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Proposed changes to student marketing, recruitment and admissions structures

28 Feb 2020

Message from Patrick Hackett, Student Experience Programme (SEP) Chair and Professor April McMahon, SEP Executive Sponsor, on proposed people and structural changes to deliver the next phase of the Programme, to provide an outstanding student and learning experience.

University arch

The Student Experience Programme (SEP) is a major change initiative for the University, which brings together several inter-related University change projects under a single programme of work, to transform the student experience across all stages of the student journey, through the integrated delivery of new or revised technologies, processes and organisational structures. 

This will be achieved through:

  • a consistent and high-quality experience for all students providing more flexibility to access personalised services and to continue their learning at times convenient to them;
  • aligning organisational structures, roles, responsibilities and competencies;
  • developing consistency in skills, experience and delivery models across the Professional Services (PS) in Schools, Faculties and central Directorates;
  • enabling academic and PS colleagues to work together more easily across boundaries and thereby increasing organisational agility;
  • delivering financial benefits service improvements from new technology and improved simplified and standardised processes and by bringing more services online;
  • streamlining and simplifying many time-consuming processes; enabling our staff to spend more time focussing on the things that matter to our University and our students.

See more about the benefits SEP will bring to our students and staff.

Following implementation of the University’s New Leadership Model in 2019 for the Directorate for Student Experience and specific areas of the Faculties and Schools; this next phase of change is focussed on the PS organisational structures, systems and processes relating to the areas of student marketing and recruitment and applications and admissions. This will include the first use of SEP technologies within the ‘Applicant Release’, including Campus Solutions 9.2.

Colleagues from across The University have been working with the SEP team since October 2019 to develop a revised set of proposed structures for these areas. Both the student marketing and recruitment and applications and admissions proposals have been designed to align with one another, to enable a strong partnership between PS colleagues in central Directorates, Faculties and Schools and our academic colleagues. How these teams work together in the future is as important as how the roles themselves are structured. 

The Board of Governors of our University has now approved The University entering into formal consultation with the trade unions on proposed changes across the areas of student marketing and recruitment and applications and admissions. 

Staffing changes

The staffing change proposals for student marketing and recruitment and applications and admissions identify 231 posts being in scope of the change, with 216 proposed post reductions and 194 new posts, resulting in a proposed net reduction of 22 posts. In addition, further efficiencies are expected to be made over the next 3 years across applications and admissions, through a process of continuous improvement.

The proposed new structures, roles and grades can be found below:

More specifically, the proposed changes will deliver the following benefits:

Student marketing and recruitment

Changing our approach to student marketing and recruitment will contribute significantly to recruiting the best students, achieving our recruitment targets and encouraging more diversity in our student body. 

The proposal will enable a co-ordinated approach to student marketing and recruitment across the University, building on existing capability and by investing in our digital skills gap providing improved market insight and recruitment modelling. Creating and delivering high quality, evidence-led campaigns based on improved market data will contribute to increasing the amount of blended/distance learning on offer.

The proposed new structure will standardise and align structures and roles across the Faculties, Schools and DSE. This will enable more proactive professional development and career progression for colleagues and deliver a level of agility around the movement and re-allocation of staff which currently does not exist.

Applications and admissions

The proposal is to deliver improved service and cost-effectiveness and efficiency across the University in our applications and admissions process, thereby realising the full benefits of the SEP technologies. The release of applications and admissions elements of the SEP technologies will, for the first time, begin to support the end to end process for all types of applicants. This will deliver improved document management, payment, immigration compliance processes, improved support for confirmation and clearing; and provide systems-generated bulk communications, including offer letters.

The proposed new structure provides a clearer, more consistent, streamlined and agile operational delivery model across the Faculties, Schools and DSE with flexibility for further improvements to be made in the medium term, allowing for future re-shaping if required. This will strengthen the relationship between the PS teams in the central Directorates, Faculties and Schools, allowing for the deployment of resource flexibly across Schools according to requirements. 

The following activity areas are excluded from any proposed changes in this phase:

  • Postgraduate research
  • Widening participation
  • Alliance Manchester Business School MBA/Global MBA/Blended Learning admissions and marketing teams

The Alliance Manchester Business School Executive Education team are out of scope for any proposed people and structural change across the SEP, in either the current or future phase.

More detail on these areas and why they are excluded is covered in the SEP organisational changes FAQs.  

A targeted voluntary severance scheme (VS) will be offered to those colleagues in scope and at risk. We very much hope these changes will be achieved through voluntary means however; if the VS scheme is not effective in achieving the required target reduction of 22 posts, then the University will seek approval from the Board of Governors to proceed to a compulsory scheme.

As always, we are committed to ensuring that this process is conducted fairly and transparently in line with our policies and procedures and we will seek to explore opportunities for the avoidance of compulsory redundancy where possible, including redeployment and retraining. 

All changes involving people that are undertaken by our University are given very careful and serious consideration. While these changes are essential, we recognise that this is an anxious time for those colleagues likely to be affected by the proposals. 

As a result, our University PS leaders across central Directorates, Faculties and Schools will continue to have regular conversations with colleagues who are affected by the process and those working to support the student experience across wider areas. There are also a number of support provisions in place for affected colleagues, including dedicated sessions provided by our University’s Staff Learning and Development team and the services provided by our University Counselling Service.

The final, formal phase of SEP will focus on the PS organisational structures, systems and processes relating to the core student journey; from enrolment to graduation. Options for change across these areas are currently being defined and a number of colleagues working within these areas will be invited, along with academic colleagues and student representatives, to engage with the Programme to input over the coming months. It is expected that these changes will be implemented in 2021, with further communications to colleagues coming later this year.

Patrick Hackett, Student Experience Programme Chair

Professor April McMahon, Student Experience Programme Executive Sponsor.

Further information: