We have seen this transformation for over 180 years in our own University and continue to see it every day in our students, the partners we work with and in the communities we serve.
This strategic plan is all about transformation. At its core is our mission to provide transformational education and opportunities for our students.
The seismic events of the past few years have changed the way we think about life and learning. The next five years are likely to be a time of national and global challenge and change. We are living in a time of significant economic uncertainty; the realities of climate change; shifting political sands and a pervading sense of social unease and anxiety. Universities have a key role to play in responding to this with creativity and integrity and a responsibility to ensure that graduates are enthusiastic about their future and well-equipped to succeed.
Although the external environment may be in flux, our unwavering priority, as always, is the success of our students. This plan sets out a clear direction of travel for the University over the next few years, to enable us to navigate the external challenges ahead and to strengthen and develop the way in which we ensure that our students flourish and succeed.
In the next five years, we will grow the impact of the University’s transformational education by ensuring that graduates have the skills that they need to live successful and meaningful lives. This will include offering interesting and relevant courses to sustain their love of subject and to stretch them intellectually, whilst embedding the skills that they need to be successful in employment and beyond. The next five years will see the expansion of our professional education and postgraduate taught provision – responding to regional needs, working in partnership with employers – and an unwavering focus on quality.
To succeed in this endeavour, we need a clearly articulated focus to ensure that our courses, campus and culture can deliver the outstanding experience that we want for our students and achieve positive results for the regional economy and wider society.
The next few years will require us to refocus on delivering transformational education that sets our students up for success and responds purposefully to local needs.
Over the next five years, we will rebuild confidence in ourselves and our students as we emerge from the global pandemic. We will adapt to the new ways of working we encountered during that time, capturing the benefits of the flexibility that brought us, whilst recommitting to the fundamental importance of human connection, face to face teaching and student support and working alongside our colleagues.
This plan will also allow us to work with and for our students, supporting them to acquire the skills needed to thrive and succeed in the as yet unimagined jobs of the future.
This plan has been developed in partnership with staff, students and external partners. It encompasses and builds on everything that this institution has already achieved over the past 180 years. Our previous strategic plan had, as its primary focus, the important work that needed to be done to profile and progress the issues of sustainability and social justice. This work is now well and truly embedded in everything that we do and will continue to be an important part of our educational mission, woven into the detailed enabling strategies that will underpin this plan.
Above all, this plan is intended to give focus and clarity, anchoring the University community in a shared sense of purpose and direction. The core focus of this strategic plan is to be clear about what we need to do in order to provide a transformational education for our students – delivering an exceptional education, environment and experience for our students, instilling in them a love of learning and preparing them for meaningful and successful lives.
It will be underpinned by a clear map for growth for the University; to identify and develop new subject areas; build our profile across the UK and globally and embrace new ways of delivery and partnership working.
This is such an exciting moment for the University, as we stand on the firm foundations of our past to reach into a future which will allow us to transform more lives through education, transform the way we work together and transform the communities which we serve. I look forward to working together as a community with the shared determination to make it happen.
Professor Sarah Greer,
The core: Transformational Education
The core focus of this plan is to deliver an exceptional education, environment and experience for our students, instilling in them a love of learning and preparing them for meaningful and successful lives.
As a university, we have always been – and will always be – led and driven by our values. As the world around us changes, we have accepted the challenge to change with it and move forward with confidence. Our reimagined values reflect our past and speak to our future. As a community, we value:
It is shaped by our original mission – to educate, advance knowledge and serve the common good – and it is guided by our reimagined values. It focuses on the importance of people, place and partnerships in delivering our mission.
The love of learning
As individuals and as a community, we seek to discover new ideas, and understand new perspectives. We pursue both a depth and breadth of knowledge. We celebrate academic excellence and intellectual challenge. We seek to understand the perspectives of others and we welcome respectful debate, listening to views which may differ from our own with interest and defending our own with reason and humanity.
Individual and shared endeavour
As individuals and as a community, we seek to bring our best to our work and our study. We commit to striving to be successful, to do things well and play our part. We recognise that excellence only comes with effort and persistence. We are confident and believe in ourselves, collectively and individually. We are a welcoming, professional and respectful community. We see working together in partnership – in our own community and beyond it – as key to expanding our horizons and creating opportunities.
Making a difference
From our Church of England foundation in 1840, built upon deeply held principles of creating a better world for everyone through education, we continue to play our part to ensure lasting change in the communities we serve through transformational education, impactful research and enduring partnerships.
We make a difference by educating graduates who will create a better, fairer world with enthusiasm, energy and creativity. We make a difference undertaking and sharing research which will inform and enable lasting change. We make a difference to our world by committing to care for it and live in it sustainably. We make a difference to each other by behaving with humanity and respect, recognising that we each make a worthy contribution to a community which we value and of which we are all an important part.
Our strategy for transformation
We are recommitting to our original mission and core purpose: to educate, to advance knowledge and to serve the common good.
We will develop a Winchester student experience which is recognisable for its quality and consistency across the University. Every student should enjoy a dynamic and interesting active learning experience, underpinned by the unique characteristics and requirements of each subject discipline. We will enhance our reputation for teaching excellence by refining the balance of support and challenge to ensure that our students develop as independent learners. We will support timely and effective professional development for staff, to help them grow as reflective practitioners with a clear understanding of the educational gains that we expect our students to achieve and enjoy at each stage of their university journey.
We will map out for our students the possibilities and opportunities that higher education creates. We will provide them with a clearly articulated route through higher education, and into the world of work, developing their love of learning and supporting them in their career aspirations, whether in employment or self-employment. This will include a focused suite of high quality, flexibly delivered postgraduate taught courses, onto which our students can progress from their undergraduate study. Skills development, including the development of both subject specific and soft skills, will be embedded in every academic course. We will shape our approach to developing and delivering our courses to ensure that studentsare in the best possible place to go on to succeed in their chosen career, and live a life full of meaning and purpose.
We will work to develop the best of the digital environment to enrich our students’ opportunities to learn and build the digital capabilities and cognitive flexibility that will allow them to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing world. Our graduates will be ready for the evolution of the future workplace and able to seize opportunities presented by the changing economy, green jobs and digital advances. We will continually evolve the ways in which we engage with our students to build up a sense of learning as a shared endeavour. We will offer opportunities for our students to explore their subject interests and their interest in the wider world, as part of our approach to support and develop the ‘whole person’.
Working closely with employers, we will further develop our offering of professional education, to meet regional needs. This will include introducing new subject areas, as well as growing and investing in existing courses.
We will seek to grow and diversify our University community, offering opportunities for home students to explore other countries and cultures and increasing the opportunities for international students to work and study with us. We will build closer relationships with a small number of high-quality international institutions in order to grow our international profile and offering.
To Advance Knowledge
Building on the successful outcome of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, we will focus on developing and investing in existing areas of research excellence. Through an enhanced research infrastructure, a targeted staff recruitment strategy and streamlined process, we will ensure the submission of the highest possible research outputs and impact case studies to the next REF.
All of our research will underpin excellent teaching. Our research will inspire and inform our students at all levels, and will contribute to the University’s ‘whole person’ approach to higher education. Through our course approval process, we will ensure that our undergraduate and postgraduate students at every academic level have the opportunity to engage with current, relevant research and that we work with them to develop their own research skills to equip them for their future careers. We will further develop the Winchester Research Apprenticeship Placements programme, funding undergraduate students to work with academics on their research. We will increase doctoral student recruitment in areas of research strength and offer a small number of targeted doctoral scholarships in areas of research excellence. We will improve completion rates in all areas.
We will significantly grow our external research grant income, contract research and consultancy and CPD income, together with our innovation and consultancy work in order to broaden our impact in the community and ensure income diversification and financial sustainability.
Our research focus will support our development of professional education at the University, and where appropriate we will develop new areas of applied research, which will contribute to our mission to serve the common good.
To Serve the Common Good
We were founded in 1840 by the Church of England to change the world through education. Our foundation values and mission are still at the heart of who we are and what we do. We are in the top 100 universities in the world for reducing inequalities and we are proud to be a University of Sanctuary, providing educational opportunities for some of those students seeking refuge from war and conflict. We will continue to serve in this way, building philanthropic giving from alumni and others to support us in this important work and to help us grow it.
We believe that anybody with the ability to succeed with hard work and effort should be given the opportunity to benefit from higher education, and should not be held back by their circumstances. We will continue with our mission to change the world through education, because we know that it improves the lives of our students, their families and their wider communities.
At the University of Winchester we want to see our city and surrounding area grow and flourish. We will work closely with and for the community and our partners to support our collective vision for Winchester. We will make an ever-greater contribution as an anchor institution in the city to help meet the needs and aspirations of local communities and support economic growth. We will work with partners to support economic prosperity, grow graduates who meet workforce needs, and develop a vibrant and entrepreneurial business community and a flourishing cultural life.
We will work hard to ensure that the University of Winchester is a great place to study and work. Our community of students and staff will be diverse, inclusive and welcoming, recognising and valuing the contribution that every person makes to it.
We will continue to develop our ‘whole person’ approach to studying and working as part of the University community. We will build on the existing opportunities for students and staff to enjoy good physical and mental health, and to come together as a community, in activities such as recreational sport and creative classes, as well as opportunities to explore conscious and reflective living.
We will develop our students to become independent learners, compassionate and resilient, confident in themselves and what they have to offer the world. We will underpin this with the support that they may need at each stage of their university journey. We will reimagine our academic personal tutoring, to ensure that students, with hard work and effort, have the best possible opportunity to succeed.
We will attract and select research students with outstanding potential and will support them to succeed within a culture of intellectual challenge and inclusion. We will seek to grow our own excellent researchers by offering a small number of targeted doctoral scholarships in areas of strategic importance to the University.
We will deepen connections with our community of alumni, welcoming them back to the University to work with the next generation of University of Winchester students. We will develop further opportunities for them to give back, by mentoring current students and contributing to employability opportunities as well as philanthropic giving to support our widening participation mission and work as a University of Sanctuary.
We will review and modernise our approach to recruiting, appraising, rewarding and retaining outstanding staff. We will set ourselves high standards in every area of the University for delivering an excellent experience for our students. To support our core aim of transformational education, we will develop a comprehensive staff development offering, particularly around delivering and supporting sector-leading learning and teaching. We will also develop career pathways for both academic and professional services staff, to ensure there are opportunities for outstanding staff to grow and progress within the University of Winchester.
We will work to develop and support strong and effective teams across the University which communicate and work well together for the benefit of our students and staff.
In order to equip the University, our staff and our students for success over the next decade, we will need to focus on how we develop and invest in our campus and infrastructure. We remain committed to the principles of the green economy, defined by the UN as low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive, further embedding our commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, in the way that we work together as a University community.
Underpinned by this commitment, our formal and informal spaces will be reimagined to promote collaboration, support hybrid working and be accessible to all. We will create a sense of belonging across the campus and its spaces. We recognise the importance of place in transformational learning and in facilitating engagement and collaboration. Spaces and technology need to be able to support learning, changing and adapting to the needs of students, staff and visitors.
We will develop our spaces to encourage both action and reflection, enabling us to pause and find balance, recognising that the beauty and functionality of our campus contributes to the wellbeing of everybody who lives and works in it.
We will continue to make progress in the move to a digitally enabled transformation of our processes, practices and services. We will establish the digital infrastructure and teams needed to use data effectively in decision-making processes and to inform our future growth. We will review our infrastructure and systems to ensure that processes are more streamlined, and bureaucracy and burden are minimised. We will become more efficient and cost-effective in the way in which we work and where appropriate, we will continue to move to a sustainable way of hybrid working which supports the needs of students and staff.
We will forge new strategic partnerships with regional employers and educational institutions to develop a coordinated, collaborative and innovative approach to meeting the skills needs of the city and region.
By building strong partnerships with regional and national employers, we will develop a deep understanding of their skills requirements and workforce needs. We will develop our academic portfolio in response to this, including in ways which directly support employers, such as degree apprenticeships and flexible learning delivery.
We will build on our role as a major provider of professional education delivering teachers, nurses, social workers, and many other health and public services professionals. We will deliver outstanding graduates to meet the needs of the growing professional services sector in the region. We will develop opportunities for entrepreneurial growth and development by working with businesses across the region to support a vibrant and thriving business community.
We will establish a central-Winchester presence to provide expert support and advice from our academic and professional services staff for local employers, organisations and individuals. We will grow our work with the cultural sector and the public services, including health and education, enhancing the University’s cultural, social, and economic impact.
We will continue to develop our strong partnership working with our students and Student Union, creating more opportunities for collaborative working, co-creation and innovation. As we develop our areas of professional education, we will also grow our knowledge exchange and consultancy contribution to regional professional communities.
Delivering the Strategic Plan
This Strategic Plan will bring clarity and focus to our work. It will simplify how we operate as an organisation. With the overarching strategic direction set out in this plan, we will establish a suite of enabling strategies in each of the key areas of the University: education and the student experience; research and innovation; people; finance; and estates and digital. Each of these will have clear targets and success criteria to support the delivery of the aims and ambitions set out in this Strategic Plan.
Together, the Strategic Plan and these strategies will be underpinned by a detailed Operational Plan which will then be delivered by Faculties and Professional Services Departments. These supporting strategies and operational plans will be developed and agreed by the start of the 2023/24 Academic Year.
“This is such an exciting moment for the University, as we stand on the firm foundations of our past to reach into a future which will allow us to transform more lives through education. This strategy also enables us to transform the way we work together and transform the communities which we serve.”
Professor Sarah Greer, Vice Chancellor
To Advance Knowledge
To Serve the Common Good.