Strategy into Action (update)

Next week the Faculty Executive Team will meet for a third away-day during this calendar year. The purpose of this meeting will be to take a look at our strategy and ask whether we are still on-track to deliver what is required. To help us, we will be making use of three important pieces of information that have appeared during the summer, namely (i) the outcome of our internal REF readiness exercise (‘IQA2’); (ii) the 2012 NSS results and (iii) the outcome of the undergraduate admissions process for 2012-13.

You might remember that back in January we defined a series of critical tasks (see here) that we believe need to be executed in order to deliver on our strategy. These are implicitly linked to REF, NSS and undergraduate admissions, as I have attempted to illustrate in the diagram below:

Each of the top three coloured boxes contains an abbreviated version of the critical tasks that we need to undertake, and these are of course all interlinked. In the red box, the tasks are designed to communicate to all staff what our overall vision is, how we plan to get there, and how each individual can play a part (which is in turn communicated through PDR). The tasks in the green box are aimed at ensuring that we achieve the best possible outcome in REF 2014 (amongst other things), whereas the tasks in the blue box will hopefully achieve an excellent student experience and thus a good score in NSS. These three sets of tasks combined will then hopefully impact on our league-table position and the content of the Key Information Set (KIS) that prospective undergraduates will have at their disposal when deciding whether to study at Newcastle. Thus, with action (rather than sitting back in the vain hope that our strategy will execute itself unaided!), we aim to improve our performance and reputation, which is in essence the major take home message of our Vision 2021.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But, in the short time since our first away-day in January, the external environment has changed considerably. Thus we need to ask whether the critical tasks are still relevant, and if so whether we are indeed undertaking them as planned, and whether we need to do anything else to deal with a changing environment or to accelerate our progress. As usual, it is unlikely that we will have all the answers – bright ideas welcome!

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About stevehomans

Professor Steve Homans is a structural biologist with an international reputation in the study of biomolecular interactions. He obtained his first degree and DPhil in Biochemistry at Oxford University, and secured his first academic position as Lecturer at the University of Dundee. In 1998 he received the Zeneca award from the Biochemical Society and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Prior to his current appointment he was Dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds. Professor Homans brings extensive expertise of academic leadership and management, with a particular emphasis on organisational change.
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