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University Council

University Council Minutes 16 May 2023

Last updated: 26 July 2023

Minutes of the meeting held on 16 May 2023 at 9.15 am via Microsoft Teams.


In attendance:

Stewart Dove (for C.23.70), Student Registrar

Prof Sarah Jones, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Enhancement and Research)

Prof Jackie Labbe, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost

Jess Lawson (for C.23.69, Director (Planning)

Camille Stallard, Chief Financial Officer

Dr Matthew Andrews (Officer), Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Governance and Student Affairs)

Penny Gravestock (Minutes), Assistant Secretary to Council

C.23.58          Prayer

                     The Rt Revd Robert Springett opened the meeting with a prayer.

C.23.59          Welcome and Apologies

                     Received: apologies for absence from Stephen Maycock and for early departure from Steve Mawson.

C.23.60          Business of the Agenda

                     Noted: that there had been no requests to unstar any items on the agenda and that therefore papers C/33/23 to C/36/23 had been approved or noted as stated.

C.23.61          Declarations of Interest

                     Noted: that Staff Members with links to the Trades Unions would declare an interest for an item being raised under ‘Any Other Business’ regarding the recent votes of no confidence.

C.23.62          Minutes of the meeting held on 28 March 2023

                     Resolved: it was agreed that the minutes were an accurate record of the meeting held on 28 March 2023.

C.23.63          Matters Arising (C/26/23)

                     Received: details of the matters arising as outlined in the paper.

C.23.64          Chair’s Business

C.23.64.1       Received: a verbal report from the Chair on progress with the recruitment process for a new Vice-Chancellor, and updates from the Chair of the Council, Foundation and Chaplaincy Committee on key discussions at the meeting held on 26 April 2023.

C.23.64.2       Noted: that since the previous meeting, there had been no exercise of delegation nor any decisions made by circulation. There had been one use of the Company Seal: on 20 April 2023, the Building Contract for the City Campus between the University and Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure Ltd, signed by the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Governance and Student Affairs).

C.23.65          SU Update Report to Council (C/27/23)

C.23.65.1       Received: the Students’ Union (SU) update, highlighting:

  1. the recent awards;
  2. the review of the impact of the Advice Service;
  3. that some of the payroll savings made due to strike action had been given by the University to help support affected students;
  4. the SU’s response to Reset, including assessment of the Student Voice structures to ensure appropriate representation.

C.23.65.2       Considered:

  1. the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on student work and casework. It was noted that lecturers were helping students use AI properly, but highlighting the University’s policy regarding assessments and assignments;
  2. a suggestion to review the interplay between the independent advice service for students alongside the support available through Student Services as part of Project Reset. It was noted that the SU was already in discussions with the University about Reset communications for students which would make reference to advice services;
  3. steps being taken to support international students.

C.23.65.3       Resolved: Council:

  1. reviewed and responded to current work undertaken by the Students’ Union;
  2. offered suggestion and support for ongoing work throughout the year, with particular attention to Officer priority campaigns;
  3. noted the suggested actions to Council found throughout the paper.

C.23.66          CONFIDENTIAL: Vice-Chancellor’s Report (C/28/23)

C.23.66.1       Received: a paper updating Council on major developments affecting the University since the previous meeting, including:

  1. the Graduate Outcomes 2023 results;
  2. the Condition B3 Dashboard published by the Office for Students;
  3. confirmation that the City Campus building contract had been signed;
  4. the latest industrial relations situation.

C.23.66.2       Considered:

  1. the need to ensure more positive language was used when considering the Condition B3 data to better reflect the success of the University’s graduates in gaining employment or continuing into further study;
  2. the timeline for potential government policy developments, noting that it was unlikely for any major changes to be seen before 2027.

C.23.66.3       Noted: the developments set out in the paper.

C.23.67          CONFIDENTIAL: Finance Report: March Year-To-Date Results (C/29/23)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.23.68          CONFIDENTIAL: 2023/24 Draft Fee Income Budget (C/30/23)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.23.69          CONFIDENTIAL: Project Reset Update (C/31/23)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.23.70         Student Engagement 2022/23: Annual Report for University Council (C/32/23)

C.23.70.1       Received: a report that outlined the ways students engaged with the University that were not directly associated with their course programme or studies. The Student Registrar highlighted:

  1. support for students through the cost-of-living crisis, noting the work of the Students’ Union to lead that campaign;
  2. specific support requirements for growing numbers of international students, noting the work by staff across the University. It was reported that the Immigration and Compliance Team had been rebranded and incorporated into Student Services to become the International Student Services team with extra resource to provide more pastoral support;
  3. the development of sport;
  4. engagement and attendance tracking.

C.23.70.2       Considered:

  1. the inclusion of a bank running workshops at Welcome Week events to support students in money management;
  2. the effect of mental health issues on student engagement, and the University’s role alongside the NHS;
  3. formal monitoring requirements by the Office for Students around sexual harassment and misconduct;
  4. the increase seen in the international student cohort, noting the particular rise in postgraduate numbers and the associated housing issues and caring responsibilities;
  5. the need to ensure that international students felt part of the University community;
  6. processes in place to ensure that the international student experience was fed back to the appropriate places;
  7. that academic support was also important for the international student experience, and the work to help with issues such as developing academic skills;
  8. the challenge of providing additional resource at a time when the University was facing financial constraints;
  9. the outcome of the SUMS benchmarking report for areas of student support, noting some outliers where the University had specifically chosen to invest more heavily, and the duplication of services across the different sites;
  10. the impact of government policy changes on international recruitment across the sector.

C.23.70.3       Noted: the annual Student Engagement report for 2022/23.

C.23.71         Plans for Council Away Day 2023

                     Received: a verbal update from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Governance and Student Affairs), noting the decision to postpone the first day of Council’s away day in June 2023 with plans to canvass Council for alternative dates. It was confirmed that the Council meeting scheduled for 27 June 2023 would still be held and that there would be one further session, potentially looking at Project Reset.

C.23.72          CONFIDENTIAL: Draft Annual Report for Concordat Supporting Research Integrity* (C/33/23)

                     This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.23.73          Annual Sustainability Report 2021-22* (C/34/23)

                     Noted: Council reviewed the report, noted its contents and the improvement actions specified.

C.23.74          Annual Chaplaincy Report* (C/35/23)

                     Noted: Council received and noted the report.

C.23.75          Council Schedule of Business* (C/36/23)

                     Noted: the Schedule of Business.

C.23.76          Minutes from Council Committees*

                     Noted: that the minutes from the following meetings would be available from

  1. Finance and General Purposes Committee, 25 April 2023;
  2. Council, Foundation, and Chaplaincy Committee, 26 April 2023.

C.23.77          Any Other Business

C.23.77.1       Votes of No Confidence
This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.23.77.2       Noted: Council congratulated the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Enhancement and Research) on her recent inaugural lecture.

C.23.78          Date of Next Meeting

                     Noted: that the first day of Council’s away day had been postponed (C.23.71 refers) and that therefore the next meeting would now be held on Tuesday, 27 June 2023 at the Business School Building at Oxstalls Campus, Gloucester.

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