School of GeoSciences

Summary and Context

An overview of the management and structure of the School.

The School of GeoSciences is managed by the Head of School (HoS) who is appointed by the Head of College of Science and Engineering.

The College is one of three academic ‘planning units’ (the other two being the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine). The University structure has three Support Groups – the University Secretary’s Group, Corporate Services, and Information Services.

The College of Science and Engineering has seven Schools. Each HoS has responsibility for the academic leadership and effective governance and management of their School and of all its people and other resources. All post-holders and committees within a School have their authority delegated from the HoS.

The School of GeoSciences, although a large School (300 academic and research staff, 104 non-academic staff, 1,100 undergraduate students and 470 postgraduate students (half of whom are on taught masters courses), has a fairly simple organisational structure, with few committees and much decision-making resting with a number of senior academic managers. The overall structure can be summarised as follows:

RESEARCH INSTITUTES: The School has three large Research Institutes which act as the stable sub-School management structure for the School and span broad areas of research in which the School expects to continue to study for at least the next decade. All academics belong to one Institute, and are line managed by the Head of Institute. On joining the School, academics are assigned to one Institute but may elect to change Institute by submitting a short case to SPARC to explain why their research interests are more closely aligned to another Institute.  Many staff will have interests spanning two Institutes and are encouraged to attend research activities run by other Institutes.  Taught degrees are not aligned to Institutes.

RESEARCH GROUPS/THEMES: Research groups and themes are dynamic groups of researchers with shared interests and aspirations. They have no official role within the School management structure, other than some Institute Heads seeking input from Research Groups in order to develop the annual reflections documents which then feed the Annual School plan.

THEMATIC POST-HOLDERS AND COMMITTEES: All significant Committees and post-holders provide SPARC with at least annual reports which feed into the development and implementation of School strategy. All committees are encouraged to establish and publish annual cycles of business.

SCHOOL-WIDE STUDENT SUPPORT AND TEACHING MANAGEMENT: This spans all UG and PGT degrees (enabling innovation at the boundaries between disciplines and consistently applied policies across all degrees) and PGR programmes, including DTPs/CDTs and similar.

SCHOOL-WIDE ‘RESEARCH ORGANISATION’. Provides general training and guidance for research and academic staff, professional administrative and financial support, and monitoring of areas requiring compliance.

SUPPORT STAFF: The School has around 65 professional services and technical staff, the majority of whom report to the Director of Professional Services (who sits on SPARC) through the following teams – Student Services, Research Support, Administrative Services, Finance, Information Technology and Physical Resources & Scientific/Technical Services. These staff support specific areas and many work closely with academic managers.

SCHOOL EXECUTIVE GROUP: This is a small Group known as the School Policy and Resources Committee (SPARC). This small size is designed to support full engagement of all members, with everybody working for the collective good (as opposed to simply being advocates for a particular area), and provides an opportunity for genuine debate and collective decision. Senior academic managers not on SPARC are invited to attend relevant items or to put forward Agenda items.