Strategic Plan 2012 - 2017

Aim 1 - Creating opportunities

Creating Opportunities breaking down barriers to access, supporting students and staff to succeed and grow, embedding employability across our curriculum and promoting experiences that allow our students to test and develop their skills, valuing people and maximising their potential, reflecting social responsibility in all we do.

Our mission is to facilitate growth and development, and to challenge boundaries, helping students and staff to contribute to human endeavour by unlocking their own talents. We seek to nurture ability in all areas, share best practice, and remove institutional barriers to achievement.

The Aberystwyth student experience develops a passion for academic enquiry, learning and personal development. Our students live and learn in a safe and beautiful setting with access to cutting-edge resources and a National Library on their doorstep. They work with interested academics who bring research alive in the learning environment. We aim to produce graduates who thrive on intellectual rigour, critical thinking and creativity. We encourage and enable our students to work in teams to find cross-disciplinary solutions to global challenges and to develop wide-ranging perceptions and perspectives.

We believe that anyone who has the capacity to benefit from a university education should be enabled to do so. Our innovative approach to widening access includes projects aimed at raising school leaver aspirations, the flagship of which is our Summer University. Through this we offer a residential intensive Higher Education experience to students at risk of underperforming to encourage them to recognise their own potential. Excellence in student support requires agility and openness to respond to individual needs, and we will work creatively to ensure an excellent support structure for all students which improves retention and student satisfaction rates and holds true to our belief that every student counts. We are committed to ensuring that Aberstwyth is a welcoming space for staff and students of all backgrounds and we work with a range of organisations, including Stonewall, the Buttle Trust UK, Athena SWAN and the Welsh language Commissioner to promote diversity and equal opportunity for all staff and students.

A priority over the next five years is ensuring the best possible employment opportunities for our graduates. We work to ensure that all students have the opportunity to put the skills they develop whilst at Aberystwyth to use in their future career. We will further embed employability across the curriculum, expanding our graduate traineeships programme, and promoting work placements, employer-led events and other opportunities for practical experience. Collaborating with business and our alumni allows our students to apply the skills learned in their courses in a real world context. Our aim is to improve the employability of our graduates so that the proportion of Aberystwyth graduates who enter graduate-level employment exceeds the national average.

We are also fully committed to the continuing professional development of all our staff. We believe that research, teaching and leadership are complementary skillsets and that in order to achieve excellence, a modern university must sustain quality in each. During the next five years we will work to ensure that our performance development and promotion processes enable staff to advance their skills and ensure that excellence in all areas is identified and appropriately rewarded. We aim to employ the best talent available, identify potential leaders across the academic and professional services and nurture excellence, invest in professional training and support innovative ways for colleagues to share best practice.

Strategies for 2012-2017

  1. Working in partnership with our students to ensure that the support packages we offer (including our bursary provision) respond to changing student needs.
  2. Embedding employability across the curriculum and building links with employers and alumni to achieve a step change in the employability of Aber graduates.
  3. Developing our staff performance and promotion processes and expanding training opportunities for staff.
  4. Developing in-house systems for supporting and growing future leaders.
  5. Establishing ways of recording and recognising curricular and extra-curricular activities and engaging fully with national programmes which recognise the contribution of students in activities which serve the community.
  6. Identifying and supporting opportunities to enhance staff and student wellbeing.

Aberystwyth 2017

By 2017 we will:

  • Exceed on an annual basis our Higher Education Statistics Agency Performance Indicator benchmarks for participation of under-represented groups in Higher Education.
  • Achieve graduate level employability at least 5% above the national average.
  • Secure and maintain accreditation of our Postgraduate Certificate of Teaching in Higher Education programme for staff new to teaching, demonstrating that our skills development for new teaching staff is of the highest quality.
  • Ensure all staff actively participate in professional development and performance review.
  • Support all colleagues aspiring to leadership roles in both Academic and Professional areas to be coached and developed through our in-house leadership programme.
  • Launch an Aberystwyth scheme for graduate traineeships and deliver at least 40 opportunities over five years.
  • Increase opportunities for employer and alumni visits by 10% annually.