Well, looks like we’ve made it to the end of term 2 – its been a tough term for everyone, but at least there is something of a break coming up. A few updates below – some directly from me and some that I’m sharing from other colleagues. That way at least it’s all in one place!
GTA Recruitment for 21-22
Current expectations at that the GTA/STP team will get in contact with you around June time to discuss support/process for recruiting GTA/STP staff for the next academic year. If you would like to start this process earlier and/or get advice from the team, please feel free to contact Yasmin Amed directly to discuss your needs and timetables (Y.Amed@warwick.ac.uk). The earliest they are likely to be able to start processes for next year is early May, unless there are any special circumstances. And just a reminder (apologies if I’m repeating myself) we are asking that you simply set sessional teaching budgets in line with expected requirements – and in contrast to last year - we are not planning any exceptional constraints on these budget lines.
Many of you will have heard Rosie’s presentation of the University’s finances from Senate yesterday (and if you didn’t, it has been recorded and will be available shortly). I’m not going to go through all of the detail but wanted to share some key messages:
- The ARC position is around £26m positive to budget – largely because of income (and much of the positive movement sits with WBS and WMG);
- Student fee income has held up very well – we have not experienced drop-outs in the way we thought we might;
- ARC Payroll spend is expected to be in line with budget from plan v7 and about £4.5m ahead of last year’s figures;
- STP spend is pretty much in line with last year’s figure;
- Research income is down slightly – as we might have expected;
- In the broader University, there have been significant savings in Professional Services Group (+£3.7m on budget) but significant adverse movements for CCSG (-£6.2m to budget);
- There has been a significant adverse impact from accommodation refunds;
- We are currently projecting a surplus before USS adjustments of around £17m.
The positive news here is that this will allow some key capital spend to progress – including the Library.
Clarification around All-Student Newsletter messages.
Some of the eagle eyes amongst them have spotted that last week’s all-student newsletter states “We are really looking forward to being able to welcome you back at some point in Term 3 to campus and face-to-face teaching and learning, and safe extra-curricular and Warwick Presents activities.”
Some Departments have expressed concerns that students are contacting them to ask what formal classroom teaching they will be getting, even where there is nothing formal and credit-bearing planned. Please can I reassure you that we are waiting on government guidance concerning the possibility of students across all departments being able to return to campus after the Easter vacation. Given the fact that, even if we are given the go ahead to return, not all students may be physically able to return to campus from across the UK and internationally. In that context, we expect to continue to provide a blended learning offer for core teaching around revision, and assessment online to allow all students to access it. However, we are proceeding with our plans for face-to-face co-curricular support for those students on campus.
Laptops and Desktops
Looking to the future in terms of new purchases of IT equipment, IDG are recommending laptops as standard and desktops should only be used in specific situations, such as shared spaces. This only applies to new purchases. IDG are working with suppliers on getting the best possible deals and will update in due course. The aim is to negotiate bulk purchasing arrangements that will reduce the unit costs of laptops and to always hold some machines in stock to enable a speedy response to demand. We can’t be sure of pricing at this stage but please can you bear in mind the expectation for laptop purchases, rather than desktops, when planning finances for next year or spending hardware budgets this year. The ITS hardware pages will be updated to emphasise laptops and to discourage the purchase of desktops
Geraint Llewelyn will attend future Faculty DA meetings and give an update on the direction of travel for hardware and can field any questions on these plans.
And as an aside, we have funded 210 laptops from central funds and we’re hoping to add another 150 shortly. This should carry us through until 1 August.
The next key piece of Government Guidance relating to the timing of the return of students to campus for Term 3 is due on 5 April and of course the University is closed that week. I will keep you informed of what’s happening but I’m not expecting to have to ask you do anything – the intention is that all essential comms for staff and students will be managed centrally.
Have a good weekend everyone when it comes!
Professor Christine Ennew OBE