The University of Reading Professional Administrative Services (PAS) Review and its effect on students
PAS Update from RUSU President, Oli Ratcilffe - 22/03/16
There was a University of Reading Council meeting on 21st March 2016 and a lengthy discussion on PAS took place.
Nina (Welfare Officer) and I presented the argument including an open letter which we sent to Council members calling on Council to consider the option of postponing the support centres based on the influx of student opinion that had been raised in the past few weeks.
Several members of Council commented on the process and how the University had not carried it out to a satisfactory level in relation to the remaining ambiguities around the process among staff and students.
However, the consensus was that the University was too far into the process to halt the plans and that it would be more of a risk to the University’s finances to postpone the plans. Most members were keen to speed up the process and get it implemented as quickly as possible to avoid a disaster in September.
I know this wasn’t the result we were hoping for and, despite the University noting that they need to learn from the mistakes made in this process, students STILL NEED TO BE INVOLVED IN THE PLANS. Compromises can still be made and so far we have already seen the University listen to our concerns to an extent:
- The University has compromised with implementing some transitional arrangements for certain schools to phase it in more gradually;
- Steering groups will also be created per Hub consisting of student membership to oversee the course and hub specific requirements going forward.
But more compromises need to be made which is why we need your input.
Myself, Niall (Education Officer) and Ben (Community and Development Officer) will be sitting on the bi-weekly PAS Programme Board in the next few months where every potential risk will be scrutinised in detail. Now more than ever we need groups such as the Disabled Students Against PAS Group and the Students Against PAS groups to feed into the implementation groups that we sit on. We will be keeping you up to date with the reports that are sent to this group and feeding back the testimonies we have gathered so far into this board, as well as the RUSU Excellence Award testimonies we received for support staff.
We are so incredibly proud of all of you who have been actively involved in this campaign. I have never seen Reading so passionate and engaged in something and there have been so many positives that we can take from the last few weeks.
Together we have shown the admin and technical staff how much we care and have stood in solidarity with them, fellow students and academics. We have achieved so much more than we could have done alone and we have shown the Executive of the University exactly what the power of the student movement can do.
We will be keeping you updated on our communications with the Uni in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!
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Response from UoR to the paper from RUSU to Student Experience Committee
You can view the response to queries around the PAS review here.
Official RUSU Statement:
In light of the student consultation on 03/03/16 in 3sixty, Reading University Students' Union has officially taken a stance to fight against the proposed changes to the Teaching and Learning Operations work-stream as part of PAS. We will be channelling this stance through key University committees and will be supporting students in their grassroots campaigning.
A full video of the 03/03/16 presentation from UoR and the Q&A is below. Please watch it, read more below and answer the survey to get your views heard.
PAS Review Presentation by UoR and Q&A in 3sixty, RUSU - 03/03/2016
To watch from the start of the student Q&A part click here
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As some students may have heard, there are large changes coming to campus. Student numbers are increasing, the library is about to undergo a four year construction, the power of Faculties are being split into School and the URS building is facing a redesign. However, these are not the only large scale changes that students will see over the next few years. The University is making large cuts to administrative and support staff and relocating your School Offices into centrally run Hubs and Satellites to create a strong front of house facing service for all Teaching and Learning operations.
The Professional and Administrative Services (PAS) review was a piece of work carried out by the University in the name of “Efficiency and Effectiveness”. The process looked at all non-academic areas of work on campus and found 150 processes that were deemed to be inefficient and wasteful, due to inconsistency and duplication of effort.
These 150 processes were split into 7 work streams; Finance, Marketing and Brand, Human Resources, Technical Services, Teaching & Learning Operations/Student & Applicant Services, Executive Support and Academic & Governance Services. These work streams will face mass reshuffling, call for redundancies, relocation and a complete change from their day to day running. RUSU are focusing on the Student & Applicant Services aspect of this review as this will have the most notable change for students.
The Student and Applicant Services work stream looks at a number of different interactions students have with the University. These services are normally done in either Carrington or in your School Office. These areas include but are not limited to:
- Applicant and Student Enquiries and Advice
- Communication with current students
- Programme Administration
- Assessment related activities from exams to coursework including Extenuating Circumstances Forms (ECFs)
- Support of all Teaching and Learning committees
- Supporting academics in delivery of Teaching
- Student Record amendments and updates
- Organising Disability related adjustments for students
- Placement and internships organisation
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What will the new system look like?
The end result of the PAS review proposed significant changes to the staffing and ’front of house’ student experience. Their rationale is to reduce duplicated work, identify areas of good practice, increase consistency, reduce the number of small teams and increase staff progression opportunities. This resulted in a structure from School Offices and Carrington into ‘Hubs and Satellites’
1=Foxhill - Law
2=HBS - Henley Business School
3=HUMSS - Humanities, SPEIR, SELAL, SBE
4=JJ Thompson - SBS, SMPS, SAGES, SCFP, SSE
5=Agriculture - SAPD, SPCLS, SACD
6= London Road- IoE
These Hubs will provide all the services your School Offices currently do including:
- Handing in work
- Collecting green stickers
- Getting information about internships and placements
- Arranging a suspension from study
- Lab technicians & equipment organisation
- Arranging graduation events
- Guest speaker lecture announcements
- Feedback collection
Satellites will perform similar functions but report up to a main Hub. Under this new system you may be grouped with students in other departments, school and even faculties, in buildings away from your academics and with different staff members.
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If you want any more information then please contact RUSU Education Officer, Niall Hamilton, or your Course Reps who can be found at www.rusu.co.uk/myrep