Undergraduate Admissions 2013

It’s once again the time of year that both Faculty and certain cross-cutting PVCs experience sleepless nights, as ‘admissions’ is upon us again. While we greet this period with a certain trepidation, at the same time there is a degree of excitement about it – I dropped by the Herschel building early last Thursday to see the admissions process in action, and the energy was literally oozing from the walls!

As many will know, NU received a ca. 16% increase in applications for undergraduate courses this year, and while this provided some confidence in a positive outcome for the admissions process, we were not counting our chickens. A reminder that the system changed again this year, such that universities are permitted to recruit as many students with ABB+ grades, compared with AAB+ last year. In concert,  the number of ‘core’ places (which are strictly controlled)  reduced from last year. Recruiting the permitted number of core students is a fine art, which carries penalties if we get it wrong. If we recruit substantially above our core quota then we risk financial penalties, whereas if we under-recruit then we risk being allocated a smaller quota in subsequent years.

So how did we do? In short, spectacularly well. SAgE has managed to recruit well in excess of its aspirational number of ABB+ students for the faculty as a whole, with some subjects having done extraordinarily well. The clearing process is formally not quite complete as I write, but ‘final’ figures will be available towards the end of the month. As in previous years, the final census date for student numbers is in December. Clearly, this is an outstanding outcome for both SAgE and the university, and I’d like to congratulate all those involved in the admissions process for their dedication and very hard work.

While on the the subject of good news, I can also reveal that NU has broken into the ‘top 50’ (46th) in the European rankings for EU FP7 funding. Again, an excellent result – congratulations to those academic staff who have contributed to this success, and many thanks to the EU funding team for their support.

So all in all it’s shaping up to be an outstandingly successful year. Is this an indication that our strategy is working? – you bet!


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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