On Tuesday 17 April, the Rector’s Committee organised a forum with the University’s strategic planning committee and students on the Strategic Plan for 2020.
The forum was convened to give students an insight into the University’s strategic plan for the next five to ten years, and to give the committee ideas on what else to include in the plan.
The Strategic Planning committee present at the forum included the Principal, the Proctor, the Vice Principal of International Strategy and External Relations, and the Director of Strategy and Policy.
Principal Sally Mapstone began the forum with an overview of the strategic plan, discussing how the goal of the plan is to help the position the University when dealing with upcoming challenges, such as Brexit and the changing nature of higher education.
The Principal further considered how the strategic plan will push the University to consider what is done well and could be done better.
She noted that the University has been conducting focus groups and surveys to gauge where the University can improve; these areas will then be discussed and positioned into the strategic plan.
The Principal identified thematic areas of the plan as ‘a global St. Andrews, a University that positions itself globally that sees itself as globally engaged and sets itself up to interact with the world, but which also is beginning to make certain discriminating choices about how it does that.’
She continued, ‘We’re thinking about diverse St. Andrews because this is a fantastically diverse place. We are thinking about world leading St Andrews… and entrepreneurial St Andrews.’
Principal Mapstone also touched upon the University’s Corporate Social Responsibility Statement, which details what the University is and how it engages domestically and locally. She encouraged students in the audience to share their opinions on what they think the University is and what it can do better to engage with the students and public.
Professor J Derek Woollins, the Vice President of Research and Innovation, also spoke about the plan’s focus on the sciences.
He emphasised how the plan will attempt to maximise the University’s resources and will encourage research that will affect the outside world.
The Proctor, Lorna Milne, then discussed the changing nature of UK higher education and how the plan aims to position the University within the change.
She discussed how many universities are restructuring their degree programs to allow for accelerated and integrated degrees.
Ms Milne adamantly stated that St Andrews would not be overhauling their degree programs to follow this trend, but rather St Andrews aims to ensure stability and a traditional degree course for students.
The Vice Principal further discussed the global nature of St Andrews and focused on how the plan aims to broaden research, study abroad, and support services with a global focus in mind.
In terms of student concerns, questions at the end of the talk focused on sustainability, disability services, and building more space in the library.
Rector’s Assessor Camilla Duke, who helped organise the event, said to The Saint she believes ‘it is crucial for students to be a part of the conversation on the strategic plan,’ and she was pleased by the genuine engagement among the administration and students.