Staff news

Court meeting: 4 December 2017

The University Court held its most recent meeting on 4 December.

We publish regular updates on matters discussed at all Court meetings, during which members consider matters of strategic importance to the University.

Meetings of the Court are held five times a year.

Governing body

The Court is the University’s governing body and its legal persona.

With a focus on strategic direction, it takes the final decisions on issues of fundamental concern to the wellbeing of the University.

Detailed information on the membership and activities of the University Court, including meeting agendas, papers and minutes, is available online.

Detailed information on University Court

Summary of Court meeting: 4 December 2017

The following reports are summaries of a selection of items discussed and agreed at Court on 4 December.

City of Edinburgh Award

The Rector and the Vice-Convener congratulated the Principal on his receipt of the 2017 City of Edinburgh Award and noting that this is the Principal’s final Court meeting before demitting office in January, formally recorded Court’s thanks for his exceptional service to the University and wider community. 

City of Edinburgh Award

Student Experience Update

The Deputy Secretary, Student Experience, presented the first iteration of a new metrics-based report and accompanying commentary.

Members discussed: assistance for selected Schools; the potential for new technology to assist oversight of individual student progress and offer targeted support, with a Learning Analytics Policy in development in consultation with student representatives; regular communication with students on actions taken; and enhancing recreational sport opportunities.

Strategic Plan 2012-16: Final Progress Report

Targets and key performance indicators which did not have final data available in December 2016 were reviewed alongside a summary of all Strategic Plan 2012-16 measures. It was agreed that the University has broadly achieved the targets and key performance indicators set out in the Strategic Plan 2012-16.

Former Strategic Plan (2012-2016)

Strategic Plan 2016: Performance Measurement Framework

The first annual progress report using the Performance Measurement Framework for the Strategic Plan 2016 was reviewed. Gender balance at staff grades 9 and 10, staff age profiles, including ethnicity/race measures, the proportion of academic staff from other EU member states and growth in staff numbers relative to student numbers were discussed. It was agreed that the University is broadly on track to deliver against the Strategic Plan 2016.

Strategic Plan

Annual Report and Accounts 2016/17

Following scrutiny by the Audit & Risk Committee and the Policy & Resources Committee, the Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 July 2017 were presented for approval. The sector-leading integrated reporting method used was discussed and welcomed. Court thanked all staff for their contribution towards the financial performance of the University and those involved in producing the Annual Report and Accounts. Court approved the Annual Report and Accounts 2016/17.

Annual Report and Accounts 2016/17

Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) Masterplan

A masterplan envisaging an expanded single site campus for the Edinburgh College of Art at Lauriston Place was approved. The following points were discussed:

  • ECA’s strong performance since joining the University in 2011 and future ambitions in teaching and research;
  • The importance of maintaining and improving student facilities as part of the Masterplan;
  • Expected future growth in the creative arts in Scotland; and,
  • Providing an overview of planned major estates projects at a future Court Seminar.

Low Carbon College

Following a progress update considered at the April 2017 meeting, a further update on the partnership with Shanghai JiaoTong University to establish a Low Carbon College in Shanghai Lingang, China, was reviewed. The plans in the context of the University’s ‘Zero by 2040’ carbon neutral ambition was discussed, with data driven innovation to be incorporated into teaching methods.   

The signing of a Memorandum of Agreement by the Senior Vice-Principal was approved subject to confirmation that the project team and Legal Services are content with the finalised document. The development of a Firm Proposal was supported. 

Low Carbon College

Distance Learning at Scale

Plans to establish a small number of large scale distance learning programmes were outlined. Building on the University’s success in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and involving the Students’ Association at the appropriate stage in development was discussed. The update and strategic direction proposed was noted.

Distance Learning at Scale

Annual Review 2016/17

Eight feature articles for publication in the Annual Review 2016/17 were approved.

Annual Review

Other items

Updates from EUSA and reports from Court’s committees on activities being undertaken in support of Court were received. Court also approved appointments to the Scrutinising Committee for the Election for Rector 2018, reviewed a draft response to a UK Quality Code for Higher Education consultation and approved an amendment to allow – subject to various academic checks and final approval from Senate – student sabbatical officers to serve for a second one-year term of office if re-elected.

Further information on the remit and work of Court and its Committees can be found online.

Courts and Committees