Consultation on the New Strategic Plan

2018 - 2021

Introduction from the Vice-Chancellor

Welcome and thank you for taking the time to participate in the consultation process.

As you will be aware, over the last few months I have been working with colleagues to review our performance against our “Beyond 2015” Strategy. There have been notable successes to report, including the achievement of TEF Gold, a significant growth in student numbers, the successful transfer of research responsibility into schools, more than doubling of knowledge exchange funding and increased regional engagement through the New Keele Deal, and investment of £84 million, including over £30 million of external funding, to enhance research and teaching facilities.

On the other hand there are some areas where less progress has been made. For example, we are only in the early stages of increasing our postgraduate population, with the exception of full-time UK PGT students, and our international student population has declined. In part this is due to the rapidly changing external environment, but we have not kept pace with the rest of the university sector.

The economic impacts of Brexit and the changing politics around the world, the review of post-18 education funding, upward cost pressures and current freezing of UK undergraduate fees, the position of key partners such as the NHS, the Government’s new Industrial Strategy, the formation of the Office for Students and UKRI, are all factors that will have a significant impact on us at Keele.

Alongside these challenges, there are significant opportunities for enhancing our position. In a challenging market we have grown our home undergraduate numbers very significantly and I believe we can go further. With further renewal of our programme portfolio, including online and hybrid provision, we can increase international and taught postgraduate numbers, and develop apprenticeships and other alternative forms of provision. We can build on our research successes and grow research income, and we can further develop our relationships with this region to ensure we benefit from the Government’s industrial strategy. If we can exploit these opportunities then we will be in a strong position.

The consultation is your opportunity to let us know your thoughts on what our ambitions should be and what we need to do in order to achieve them.

I have identified the following five key areas which I hope you will find useful in providing a framework for your response: Purpose, People, Place, Performance and Partnership. These will form the basis of questions on the online consultation questionnaire.

We will need to benchmark what we do, develop processes to allow us to plan and deliver our ambitions and recognise that we need to do some new things but will also need to do some of our current activities differently. It will therefore be helpful to also keep the following in mind when considering your responses:

  • What do we keep?
  • What do we stop?
  • What do we need to do that’s new?

Feedback from the consultation events and the wider consultation process will be gathered and considered over the summer as the new strategic plan is developed, including consultation with Council and Senate at the joint Council-Senate meeting on 12th September. The intention is that the new strategic plan will be submitted to Senate and Council for approval in October and November respectively.

Thank you for engaging with this process.