Planning for the next academic year

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The Adaptation and Renewal Team (ART) was formed early in 2020 to shape the University’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. As thoughts turn to September and the 2021/22 academic year ahead Barry Neilson, Director of Strategic Change, explains how the University’s approach will develop.

In December 2020 the University Executive approved a recommendation to stand down the Adaptation and Renewal Team. This is not because we think the response to the pandemic is over but to revert key decision making to existing established mechanisms.

The final meeting of ART took place on 25 March and I would like to extend my thanks to all colleagues who supported this activity over the last year. You have helped shape our approach to dealing with some of the significant challenges we have faced over the last year, and which are influencing our planning for 2021/22.

The work has not finished. We will maintain a planning and operation group to consider the changes and anticipated changes in Scottish Government guidance and in particular how that impacts our operations now and into the next academic year.

Planning group

The AY21/22 Planning Group has been established and will meet on a regular basis to develop and support the roll out and implementation of future changes. The group reports to the University Executive, has representatives from across the University and covers the areas:

  • Student Recruitment & Admissions
  • Learning, teaching and student experience
  • Student behaviour, student support and sense of belonging
  • Digital, library and study spaces
  • Estates and accommodation
  • Testing, vaccination, Covid-19 controls, Government and incident planning
  • Staff engagement, on-campus and working from home

Further details about the working structure, leads and milestones for these activities will be available in due course.

Next year

The development of our operational planning assumptions and the implementation for the next academic year includes modelling around physical distancing requirements and the impact that this will have on our learning and teaching, timetabling, and social and study spaces. We also recognise the challenge of delivering learning outcomes in labs and specialist spaces.

We will continue to engage, as a sector, with the Scottish Government and are also consulting with Russell Group partners on their planned approaches.

We’ll be providing more information shortly, and will share with you as soon as it’s available.