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All-staff briefing: Setting the path to our centenary year

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Vice-Chancellor Robert Van de Noort was joined by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Parveen Yaqoob as they outlined the plans for the implementation of our University Strategy leading into our centenary in 2026. They covered how these plans will be fulfilled and what this will mean for colleagues, students and the wider community.  

Robert emphasised that “We have a University we can be very proud of but we can aim much higher” and laid out our goals for 2026: 

  • A diverse student community which the University actively listens to  

  • Excellence across research, teaching and the student experience 

  • Ranked in top 25 for the UK and top 200 globally 

  • All academic units rated in top half of rankings 

  • The greenest research-intensive university 

  • High graduate employment 

  • Contributing significantly to local prosperity  

Robert stressed that these goals require a collaborative endeavour which involves all staffsupported by a distributed leadership model that goes beyond just the University Executive Board. He emphasised the importance of achieving excellence across both our research and particularly our teaching, as these would ensure higher student recruitment and, through that, greater financial sustainability.   

Robert and Parveen then used the four strategic pillars to demonstrate work we are already doing to achieve these goals, as well as our next steps. 

Community 

Building a diverse and inclusive community of students, staff and alumni is essential to our future success, and our staff networks are already playing a key role in doing so. We need also to continue listening to our students, as we have done in our Student Voice and Partnership project, and acting on their feedback. 

Excellence 

Key to building on our long history of research excellence is developing partnerships with others to amplify and strengthen our work, such as our growing partnership with the British Museum and further strengthening that with the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. 

We also need to improve consistency in teaching and learning, and the Strategic Foundations Programme is working towards structural improvements, such as changes to our academic year.  

Sustainability 

There is still progress to be made on financial sustainability, and this will be partly addressed through the Strategic Foundations ProgrammeIn terms of income generation, wneed to become a more commercially aware university, as we are doing through our Cine Valley project, for which we have recently agreed to a rental income for over 199 years. 

Our work on environmental sustainability will be covered in depth in an upcoming all-staff briefing on Thursday 21 October with Pro-Vice-Chancellor Mark Fellowes, but we have already achieved significant milestones such as disinvesting from fossil fuels, and our climate stripes have truly gone global. 

Engaged University 

We must continue to look beyond our campuses so that we can benefit our wider region and beyond. Our partnership with the Royal Berkshire Hospital continues to deepen as we consolidate research collaborations and see improvements to patient care. Our Community Action Partnership is bringing together students and staff with local activists, to spark change in communities in Reading.  

A video recording of the event is available below:

You can also access the recording on Microsoft Stream.


Upcoming talks  

Date 

Time 

Topic 

Wednesday 6 October 

13:00-13:50 

Strategic Foundations Programme update  

TBC 

TBC 

Update on USS pension reform 

Thursday 21 October 

14:00-14:50 

Environmental sustainability – becoming the university that lives by its principles 

Thursday 18 November 

14:00-14:50 

Virtual field classes and immersive teaching experiences – stories of innovative teaching 

Wednesday 1 December 

14:00-14:50 

A conversation with council members 

Wednesday 16 December 

14:00-14:50 

Autumn term in review 

All colleagues will be sent an Outlook Calendar invite ahead of the session. If you have any queries, please contact communications@reading.ac.uk. 

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Previous talks 

  • You can view our all-staff briefings from last academic year through Microsoft Streams. 

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