campus
   ● Work in partnership with KeeleSU and the KPA to provide first-class    services and resources to all students, both on campus and studying or    living elsewhere
   ● Provide innovative and exceptional quality student support services


Transformation Projects

• Deliver state-of-the-art learning and teaching spaces on our campus

• Deliver an enhanced student community through a reconfiguration of the student accommodation offer and other services.

• Develop physical and technological resources to establish a student networked community both on-campus and in partner locations to enhance the learning and student experience

AIM 3:  To deliver international excellence and impact in focused areas of research.

Be a centre of world-leading excellence in focused research areas and have an international profile in all disciplines
   ● Encourage multi-disciplinary approaches, in part through the    establishment of a small number of University Research Centres
   ● Focus our use of resources to support areas of research strength
Provide a supportive environment for all research active staff
   ● Have a well-founded research support system in Faculties and    Professional Services for emergent and established researchers
   ● Have a strong physical research infrastructure
   ● Provide top-class IT support for research
Enlarge our Postgraduate research community
   ● Support international recruitment of postgraduate research students
   ● Increase our participation in Doctoral Training Centres
   ● Allocate appropriate internal funds to leverage external support and    maximise recruitment of Postgraduate research students
Maximise impact and realise social, economic, health, environmental and cultural benefits of the research we do
   ● Maximise the external visibility and usefulness of the research we do,    for example through a widely used institutional research repository
   ● Underpin regional regeneration through research and knowledge    exchange, and through using the campus as a demonstrator of    innovative practice and technologies
   ● Engage with the public to enhance the understanding of the research    we do.
Build key research partnerships
   ● Develop and support key research partnerships within academia and    beyond
   ● Be recognised as a reliable and high-quality collaborator
   ● Develop a small number of institutional-level research partnerships    where mutual strengths align and complement each other
Appoint, develop and retain outstanding researchers
   ● Provide sector-leading mentoring and support for early career    researchers
   ● Ensure staff appointed have a research profile that will align with,    and enhance, existing research strengths and the University research    strategy
Be a top quartile research university in REF 2020
   ● Encourage and support the production of outputs of world-leading    quality
   ● Develop and measure the impact of the research we do
   ● Appoint and retain high-quality researchers


Transformation Projects

• Establish University Research Centres in Environmental Sustainability, Ageing and Community Animation

• Develop a physical focus to promote Keele’s research and enrich and stimulate the research environment for students

• To establish a sustainable and strong research portfolio in secondary care with our NHS partners

AIM 4:  To contribute positively to the society, economy, culture, health and well-being of the communities we serve

Develop partnerships with business and industry
   ● Offer multi-dimensional relationships with identified individual    organisations
   ● Create and manage activity-focused clusters of collaborators
   ● Develop undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in which    students work on projects with business and industry
   ● Maximise the policy impact of our research through relationships    with business, government and Non-Government Organisations    (NGOs)
Collaborate with local communities, enterprise and the Third Sector
   ● Be the centre of an extensive network of Small and Medium    Enterprises (SMEs) with which we will work on research or training
   ● Be a leader in our delivery of student volunteering opportunities
   ● Be at the centre of networks in the NHS, creative industries and    social enterprise
   ● Enhance our arts and cultural programmes
Develop the University as an integrated innovation campus
   ● Provide high-quality co-location spaces on campus and on the    Science & Innovation Park
   ● Maximise the beneficial interfaces between our academic community    and the businesses on our campus
Increase the number of people who come onto campus for Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
   ● Deliver bespoke training for organisations in the public and private    sectors where our expertise allows
   ● Provide executive education in the UK and beyond
Provide a supportive environment for Knowledge Exchange
   ● Take a positive approach to IP exploitation that is robust and    entrepreneurial
   ● Undertake dynamic partner relationship management and provide    interdisciplinary solutions to identified business needs
   ● Ensure that there are clear entry routes into the University for    potential partners
Actively promote the involvement of students and graduates with our collaborations and relationships, in part through collaboration with the Students’ Unions
   ● Further develop volunteering initiatives involving our students and    staff
   ● Provide opportunities for our students to acquire business skills and    develop an entrepreneurial approach
   ● Further increase opportunities for students to gain work experience    and for graduates to secure internships leading to increased graduate    employment
   ● Engage our alumni in supporting current students and providing    links for research collaborations


Transformation Projects

• Develop our integrated Science and Innovation Campus to underpin our research and knowledge exchange programmes; increase graduate employment and support regional regeneration

• Develop a coherent and integrated Continuing Professional Development portfolio, building on regional and national priorities and Keele’s academic strengths

• To establish Keele as a national exemplar in the role of a research-led university as an anchor in the regional economy supporting its regeneration

AIM 5:  To promote environmental sustainability in all that we do

Continue to improve the environmental sustainability of the University through campus developments, carbon reduction and the impact of University operations
   ● Ensure maximum energy efficiency in our buildings and modes of    transport
   ● Reduce waste production and increase our level of recycling
   ● Use renewable and low carbon sources of energy when possible
Have world-leading research in environmental sustainability
   ● Develop our research profile through a University Research Centre in    Environmental Sustainability
   ● Encourage postgraduate studentships in relevant areas of research
Educate our students on environmental issues and provide opportunities for them to put strategies into practice
   ● Provide opportunities for all our students to learn about    environmental sustainability and support University initiatives in this    area
   ● In partnership with the Keele Students’ Unions, co-ordinate student    activities that articulate, demonstrate and implement strategies    around sustainability
Provide leadership in application and implementation of environmental sustainability
   ● Use the Keele campus as a demonstrator site for approaches to    energy efficiency
   ● Be sector-leading in providing education and training in    environmental sustainability for external organisations and    communities
   ● Utilise our Sustainability Hub to reach out to external communities
Be sector-leading in environmental education and engagement with business, external organisations and communities
   ● Continue to embed environmental sustainability throughout our    curriculum


Transformation Projects

• Promote a portfolio of environmental sustainability student projects and encourage postgraduate studentship through the University Research Centre in Environmental Sustainability.

• Develop a range of alternative energy sources utilised on site to reduce our carbon footprint and underpin research and education programmes associated with environmental sustainability

• Establish a Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) as a national demonstrator and focus for research on the dynamic management of energy resources around a complex residential and commercial site

AIM 6:  To transform how we work to ensure the University’s development is sustainable and delivers world-leading teaching and research

Maintain financial sustainability and build revenue reserves
   ● Increase income and generate increased levels of surpluses and cash    from operations for investment in the University’s infrastructure, in line    with a clear funding plan
   ● Target staffing investments in areas of growth, whilst managing staff    costs
   ● Strategically prioritise the programme of capital development funded    by both internal and external sources
   ● Continue to develop robust risk management processes
   ● Promote fundraising and deliver the Development Campaign
Provide staff and students with excellent, innovative and reliable information technology and resources
   ● Provide a cutting-edge, flexible, integrated and secure IT    infrastructure
   ● Develop valuable management information and tools for    communication and collaboration within the Keele staff community 
   ● Enhance the Library as a key teaching and research resource
   ● Support and deliver IT innovation in the use of technology for    teaching and research
   ● Use technology to promote the University on a global scale
Develop the estate to meet the future education, research, academic and social needs of the University in the medium and longer term
   ● Develop the Estates Master Plan relating to the future of the campus    and Keele’s contribution within its locality
   ● Develop flexible space that is future-proof and suitable for    alternative functions
   ● Ensure the appropriate stewardship of the natural and physical    resources of the Keele campus
Strengthen the University’s reputation and the Keele brand
   ● Continuously enhance the University’s marketing performance
   ● Mobilise alumni to support education, research and the student    experience
Further develop a collegial and creative working culture to promote success, efficient and effective services and a sense of inclusivity and shared ownership
   ● Continuously develop robust and streamlined business and    academic processes and agile decision-making mechanisms.
   ● Develop a full and effective operation of revised leadership routines    fully integrated into relevant promotion and succession planning    processes
   ● Develop an integrated approach to service planning and workforce    planning, incorporating a relevant and flexible approach to staff    recruitment and reward
   ● Develop effective and rewarding service and staffing structures,    realising opportunities for efficiencies, career development and    training
   ● Support the rights, responsibilities, dignity and health of our staff    and students through delivery of our Equality and Diversity Strategy
   ● Enhance our internal communications


Transformation Projects

• Continue to refine the delivery and development of professional services and related business processes to promote career development and a dynamic and innovative service to support the academic mission of the University

• Establish Keele as a fully-integrated innovative digital campus to ensure the University responds to the needs and expectations of staff and students

• Use the Keele Development Campaign to fund innovative estate developments in the key areas of Health and Wellbeing (including Sports), Science, the Arts and Community Engagement