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All staff briefing on Portfolio Review: video available

Elizabeth McCrum

The most recent Vice-Chancellor all-staff briefing took place last week (25 February 2021) - thank you to all who took part and submitted questions. The session focused on the Portfolio Review Pathway, within the wider context of the priorities for education and the student experience.

In his opening remarks, Vice-Chancellor Robert Van de Noort said the government announcement about a phased easing of Coronavirus restrictions was a positive news, and that it felt right to be cautious and monitor the impact of changes before moving to the next stage.

He said the Portfolio Review Pathway was one of the four pathways or areas of work to emerge from our Post-COVID-19 Response Programme – the others being Ways of Working, Strategic Alignment of Schools & Functions and, Expectations & Workload Management.

Robert said that together, these pathways form an important part of implementing the University strategy and put in place the strong foundation to deliver further work under all four of our strategic principles: Community, Excellence, Sustainability and Engaged University.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Elizabeth McCrum (Education & Student Experience) led the next stage of the session.

Elizabeth gave an overview of the progress made under the current Teaching and Learning Strategy and thanked colleagues for all they have done and continue to do to support the two priorities within the Strategy, developing academic excellence and offering an outstanding student learning experience. As we come towards the end of our current strategy (2021), we will continue to be guided by these priorities, the University’s strategic principles and the Curriculum Framework.

Potfolio Review Pathway

Elizabeth then gave an overview of the Portfolio Review Pathway, within the context of the education and student experience priorities focused on community, excellence and sustainability. Since May last year, we have been working in collaboration with colleagues across Schools and Functions to identify the key activities to take forward in relation to the portfolio and inform the next phase of planning, engagement and delivery.

The Portfolio Review Pathway will take forward four inter-related projects to:

  • Review programmes and module: reducing the size and complexity of the portfolio.
  • Establish programme expectations: providing greater consistency in structure, delivery, timetabling and assessment load.
  • Adopt a University-wide approach to blended learning: considering how to build upon the good practice identified this year to offer a quality blended learning experience.
  • Restructure the academic year: exploring different structures to reorganise teaching and assessment.

Elizabeth explained that by working together to deliver these projects we can ensure our portfolio is distinct, relevant and sustainable, staff workloads are more manageable and students benefit from an improved student learning experience.

Elizabeth finished by recognising and thanking colleagues for their ongoing commitment to improving the education and student experience we offer and encouraged colleagues to get involved with project groups over the coming months to help shape the outcomes of portfolio review within their context and across the institution.

The final section of the session was dedicated to answering questions from colleagues.

Video recording

A recording of the video is available below:



You can also watch the video directly on Microsoft Streams.


For more information on the Portfolio Review Pathway please contact communications@reading.ac.uk. 

Next session 

The next all-staff briefing will take place on Tuesday 9 March from 14.00-15.00, and will focus on the University's digital strategy. All colleagues will receive an Outlook calendar invite ahead of the session.

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