Update on how our University is responding to COVID-19
14 Jul 2020
A message from Patrick Hackett, Registrar, Secretary and Chief Operating Officer
A few weeks ago I wrote to you about how we would be shifting the focus from our initial COVID-19 incident response to a number of new recovery and transition priorities.
Since then we have made an enormous amount of progress on a number of fronts, so I’m writing to you again to provide you with an update from each group. There is more than I can easily accommodate in a single message, but we’ll be regularly updating you through open meetings, emails and StaffNet as things progress.
We are drawing on the expertise and perspectives of numerous groups such as PS and academic staff, students and the campus trade unions and I want to thank everyone who is working flexibly and in such a committed fashion to our changing priorities.
Registrar, Secretary and Chief Operating Officer
Teaching, Learning and Students (TLS) Group (Chaired by April McMahon)
Intake and Admissions (Chaired by Claire Brown and Richard Cotton)
Student Experience (Chaired by Simon Merrywest)
The shape of the next academic year has been laid out in communications to staff, students and applicants and a great deal of activity is underway to progress all aspects of welcome, online and on-campus teaching, library services and the many other important ways in which we’ll be making our new and returning students feel at home, and ensuring a high quality teaching and learning experience.
Our recruitment activity has continued at pace with frequent communications going out to applicants and more online Q&As and webinars than ever before. We held a well-attended online undergraduate and postgraduate open weeks for 2021 entry. ‘Manchester’s Here for You’, a new campaign will target late undergraduate and postgraduate taught entry 2020.
Financial Sustainability (Chaired by Keith Brown)
This group has been working on how we ensure we are financially sustainable in order to support our core goals. Many of the measures already taken have been outlined in the President and Vice-Chancellor’s messages and we held a special open meeting for staff with a finance focus. It is available to view online.
Employee (Chaired by Karen Heaton)
With colleagues returning to campus, on furlough leave and continuing to work at home a significant amount of support has been required, which has been placed online. Colleagues have been awarded an additional day’s paid leave alongside other measures which were communicated to all staff.
Our voluntary severance scheme and other measures are open until 31 July and we are updating on applications each Monday.
We have been publishing information on the voluntary pay saving measures, The group has also been looking at different wellbeing options and helping colleagues carry out to P&DRs in our changed circumstances.
Campus Re-opening and Corporate Support (Chaired by Nalin Thakkar)
This group has been busy working with Estates and Facilities, and Faculties to make buildings safe for use and we are now seeing more research staff and postgraduate research students returning to campus. Guidance is being put together for more staff and students to return to work.
A website has been established where we are posting regular updates, documentation and FAQs. An update for all staff was issued on 24 June.
Minimising Disruption to Research (Chaired by Colette Fagan)
Progress on subjects including REF delivery, research funding updates, PGR support and procurement for research are regularly updated and placed online. The Research Strategy Group has recently held online open meetings for research staff and postgraduate researchers.
Campus Foresight (Chaired by Luke Georghiou)
This group has been working on different scenarios understanding the opportunities for our future operating model and making the most of new ways of working. We have just launched ‘What Works?’, a project to give all colleagues the opportunity to contribute to this work. More information and link to take part has been posted on StaffNet.