By Hefin Rees Edwards
Cardiff University recently unveiled a new five year strategy to boost its international reputation as a World Top 100 university.
The plan, The Way Forward 2018-2023, sets out the University’s aims and ambitions for these years, encompassing five sub-strategies, each with a focus on a specific area. These are: Education and Students, Research, Innovation, a Civic Mission and International focus.
Under Education and Students, the plan outlines the University’s wish to develop its student leadership skills and by 2023 aims to offer all undergraduate students the opportunity to embark on work experience in order to enhance their CVs and prepare them for the world of work.
Boosting the University’s research capabilities is also a key strategic element of the plan, with a focus on securing £200m worth of annual research grants and research contracts by 2023. The aim from this is to break into the UK’s top 12 universities on research power.
There are plans to develop the Cardiff Innovation System by ensuring more innovation and development occurs in the university. This will be done by aiming to develop ten strategic long-term partnerships with organisations in order to foster economic growth and social progress.
The University’s ‘civic mission’ is intended to ‘improve the health, wealth and wellbeing of the people of Wales’. This will be actualised through working with colleges and schools in Wales by supporting teachers and looking to improve pupils’s educational achievements. It also plans to boost cultural aspects of Welsh society, including continued support for the growth of the Welsh language, and to aid Wales economically by supporting the creation of 1,000 high value jobs in Welsh economy.
The plan also has an international focus by looking to increase the proportion of Cardiff University students coming from outside the UK to 25% and for an increase in UK students travelling internationally. It will do this by expanding its International Summer School programme and by developing five new academic partnerships with other institutions to raise the University’s profile among potential international collaborators.
The overall ambition for the plan is ‘to make Cardiff University an institution that is respected the world over, where students have a superb study and life experience, staff are proud and happy to work, and where alumni participate actively in our community.’
It is also worth noting that the Way Forward plan is to be implemented by bringing in the changes introduced in last month’s Transforming Cardiff proposals, which included 380 job cuts at the University over the next five years and the merging of academic schools. There has been some controversy about these proposals, with UCU members threatening strike action again and the SU President having voted down these proposals when given the opportunity.
When Gair Rhydd contacted Cardiff University about how much consultation was and would be taking place with staff and students over these new strategies, a Cardiff University spokesperson stated “We are fully committed to open and transparent consultation with all of our key stakeholders.
“The overarching ideas were discussed in open meetings with staff and students following publication. Through a variety of meetings and discussion opportunities staff and students will have further opportunities to have their say. Academic proposals will be discussed at Senate which includes Students’ Union representation. In addition, we have given a commitment to meet Students’ Union officers to discuss how best to engage with students. Our trade union partners will also be consulted.”