Response to University of Bristol ‘Proposals for Discussion’ – University of Bristol’s Vision and Strategy Consultation.

At our Joint Consultative and Negotiating Committee (JCNC) UCU, along with campus unions, had a discussion about the VC’s recent Message from the Vice Chancellor and Proposals for Discussion, following the the first phase of the University’s Vision and Strategy Consultation.

The concrete action resulting from that discussion is to schedule a more substantial agenda point/discussion at the next JCNC on 19th April.

In terms of initial feedback, UCU is keen to impress two of our main priorities: workload and progression for pathway 2 and 3 staff.

Although workload apparently was not an issue raised in the first phase of the consultation, our feedback from members would suggest that it is the issue for members.

On that note, our Workplace and Well-Being Survey, complete with recommendations, is due early April, in advance of the 19th April JCNC.

The results of the recent Staff Survey will also be part of this.

As documented in previous Newsflashs (see 27th January 2016), we’re currently feeding into the discussion around, to quote from page 8 of the Proposals, “….reviewing development, progression, promotion”.

Bristol UCU did note some concern with the issue of research prioritization, what this means in practical terms for different disciplines and schools and the prioritisation of a select number of institutional research themes.

Does this mean a defensive challenge for UCU to protect members in potential ‘de-prioritized’ Schools, defending a notion of the multidisciplinary University, or accepting that in the current funding climate, we as a University are in no position to back research ‘lame ducks’?

From UCU’s point of view, if the former, then solidarity across our membership is key.

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