Over-recruitment of students – Senior Management Group’s Response

The SRC are pleased to share with University of Glasgow students how university Senior Management will address this issue

Following our letter to the Senior Management Group on 6th November in which the SRC Executive raised concerns around the extra 1200 students at the university and the impact this could have on current and future students, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal of the University of Glasgow, has responded to this letter on behalf of the Senior Management Group.

The full letter is reproduced below and is also available as a PDF: Principal’s Response to Senior Management Group Letter

Dear Kate, Hannah-May, Lauren and Pritasha

Many thanks for your open letter of 6 November 2017 to the Senior Management Group.

We fully appreciate the impact of the growth in student numbers in the present academic year. The SMG has discussed this issue in detail in recent weeks, with close involvement from the Colleges and relevant University Services. We are, of course, determined to maintain and improve the University’s high standing in satisfaction surveys and league tables but our overriding concern is to ensure that students across all programmes of study have a high quality experience, both inside and outside the classroom.

To this end, and in response to the specific points raised in your letter, we will:

  • Invest an additional £200,000 in this and subsequent academic years in Counselling and Psychological Services (CaPS). As you know, we have also published jointly with the SRC a comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan covering staff as well as students; we have indicated that we will make more resources available to support its implementation if required. Similarly, if required we will provide additional resources to Disability Services.
  • Make up to £2m available immediately to convert and refurbish teaching and study space across the campus to accommodate the increased number of students. This is new funding and is in addition to the longer term plans to provide new teaching and learning space in the new building on University Avenue and, subsequently, on the former Western Infirmary site.
  • Test the market for 24-hour opening of the University Library during the December exam period. If demand is deemed to be high, we are prepared to fund 24-hour opening on a year-round basis.
  • As a matter of priority, increase the number of teaching areas that are equipped with digital recording technology until all lecture theatres offer this facility.
  • Increase the complement of academic staff in areas that are experiencing growth to ensure that all students receive high-quality teaching and supervision without overloading existing members of staff.
  • Carefully design the examination timetable to ensure that it does not place undue stress on any individual student and road test this at draft stage with you and other students.

In collaboration with the SRC, we will also encourage as many students as possible to complete the Welcome Survey, so that we obtain sound feedback on the experience of new students.

More generally, we are keen to enhance the student experience in the round and ensure that the student voice is heard loud and clear as we make decisions about the University’s future. Following the discussions you led at the University Court away-day, we will bring forward proposals for a high level Student Experience Committee which will report directly to the University Court as well as to Senate. This committee will be co-chaired by the SRC President and the Chief Operating Officer & University Secretary. As well as taking an overview of student life on campus, it wilt identify practical improvements we can make on an ongoing basis and oversee their implementation. Its existence will also help to ensure that student affairs are given due prominence at meetings of Court.

Once again, I am grateful to you for writing to the Senior Management Group and arguing the case for action on behalf of students. There will be further opportunities to consider the allocation of funds in the forthcoming budget round but in the meantime, I hope that you find this response reassuring. I appreciate that you and your fellow sabbatical officers are in close contact with the Vice Principal for Academic & Educational Innovation, the Chief Operating Officer and other senior officers. However, if at any time you feel a conversation with me would be helpful, please do not hesitate to get in touch.