Why must we completely spend our budget each year?

QUESTION:
Why is there an impetus at the end of the budget year to spend the remainder of any such budget? Why can’t budget holders just give back, or get the difference added to next year’s budget, or get a bonus on next year’s budget for coming in under budget? Perhaps the way in which we spend budgetary money should come under a review?

 

ANSWER:
Departments should manage their expenditure in accordance with operational needs and budgetary constraints. This is monitored through the monthly finance returns and also quarterly business reviews.
They are expected to surrender budgets where they are surplus to needs and make a case for expenditure in excess of budget where necessary. Savings can then be used to fund additional expenditure where justified.
Ultimately, we all have a responsibility to generate income and manage our costs to create sufficient surpluses to enable the University to invest for the future.

*This is a question that unfortunately we did not have time for during the last Executive Question Time Event.

What are Exec’s plans for part-time study?

Question:

What are the plans for part-time study? Does Executive expect part-time study will recruit students who are either maybe put off by full-time fees, or who want to study while working?

Answer:

Re part-time study, we expect the market to drive the offer. In particular, we are considering whether PT UG Programmes, offered over three years, will be popular in the future.  We would be interested to hear staff and student views on this subject.

Will joint awards be looked at individually?

Question:

Taking up the point about looking at combined honours and concentrating on what we are good at, in journalism we have many combined honours students who are very successful and who bring a diversity and new ideas that also inform the core single honours course. I would like reassurance that each joint honours award would be looked at individually rather than a decision being made in general to cut these courses.

Answer:

When we are making our decisions about  the programme portfolio going forward, we will be considering a range of factors in relation to all the programmes. These include application rates,  different quality  measures, financial viability and other fields.

Then we will be asking academic staff to compete information  on how the 3 Es are delivered within programmes, whether elearning is a factor, what the competition is like, the strategic value of programmes and a range of other considerations. 

Once all the information is gathered, we will revue the data together and make decisions about how we shape the portfolio going forward.

In this way there is the opportunity for any individual Award to be considered in its own right.
That said, We do need to simplify our offer with less titles overall. The number of options  available on any programme has to be dependant on the number of students. We need to work towards a situation where ideally all modules have an optimum number of 20 students studying in seminar and lab based groups.

Did Exec know what they were to be asked at EQT?

Question:

I really enjoyed the recent Executive Question Time event but have to wonder whether or not the panel knew which questions they were going to be asked beforehand?

Answer:

All questions were supplied by members of staff, either before the event anonymously or during  via a live email feed.  All of the questions used at the event were selected by Communications Manager Judy O’Brien and Senior Lecturer Gary Hudson, who worked together to choose some questions in advance in order to structure the event.

The Executive panel were not part of this process and did not know what any of the questions were going to be ahead of the event.  This was a bold next step in our two-way communications with staff and a brave experiment which seems to have gone very well!

The stream can still be found at the following location:
 
mms://crwnstream1.staffs.ac.uk/execquestiontime
 
Please can staff be aware that they may be prompted to enter log on details before they can view the stream – please use your normal PC log in username/password (username in the format ‘staff\abc1’) to do this.

Please note that any questions that were not used during the event will now be placed on this channel over the coming weeks and in the meantime we welcome any feedback or suggestions for the next Executive Question Time.

Will Awards Week move away from Trentham Gardens?

Question:

I’m very much looking forward to graduation this year at Trentham Gardens, especially  this year, (subject to the award board)  I will be collecting my Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS) award. 

Do the executive team have any plans to move future graduation ceremonies away from Trentham Gardens?

Answer:

This year will be the first Graduation Week that our new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Gunn, has attended since taking up his post. Naturally, Michael will want to see how Trentham Gardens works out for himself before considering any changes for the future.

Obviously the University has to be mindful of how its uses its resources and the Awards Planning Team constantly strive to ensure best value for money. For instance we retendered for the marquees this year and made a considerable saving on previous years.

We will keep you updated of any changes down the line, thank you.