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Universities Scotland responds to Scottish Government Cabinet reshuffle

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 15:18
Responding to the news of the Scottish Government Cabinet reshuffle which sees Angela Constance MSP replace Michael Russell in the role of Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Pete Downes, Convener of Universities Scotland said:   “We look forward to working with Angela Constance in the role of Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning. Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions are immensely proud to be rooted in Scotland and to serve Scotland in so many ways; making a significant social, cultural and economic contribution at a national level as well as helping to change individual lives. A great many opportunities lie ahead, as well as a few challenges, and we are very keen to work closely together with the Cabinet Secretary in meeting these, to deliver more for Scotland and to build on the international competitiveness of our institutions.   “We thank Mr Russell for the strong support he has shown higher education in his time in the role as Cabinet Secretary. Whilst we may not have always agreed with one another, we appreciate the approach he took to working with us which was characterised by close engagement and discussion with the sector.”   Responding to the news of the Scottish Government Cabinet reshuffle which sees Angela Constance MSP replace Michael Russell in the role of Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Pete Downes, Convener of Universities Scotland said:   “We look forward to working with Angela Constance in the role of Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning. Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions are immensely proud to be rooted in Scotland and to serve Scotland in so many ways; making a significant social, cultural and economic contribution at a national level as well as helping to change individual lives. A great many opportunities lie ahead, as well as a few challenges, and we are very keen to work closely together with the Cabinet Secretary in meeting these, to deliver more for Scotland and to build on the international competitiveness of our institutions.   “We thank Mr Russell for the strong support he has shown higher education in his time in the role as Cabinet Secretary. Whilst we may not have always agreed with one another, we appreciate the approach he took to working with us which was characterised by close engagement and discussion with the sector.”  
Categories: Universities

Universities and business unite in call for Smith Commission to seize the opportunity to craft an immigration policy that meets Scotland's needs

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 10:03
Scotland's universities and business leaders have united together in calling upon the Smith Commission to seize the opportunity and ensure that partial devolution of immigration policy is included as an additional power for Scotland in the Heads of Agreement to be reached by the end of this month.The staff, students and principals at Scotland's universities have written an open letter to the Smith Commission with key business organisations, including the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, the Institute of Directors Scotland and specialist sector bodies, ScotlandIS, which represents Scotland's IT and digital technology sector, and Scottish Renewables. Partial devolution of immigration policy to Scotland would enable the Scottish Parliament to re-introduce a two-year post-study work entitlement for international students graduating from Scottish institutions. This would enable Scotland to attract and retain highly-skilled young people, making a significant positive contribution to Scotland's economy and demography Scotland's universities and business leaders have united together in calling upon the Smith Commission to seize the opportunity and ensure that partial devolution of immigration policy is included as an additional power for Scotland in the Heads of Agreement to be reached by the end of this month.The staff, students and principals at Scotland's universities have written an open letter to the Smith Commission with key business organisations, including the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, the Institute of Directors Scotland and specialist sector bodies, ScotlandIS, which represents Scotland's IT and digital technology sector, and Scottish Renewables. Partial devolution of immigration policy to Scotland would enable the Scottish Parliament to re-introduce a two-year post-study work entitlement for international students graduating from Scottish institutions. This would enable Scotland to attract and retain highly-skilled young people, making a significant positive contribution to Scotland's economy and demography. Scotland faces specific demographic challenges that are quite distinct from the rest of the UK, with slower population growth and a population that is ageing at a faster rate. The number of people aged over 65 years is projected to rise by 59 per cent by 2037. As there is a close correlation between population growth of highly skilled people in the workforce and growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which puts Scotland at an economic disadvantage compared to the rest of the UK.The relatively greater economic and fiscal challenges faced by Scotland, as a consequence of its ageing population, were acknowledged by the Scottish Government, UK Government and Better Together parties during the referendum debate. The Smith Commission represents an opportunity to craft limited variations to the UK immigration policy that allow Scotland to address its specific demographic and economic needs. If included as a recommendation in the cross-party Heads of Agreement, to be reached by the end of November, this would give Lord Smith of Kelvin a strong mandate to negotiate this outcome for Scotland in talks that follow with the UK Government.Professor Pete Downes, Convener of Universities Scotland and Principal of the University of Dundee said:"Scotland has already proved that it's possible to have a difference in immigration policy, bringing demographic and economic benefit to Scotland with no impact on the rest of the UK. Fresh Talent was a big success and we're looking to the Smith Commission, and to the UK Government, to give Scotland this opportunity again. "There is a wealth of evidence to support the need for partial devolution of immigration policy. Scotland has distinct demographic challenges that adversely affect our potential for economic growth. We face skills shortages in key sectors, as articulated by business, and our universities are forced to operate in an anti-competitive environment in attracting international talent that could be of great economic and social benefit to Scotland. "We have an opportunity to address this and in so doing, we have an opportunity to deliver a change in policy that is capable of significant economic and social benefit for Scotland. I call on all those involved in the Smith Commission to seize this opportunity." The re-introduction of a two-year post-study work route for international students would give Scotland's universities an equal footing in the attraction of international students and could reverse the recent double-digit drop universities have seen in student numbers as a result of perceptions of UK Government policy overseas and the lack of a post-study work route, which is offered by other English-language countries such as the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. In recent years, the number of Indian students studying in Scotland has fallen by 49 per cent and there has been a 17 per cent drop in students from Nigeria.Scottish public opinion is supportive of such powers being devolved to Scotland; a 2014 survey by the Oxford University Migration Observatory found that 60 per cent of people believe the Scottish Government is best placed to make decisions about immigration policy in Scotland. Ross Martin, Chief Executive, SCDI said:"Greater powers to attract and retain high-talent from other countries would make a big difference to key economic tests for Scotland - developing a more highly skilled and productive workforce, creating more innovative businesses, and improving our global skills and connections to grow our exports."Major Scottish industries would soon benefit from this talent, the Scottish economy and society have distinct long-term needs and there is broad civic support for this move, and that is why we are jointly asking the Smith Commission to transfer these powers and enhance Scotland's ability to prosper."David Watt, Executive Director of the IoD in Scotland said:"There is little doubt that the current UK immigration policy is not fit for Scotland's future, as we face completely different demographic challenges to other parts of the UK. This is the ideal opportunity to address the challenges we face in terms of sustaining a pool of talent. Yes, radical thinking may be required - but it's vital that the outcome contributes to the long term availability of a talented, ambitious, creative and innovative workforce." Polly Purvis, Chief Executive of ScotlandIS said:"A relaxation in visa control for overseas postgraduate students studying in Scotland would have an immediate positive impact on the current critical skills shortage facing the digital technologies industry in Scotland."Gordon Maloney, president of NUS Scotland, said:"International students, and immigrants more generally, contribute a huge amount to our institutions, communities and country. The Smith Commission process, by devolving the powers that we need on immigration, provides a great opportunity to recognise that contribution in a way that benefits international students, and Scotland as a whole. "International students bring new perspectives and new ways of learning that enriches the learning experience for them, for Scottish students, and for the institution and their communities as a whole. Allowing those same students the opportunity to stay in Scotland and work once they've graduated, to continue enriching Scottish society and the economy, makes sense for everyone involved. "The Fresh Talent initiative showed that international students have much more to contribute to Scotland, once they have graduated. Providing the powers to bring a similar scheme back, and give those students that opportunity once more, is something that staff, students and institutions are rightly united on." NotesThe following organisations are united in calling for the partial devolution of immigration policy to Scotland as part of the Smith Commission: >  Institute of Directors Scotland>  NUS Scotland>  Renewables Scotland>  ScotlandIS>  Scottish Chambers of Commerce>  Scottish Council for Development and Industry>  UCU Scotland>  UNISON>  Universities ScotlandThe number of Indian students studying in Scotland's universities has fallen by 49.4 per cent between 2010/11 and 2012/13. The number of Nigerian students has fallen by 17 per cent in the same time frame. The source for the data is the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).Many of the organisations signing up to the joint letter on this issue have made their own submissions to the Smith Commission. A common theme across the submissions is support for some devolution of immigration policy. Support for this should not be assumed to mean support for each other's submissions in full. The Smith Commission must reach its cross-party Heads of Agreement by 30 November in order to stay on schedule to publish of draft clauses by 25 January.
Categories: Universities

Universities Scotland: submission to the Scotland Devolution Commission (Smith Commission)

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 14:42
Universities Scotland believes there are specific opportunities to craft a new devolution settlement which will enable the university sector to make an even stronger contribution to a fairer and more prosperous Scotland within the United Kingdom. Read Universities Scotland's submission to the Smith Commission Universities Scotland believes there are specific opportunities to craft a new devolution settlement which will enable the university sector to make an even stronger contribution to a fairer and more prosperous Scotland within the United Kingdom. Read Universities Scotland's submission to the Smith Commission
Categories: Universities

Higher education governance: University sector committed to excellence and accountability

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 10:52
University leaders today:Demonstrated the high standards of transparency, accountability and effectiveness of current higher education governance arrangements in a Code which establishes a ‘new normal' of excellenceCommented on the Scottish Government's consultation about proposed legislation on higher education governance.Excellence in governance: report on implementation of new standards The Committee of the Chairs of Scottish Higher Education Institutions (CSC) has published an extensive report on the current highly progressive state of university governance, following adoption of new standards in a Scottish higher education governance code over 2013/14. This code was developed by a group led by Lord Smith of Kelvin with stakeholder input from every higher education institution across Scotland and from wider stakeholders. It built existing key strengths and good practice, and set new expectations for progressive change. Evaluation of progress one year into the code's implementation shows that the sector has responded quickly to the new governance expectations laid down by the Code. Progressive changes have been made that enhance the sector's diversity, inclusiveness, transparency, accountability and effectiveness. In total over 350 actions have been taken across the sector. Implementation has led to progress including: diversity: five of the last six appointments to the role of chair have been women. diversity: A raft of measures have been introduced with the goal of securing greater diversity amongst independent members. diversity: 42 per cent of all new appointments of independent members on governing bodies have been women. inclusiveness: inclusion of students and staff on nomination committees which lead the recruitment of the Principal, the Chair of the governing body and independent members. accountabilty: a new formal means within the code for staff and students to hold the Principal and chair to account. accountability: the code now requires external involvement in the review of universities' governance arrangements at least once every five years. transparency: the register of interests for independent members of the governing body is now published online. transparency: the governing body sets the policies of the remuneration committee, which decides on pay for the principal and senior staff. The governing body can see for itself that decisions made by the remuneration committee comply with these policies. University leaders today:Demonstrated the high standards of transparency, accountability and effectiveness of current higher education governance arrangements in a Code which establishes a ‘new normal' of excellenceCommented on the Scottish Government's consultation about proposed legislation on higher education governance.Excellence in governance: report on implementation of new standards The Committee of the Chairs of Scottish Higher Education Institutions (CSC) has published an extensive report on the current highly progressive state of university governance, following adoption of new standards in a Scottish higher education governance code over 2013/14. This code was developed by a group led by Lord Smith of Kelvin with stakeholder input from every higher education institution across Scotland and from wider stakeholders. It built existing key strengths and good practice, and set new expectations for progressive change. Evaluation of progress one year into the code's implementation shows that the sector has responded quickly to the new governance expectations laid down by the Code. Progressive changes have been made that enhance the sector's diversity, inclusiveness, transparency, accountability and effectiveness. In total over 350 actions have been taken across the sector. Implementation has led to progress including: diversity: five of the last six appointments to the role of chair have been women. diversity: A raft of measures have been introduced with the goal of securing greater diversity amongst independent members. diversity: 42 per cent of all new appointments of independent members on governing bodies have been women. inclusiveness: inclusion of students and staff on nomination committees which lead the recruitment of the Principal, the Chair of the governing body and independent members. accountabilty: a new formal means within the code for staff and students to hold the Principal and chair to account. accountability: the code now requires external involvement in the review of universities' governance arrangements at least once every five years. transparency: the register of interests for independent members of the governing body is now published online. transparency: the governing body sets the policies of the remuneration committee, which decides on pay for the principal and senior staff. The governing body can see for itself that decisions made by the remuneration committee comply with these policies. David Ross, Chair of the CSC , commented:"I'm very proud that, building on strong foundations, the university sector has established a ‘new normal' of the very highest standards of transparency, accountability and effectiveness. I'm proud that the implementation of the new code places students and staff at the heart of good governance. These actions are built on a strong foundation of governance that was already in place throughout the sector, as recognised by Professor von Prondzynski in the 2012 review of higher education governance."This is exactly what an autonomous university sector should be doing - setting itself the very highest standards of governance and showing that we can implement these."Scottish Government consultation paper on a higher education governance billUniversity leaders also commented in the Scottish Government's consultation, released today, on possible legislation on higher education governance.Commenting on these proposals, Universities Scotland Convener Professor Pete Downes said:"Higher education is a very successful sector in Scotland; one that excels across almost every measure of performance and one that is continuously working to deliver more for Scotland economically, socially and internationally. Autonomous universities are responsive to the many and varied communities we serve and are fully committed to the principles of inclusiveness, transparency, effectiveness and accountability that underpin good governance. "Universities have just adopted a governance code which enhances these principles. We urge careful appraisal of whether government action now will enhance universities' implementation of the principles which are at the heart of our autonomy and success."We welcome the consultation paper's stated commitment to the maintenance of institutions' autonomy. We must also support institutions' rich diversity, and we look for consultation outcomes that support autonomy and diversity."As institutions we are committed to a rigorous evidence-based consideration of issues and we will be applying that standard to our appraisal of the proposals in the consultation paper. It will be important to determine whether the further changes proposed would work to strengthen institutions' performance and effectiveness."We will make the case for outcomes from the consultation that:protect the strong democratic elements of university governance including the freedom for all staff and students to elect members of the governing body, andensure that a wide range of diverse and able candidates are attracted to the leadership role of chairing governing bodies, and that they are selected in a way which commands the confidence of the whole governing body including staff and students."We will discuss whether various of the proposals in the consultation are appropriate subjects for government policy or legislation, or whether they reflect recommendations which the Von Prondzynski Review made to universities rather than to government. "The Scottish Government has made a significant investment in the higher education sector in recent years which has been invaluable in keeping the sector competitive on an international stage and delivering for the economy at home. We need to ensure that the outcomes from this consultation are consistent with universities' autonomous capacity to deliver a social, economic and cultural return on that investment."   Notes for news editorsUniversities perform multiple roles for a diverse range of stakeholders, all of whom have high expectations of a well performing sector and not all of which pull in the same direction. This diversity amongst stakeholders is reflected in universities' governing bodies that include over 200 individuals drawn from Scotland's public, private and third sectors who sit alongside universities' own staff and students. Within each institution, a body that reflects this level of diversity reaches agreement on a strategic direction for the higher education institution it serves. This inclusive process provides the legitimacy that underpins universities' autonomy and the freedom for universities to chart a course that is independent of Government or Parliament.Currently, around one-third of governing body members, on average, are elected by constituencies including staff, students and alumni.There are robust and extensive mechanisms in place to ensure accountability for public and private investment in universities and to regulate universities' operations. These mechanisms run to over 550 separate lines of external reporting.An appraisal of the current state of university governance is available here: http://www.scottishuniversitygovernance.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Scottish-Code-of-Good-HE-Governance-ONE-YEAR-ON-final-4NOVEMBER.pdf The Scottish Government's consultation can be found here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0046/00462633.pdf
Categories: Universities

Universities Scotland welcomes progress to widen access and improve retention

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 10:27
Universities Scotland responded to widening access data published by the Scottish Funding Council today (Tuesday 4 November) in Learning for All by welcoming the progress the report shows on access and retention.Learning for All presents annual statistics on widening access in the college and university sector. The 2014 report shows an increase in the number of entrants to undergraduate degrees in university from the most deprived areas of Scotland using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). The 2014 Learning for All report uses data for 2012/13, the most recent data available, but this pre-dates the creation of additional places ring-fenced for widening access and so does not capture the impact of these additional places. The report found:The number of Scottish entrants to undergraduate degrees from the 20% most deprived postcodes (SIMD20) increased from 12.8 per cent of all entrants in 2011/12 to 13.3 per cent in 2012/13 (table 2).The number of Scottish entrants to undergraduate degrees from the 40 per cent most deprived postcodes (SIMD40) increased from 28.6 per cent in 2011/12 to 29.0 per cent in 2012/13.There has been significant progress in the number of students articulating from college into university with full credit for their Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND). A total of 3,469 students articulated with full credit (advanced standing) in 2012/13 which represents an increase of more than 500 students since 2010/11, an increase of 17 per cent (table 7).Significantly, the data show an increase in retention rates in addition to the increase in access. This is important to higher education institutions as the sector firmly believes that the drive to wide access has to go hand-in-hand with retention activities to ensure that students don't just enter higher education but complete with successful outcomes.Retention rates have increased steadily over the last four year period with sector-level retention rate for all students of 91.3 per cent in 2012/13, up from 89.7 per cent in 2009/10 (table 13).Retention rates have also improved for students from the most deprived postcodes, increasing to 88.1 per cent for SIMD40 in 2012/13 up from 86.2 per cent in 2009/10 (table 13).Retention rates for students declaring a disability have also increased from 88.9 per cent in 2009/10 to 90.2 per cent in 2012/13 (table 13). Universities Scotland responded to widening access data published by the Scottish Funding Council today (Tuesday 4 November) in Learning for All by welcoming the progress the report shows on access and retention.Learning for All presents annual statistics on widening access in the college and university sector. The 2014 report shows an increase in the number of entrants to undergraduate degrees in university from the most deprived areas of Scotland using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). The 2014 Learning for All report uses data for 2012/13, the most recent data available, but this pre-dates the creation of additional places ring-fenced for widening access and so does not capture the impact of these additional places. The report found:The number of Scottish entrants to undergraduate degrees from the 20% most deprived postcodes (SIMD20) increased from 12.8 per cent of all entrants in 2011/12 to 13.3 per cent in 2012/13 (table 2).The number of Scottish entrants to undergraduate degrees from the 40 per cent most deprived postcodes (SIMD40) increased from 28.6 per cent in 2011/12 to 29.0 per cent in 2012/13.There has been significant progress in the number of students articulating from college into university with full credit for their Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND). A total of 3,469 students articulated with full credit (advanced standing) in 2012/13 which represents an increase of more than 500 students since 2010/11, an increase of 17 per cent (table 7).Significantly, the data show an increase in retention rates in addition to the increase in access. This is important to higher education institutions as the sector firmly believes that the drive to wide access has to go hand-in-hand with retention activities to ensure that students don't just enter higher education but complete with successful outcomes.Retention rates have increased steadily over the last four year period with sector-level retention rate for all students of 91.3 per cent in 2012/13, up from 89.7 per cent in 2009/10 (table 13).Retention rates have also improved for students from the most deprived postcodes, increasing to 88.1 per cent for SIMD40 in 2012/13 up from 86.2 per cent in 2009/10 (table 13).Retention rates for students declaring a disability have also increased from 88.9 per cent in 2009/10 to 90.2 per cent in 2012/13 (table 13).Commenting on the figures for access and retention, Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, said:"The Scottish Funding Council's statistical report on widening access out today is helpful and well-rounded because it looks at the issue across schools, college and university which is exactly the holistic approach that Scotland needs to take to this complex and important issue. It also looks at widening access alongside retention which is very important to universities; a drive to widen access must be inseparable from the drive to ensure those students achieve successful outcomes.The report brings good news, with progress across every measure of widening access to university, articulation into university from college and rates of retention. What's more, this data is time-lagged so the figures do not yet take into account the additional places that were created specifically for SIMD40 entrants and that came into effect the year after this data report. We'd expect to see a step-change in next year's data." New to the 2014 Learning for All report are data showing school attainment, expressed in the proportion of students achieving three As at Higher or Advanced Higher level by SIMD (table 22c). Presentation of this data, which uses similar measures to that shown for university entrants, provides useful context for consideration of the scale of the challenge involved in widening access to university. The data show some improvement in the attainment of minimum entry requirements for university by pupils from the most deprived 20 per cent of postcodes between 2011and 2012 but the data still show a significant gap between attainment levels in the most and least deprived postcodes in 2012 with only 4.3 per cent of pupils from SIMD20 postcodes achieving 3 As at Higher and Advanced Higher level compared with 26.1 per cent of pupils from Scotland's most affluent postcodes.Responding to the figures, which helpfully set the challenge of widening access in the wider context, Mr Sim said:"One of the most striking things in this report is the data which show a vast attainment gap between the richest and poorest pupils when it comes to achieving Highers and Advanced Highers. To widen access successfully you need to take a life-cycle approach from the early years, involving parents, throughout primary and secondary school, college and beyond, creating second chances for those that want them. "The drive to widen access needs to be considered as well as concerted; informed by evidence of what works, sharing of best practice and a collaborative approach to a challenge we all face. This approach has the full commitment of every higher education institution in Scotland. Universities are reaching down into schools to help raise attainment and aspiration and schools are working hard too. Scotland will see greater progress by acknowledging that widening access to university is a shared responsibility and one that all partners need to work together to address."NotesUniversities Scotland's report, Access All Areas, published in 2013 shows a range of widening access initiatives at institutions across the higher education sector which take the life-cycle approach to widening access from initiatives aimed at the early years, with the involvement of parents, throughout school, college and targeted initiatives aimed at mature students.Additional places, ring-fenced for students from SIMD40 postcodes and for students articulating from college into university were created for academic year 2013/14 onwards. The impact of the additional places is expected to show in data available from 2015.Learning for All can be found on the Scottish Funding Council website: http://www.sfc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Statistical_publications_SFCST062014_LearningforAlleighthupdatereportonmea/Learning_for_All_2014_report.pdf
Categories: Universities

Working Smarter 2014: A New Phase of University Efficiencies

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 08:00
To thrive in a fiercely competitive international context, Scottish universities must make the most of their resources and invest for continual improvement. This report shows how Scotland's higher education sector has successfully delivered, one year ahead of schedule, on the three-year goals developed by the Universities Scotland Efficiencies Taskforce in 2012 and sets out a second ambitious three-year action plan for further collaborative efficiency savings to 2017. Download Working Smarter 2014 To thrive in a fiercely competitive international context, Scottish universities must make the most of their resources and invest for continual improvement. This report shows how Scotland's higher education sector has successfully delivered, one year ahead of schedule, on the three-year goals developed by the Universities Scotland Efficiencies Taskforce in 2012 and sets out a second ambitious three-year action plan for further collaborative efficiency savings to 2017. Download Working Smarter 2014
Categories: Universities

Implications of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) in Scottish schools on admissions for universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 09:20
This paper sets out the implications of CfE for university admissions, and is intended to serve as a helpful brief for universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Universities Scotland has produced it in response to suggestions from our 19 higher education institutions. Around 4,800 students of Scottish-domicile applied to at least one higher education institution in England, Wales or Northern Ireland through UCAS in 2014 therefore the pedagogic and qualification changes introduced by CfE will have an impact on higher education institutions beyond Scotland. Read the paper here This paper sets out the implications of CfE for university admissions, and is intended to serve as a helpful brief for universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Universities Scotland has produced it in response to suggestions from our 19 higher education institutions. Around 4,800 students of Scottish-domicile applied to at least one higher education institution in England, Wales or Northern Ireland through UCAS in 2014 therefore the pedagogic and qualification changes introduced by CfE will have an impact on higher education institutions beyond Scotland. Read the paper here
Categories: Universities

Universities Scotland responds to the result of the referendum on Scottish independence

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 07:05
Responding to the result of the referendum on Scottish independence, as declared on 19 September 2014, Professor Pete Downes, the Convener of Universities Scotland, said: “The electorate has made its choice and we fully respect the decision they have made for Scotland’s future. “The university sector is proud to be rooted firmly in Scotland and to be a central part of the nation’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing. Universities are ambitious for Scotland’s success under any constitutional settlement, and we intend to continue to compete amongst the world’s best for our teaching, our research and the attraction of talent. “We do not believe in standing still, nor do we see the outcome of this referendum in those terms. We will continue to work closely with the Scottish and UK Governments to secure the best possible funding and policy environment for our higher education institutions, in the interests of Scotland’s success.” ENDS Responding to the result of the referendum on Scottish independence, as declared on 19 September 2014, Professor Pete Downes, the Convener of Universities Scotland, said:“The electorate has made its choice and we fully respect the decision they have made for Scotland’s future.“The university sector is proud to be rooted firmly in Scotland and to be a central part of the nation’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing. Universities are ambitious for Scotland’s success under any constitutional settlement, and we intend to continue to compete amongst the world’s best for our teaching, our research and the attraction of talent.“We do not believe in standing still, nor do we see the outcome of this referendum in those terms. We will continue to work closely with the Scottish and UK Governments to secure the best possible funding and policy environment for our higher education institutions, in the interests of Scotland’s success.”ENDS
Categories: Universities

Universities Scotland announces Convener for 2014/16

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 15:55
With the start of the new academic year upon us, Universities Scotland, the body which represents Scotland's 19 higher education institutions, today (4 September) has announced the election, by his peers, of Professor Pete Downes as its Convener for a second term for the period 1 August 2014 to 31 July 2016. It was also confirmed that Professor Petra Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, has been elected as Vice-Convener, also for a second term and for the same period.Professor Downes is Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee and has previously led Universities Scotland's Research and Knowledge Committee. As Convener for the past two years, Professor Downes has overseen a period in which the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act, a major piece of legislation affecting higher education, passed through the Scottish Parliament, and has brought his own personal commitment and enthusiasm for widening access and creating opportunities for people of all backgrounds and for universities' contribution to enhancing Scotland's innovative potential to the role. It is with the last two years' experience that Professor Downes will approach the upcoming challenges of the next two, including; working to ensure universities' priorities are met whatever the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum; the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014; securing public investment in Scotland's universities in the Scottish Government's next spending round in 2015; and working with all political parties before and after the 2016 Scottish General Election. With the start of the new academic year upon us, Universities Scotland, the body which represents Scotland's 19 higher education institutions, today (4 September) has announced the election, by his peers, of Professor Pete Downes as its Convener for a second term for the period 1 August 2014 to 31 July 2016. It was also confirmed that Professor Petra Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, has been elected as Vice-Convener, also for a second term and for the same period. Professor Downes is Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee and has previously led Universities Scotland's Research and Knowledge Committee. As Convener for the past two years, Professor Downes has overseen a period in which the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act, a major piece of legislation affecting higher education, passed through the Scottish Parliament, and has brought his own personal commitment and enthusiasm for widening access and creating opportunities for people of all backgrounds and for universities' contribution to enhancing Scotland's innovative potential to the role. It is with the last two years' experience that Professor Downes will approach the upcoming challenges of the next two, including; working to ensure universities' priorities are met whatever the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum; the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014; securing public investment in Scotland's universities in the Scottish Government's next spending round in 2015; and working with all political parties before and after the 2016 Scottish General Election. Universities Scotland's Director, Alastair Sim, said:"I am delighted that Professor Downes is willing to undertake a second term in this role as our universities continue to deliver for Scotland's people and the economy. The Universities Scotland team looks forward to continuing to work with him and Professor Wend as Vice-Convener."Professor Downes, Convener of Universities Scotland, said:"I relish the opportunities the next two years will bring in terms of ensuring we secure the right public policies that allow our institutions to flourish at home and internationally. We have a strong and diverse sector in Scotland and there is a great deal of confidence in our sector's ability to deliver, as we've seen with record student numbers, and the highest student satisfaction, the best graduate employment levels in the UK, more businesses investing in Scotland because of our research and graduate strengths, and more spin-out companies being created from Scottish institutions. We will continue to deliver for Scotland."
Categories: Universities

Students vote Scotland as the best place to study in the UK in 2014

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 08:41
Responding to the publication of the results of the 2014 National Student Survey (NSS), a Universities Scotland spokesperson said:"Students have endorsed Scotland's universities as the best place to pursue a higher education in the UK, with overall satisfaction reaching a three-year high at 87%. For new students starting their courses in September, and for prospective students looking to apply for entry in 2015, this is a big vote of confidence from their peers already studying in Scottish institutions. "Looking at the detail of survey, Scotland's universities recorded improved or equal satisfaction from students in 21 out of 22 measures this year, including on level of feedback, teaching, academic support, learning resources and personal development. The survey results reflect institutions' commitment to continuous self-improvement as they look to provide world class higher education and the best possible student experience. As well as being the best place to study in the UK, official figures published earlier this summer show Scottish universities are producing the UK's most employable graduates with the best rates of positive destinations of work or further study." Responding to the publication of the results of the 2014 National Student Survey (NSS), a Universities Scotland spokesperson said:"Students have endorsed Scotland's universities as the best place to pursue a higher education in the UK, with overall satisfaction reaching a three-year high at 87%. For new students starting their courses in September, and for prospective students looking to apply for entry in 2015, this is a big vote of confidence from their peers already studying in Scottish institutions. "Looking at the detail of survey, Scotland's universities recorded improved or equal satisfaction from students in 21 out of 22 measures this year, including on level of feedback, teaching, academic support, learning resources and personal development. The survey results reflect institutions' commitment to continuous self-improvement as they look to provide world class higher education and the best possible student experience. As well as being the best place to study in the UK, official figures published earlier this summer show Scottish universities are producing the UK's most employable graduates with the best rates of positive destinations of work or further study." NOTESNSS 2014 - overall satisfaction recorded by full-time undergraduate students:•      Overall satisfaction in Scotland in 2014: 87% (up from 86% in 2013)•      England 85% (no change on 2013 levels)•      Wales 85% (up 1% on 2013)•      Northern Ireland FT 87% (down 2% on 2013)
Categories: Universities

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