2 3 Contents Background and Overview 04 Mission, Vision and Aims Aston Graduates Aston Research Partnerships and Business Engagement International Relations and Networks People and Values Finance and Infrastructure Sustainability and Social Responsibility Reputation and Influence 58
3 Background and Overview 5 Background and Overview With its focus on the application of knowledge for economic and social benefit, Aston University has a distinct mission that sets it apart. From our foundation as the Birmingham Municipal Technical School in 1895, through the granting of University status in 1966, to the present day we have retained our focus on this core purpose. The 1889 Technical Instruction Act sought to enable great industrial centres, like Birmingham, to set up colleges: for instruction in the principles of science that are applicable to industries and employers In 1966 Aston University s Royal Charter brought that purpose into the modern era in establishing Aston as a University: to advance and apply learning for the benefit of industry and commerce The 2012 Sunday Times University Guide summarised Aston s position: You will struggle to find a university in Britain more keenly attuned to the needs of business and industry Going Forward to 2020, Aston will maintain its responsiveness to the needs of a changing world whilst remaining true to the distinctive, original purpose. Our focus brings real benefits - delivering social mobility by helping students acquire the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to make a successful career in business, industry and the professions, enabling them to explore and fulfil individual potential; fostering their initiative and creativity as responsible global citizens, imaginative thinkers and researchers and successful entrepreneurs. We thrive on close collaboration and partnership with businesses, large and small at local, national and global levels. Our employability track record is second to none, summed up in the 2012 Sunday Times University Guide: Not even Oxbridge can boast a higher proportion of students gaining graduate level jobs than Aston Our scholarship is focussed on translating world-class research into benefits for the economy and society, and for the local and global communities to which we belong. We capture our ethos in the statement: Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research At Aston we are dedicated to developing the people and the ideas that will shape the businesses and communities of tomorrow.
4 Background and Overview 7
5 Mission, Vision and Aims 9 Mission, Vision and Aims Our Mission To be the UK s leading University for business and the professions, where original research, enterprise and inspiring teaching deliver global impact Our Vision In 2020 Aston will have an international reputation as the source of the people and the ideas that will shape the businesses and the communities of tomorrow We will be: > > ranked within the top 1% of universities in the world > > exceptional in terms of our worldwide reputation for graduate employability as a result of innovative teaching and placement opportunities > > recognised for excellence in research that delivers real solutions for local and global challenges, develops research leaders and provides the foundations for new businesses > > focussed on the needs of business and the professions, with courses and research that build on our strengths > > transforming lives: developing sought-after, entrepreneurial graduates from a wide range of backgrounds with global citizenship skills > > delivering our research and teaching in collaboration with international partners and innovative businesses > > a University with sustainability at the core of all we do, meeting world-class standards for environmental performance > > a welcoming community that is a great place to work and study.
6 Mission, Vision and Aims 11 Our Aims Our Mission and Vision focus on two core aims : 01. Developing internationally sought after Aston Graduates 02. Delivering world-leading Aston Research These are supported by strategies for developing: 03. Partnerships and Business Engagement 04. International Relations and Networks To be a successful University where excellent research and scholarship thrive, Aston must also be a great place to work and study, and a successful and responsible business. 05. People and Values 06. Finance and Infrastructure This is addressed by our aims and objectives in: 07. Sustainability and Social Responsibility The quality of our graduates and our research are central in framing our: 08. Reputation and Influence
7 Mission, Vision and Aims 13 The following eight sections outline the key actions, ambitions and strengths that underpin our mission, vision and aims.
8 01. Aston Graduates 15 Aston Graduates Access Widening participation ensuring high potential students from all backgrounds can gain the benefits of university education and the social mobility that comes with professional careers. Achieved through: an outstanding Schools and Colleges Liaison team, working with partner schools locally and supporting schools and colleges more widely; Masterclasses; student mentoring and volunteering in schools; the Aimhigher collaboration; school visit programmes; competitions; collaborations with organisations and initiatives with similar goals such as Pure Potential, the Aston University Engineering Academy and the UTC programme; scholarships and bursaries; support for care leavers; use of contextual information and interviewing in admissions.
9 01. Aston Graduates 17 Success Success for all our students and alumni Achieved through: innovative learning and teaching; high levels of support in key areas such as learner development, maths, computing, writing and english; academic tutor system; peer and alumni mentoring; placements: work-based and international learning opportunities; developing employability skills and international competences; entrepreneurship programmes; a sector leading careers service. Global citizenship An innovative, international outlook a differentiator for employers in a competitive graduate marketplace. Achieved through: a diverse student environment and an international faculty: mixing with colleagues from many different countries and backgrounds; developing the ability to work in and lead diverse teams, recognising that diversity drives innovation; language provision for all students; intercultural awareness programmes; international exchanges; overseas placements in companies; year abroad placements; global citizenship education; international activities led by the Students Guild.
10 01. Aston Graduates 19 Employability and entrepreneurship Sought-after graduates world leading employability combined with confidence and business drive. Achieved through: professionally accredited degrees; business engagement in teaching and the curriculum; international skills; employability skills; placements; high levels of achievement (1st and 2.1); work experience, Graduate Advantage for graduate internships, Job Shop opportunities; leadership development through clubs, societies and other Students Guild activities; entrepreneurship development: SPEED*, BSEEN**, Aston Entrepreneurs; business competitions; alumni mentoring; a sector-leading careers service. Quality learning Developing independent critical thinkers through research-informed, professionally-focussed courses at undergraduate, Masters and research degree levels. Achieved through: inspiring teaching; excellent supervision; innovative project and problem-based learning approaches such as Active Engineering ; a student and course-appropriate range of modes and channels; professionally qualified teaching staff and active researchers; professional accreditation; research-based project work; a strong Graduate School; teaching and support for dissertations. *Student Placements for Entrepreneurs in Education (SPEED) **The Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network (BSEEN)
11 01. Aston Graduates A great student experience An inspirational and supportive experience delivering high student satisfaction and excellent performance. Achieved through: outstanding and enthusiastic lecturers, including world-leading researchers; a strong partnership between students and staff; a dynamic and committed Students Guild; a jointly developed and owned Student Charter; collaborative activities such as the Welcome Week; effective feedback mechanisms at all levels translated into improvements; high performing student services such as the Hub, the ARC and the Martin Luther King Multi-Faith Centre; intercultural activities to bring the diverse student body together, cross boundaries and expand horizons; support from our alumni.
12 02. Aston Research 23 Aston Research Translational research with impact Ranging from discovery of new knowledge to application and exploitation with an emphasis on translation and impact. Research teams working closely with business, government, services and communities to provide innovative practical answers to real problems.
13 02. Aston Research 25 Collaborative and interdisciplinary Exploiting our compact campus and location to develop exciting interdisciplinary collaborations, and working with national and international partners to increase the impact and reach of our work. Building our areas of strength Investing in developing world-leading research centres with interdisciplinary academic communities, welcoming visitors, building outstanding teams of researchers with real critical mass. Existing centres include: Aston Brain Centre; Photonics Institute; European Bioenergy Research Institute; Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing; Aston Centre for Interdisciplinary Research into Language and Diversity; Aston Centre for Critical Infrastructure and Services; Aston Centre for Research in International Business; Aston Centre for Europe; Centre for Forensic Linguistics.
14 02. Aston Research 27 Developing people Outstanding research supervision combined with support and courses offered by the cross-university Graduate School, encouraging research students and research fellows to participate in additional training and gain academic teaching qualifications, as well as applying for prestigious Research Council and National Academy fellowships and grants Research-informed teaching Giving all students the opportunity to participate in research projects and introducing the latest research developments into lecture courses and practical activities.
15 02. Aston Research 29 A great research environment and culture Investing in facilities and infrastructure; active programmes of well attended colloquia across the University; overseas visitors and industry partners working in our teams; research conversations everywhere. Diversity of funding A diverse mix of funding streams including industry, Research Councils, charities, European Research Council and European Union; a research active staff where the majority bring in significant research income and are recognised as leaders in their fields.
16 02. Aston Research Current research strengths > > Strategic HR, Teamwork and Leadership > > Strategy as Practice > > Global Business > > Islamic Finance > > Entrepreneurship and Business Growth > > Marketing Science > > European Languages and Applied Linguistics > > Forensic Linguistics > > Diversity and Gender > > European Politics and Political Science > > Healthy Ageing > > Child Health and Development > > Vision Sciences > > Neuroimaging > > Drug Delivery > > Bioenergy > > Sustainability and Low Carbon Technologies > > Photonics and Sensors > > Information Sciences
17 03. Partnerships and Business Engagement 33 Partnerships and Business Engagement Building strong relationships with business, professional and public sector organisations Including student support and placements, professional and executive development, collaborative research and consultancy. Making full use of collaborative funding schemes (such as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering, Technology Strategy Board programmes) and European Commission funding.
18 03. Partnerships and Business Engagement Contributing to the innovation and economic development landscape of Birmingham and the region Leading partnership activity to deliver real benefits to SMEs in the West Midlands, eg graduate placements (Graduate Advantage), new university-business collaborations (Innovation Vouchers) and graduate entrepreneurship (BSEEN). Providing executive and professional development programmes To individuals and corporate teams.
19 03. Partnerships and Business Engagement Delivering innovative support for SMEs and new business Including encouraging exploitation of intellectual property emanating from our research; supporting new businesses developed by our students, researchers and academic staff; collaborating with Birmingham Science Park Aston; developing new ways to support early business growth.
20 04. International Relations and Networks 39 International Relations and Networks Promoting our reputation and visibility internationally Through our alumni, through agents and ministries, through our research. Improving the scope and reach of a limited number of partnerships, such as that with IIT Delhi and IIT Ropar in India, to form a network of key university partners with whom we have deep relationships including staff and student exchange. Developing high profile cultural collaborations such as the Confucius Institute.
21 04. International Relations and Networks 41 Building our international reputation for research excellence Increasing the number and intensity of our international research collaborations; strengthening our research links with international companies; increasing our visibility at key international meetings and conferences; attracting international conferences to Aston; establishing joint international research centres. Building a diverse international community Continuing to increase the numbers of leading international researchers on the faculty, as well as visiting academics; increased recruitment of outstanding international students at undergraduate, graduate and PhD level.
22 04. International Relations and Networks 43 Developing global citizens Through language skills and international placements for UK and overseas students. Developing joint courses with high quality institutions overseas Delivering both joint and Aston degrees with universities and colleges
23 05. People and Values 45 People and Values People and Values Aston s culture is built on six key values Trust, learning and scholarship, empowerment, engagement, innovation and ambition.
24 05. People and Values Culture transformation, articulated through Aston First Developing a more united, more innovative and more dynamic organisation, able to excel in an ever more competitive world. A consistently high performance culture Delivered through: the best people; reward, recognition and appreciation; staff development; leadership; community; communication and engagement; the environment; operational excellence.
25 06. Finance and Infrastructure 49 Finance and Infrastructure A predictable, stable financial platform To support the University strategy, achieving an annual surplus of 3 5% on turnover; generating the cash flow to support investment in academic and physical infrastructure, and to improve the student experience.
26 06. Finance and Infrastructure A high quality, sustainable, visually appealing and integrated University estate To improve the student and staff experience and enhance our research. An information and ICT environment to support world class research and teaching Developing the Library, and the ICT infrastructure to support the changing needs of students, new delivery modes for teaching, research and management.
27 07. Sustainability and Social Responsibility 53 Sustainability and Social Responsibility Commitment to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) Improving the integration of sustainability and social responsibility by embedding our activities in this area into all aspects of University life.
28 07. Sustainability and Social Responsibility Sustainable campus and infrastructure A sustainability strategy ensuring that Aston is recognised as a top 10 UK University for sustainability performance. Including developments such as: wind turbines; grass roofs to encourage biodiversity; rainwater collection units in new halls of residences; a combined heat and power plant reducing CO 2 emissions. Social responsibility and sustainability literacy Extending across the University curriculum changes aimed at enabling all graduates to be literate in social responsibility and sustainability.
29 07. Sustainability and Social Responsibility Community engagement and involvement Contributing to the development and regeneration of the region, organisations and communities. Opportunities for students and staff to be involved with the local community at both an academic and extra-curricular level.
30 08. Reputation and Influence 59 Reputation and Influence Creating global awareness of Aston s strengths Highlighting our distinctiveness, our positioning as a brand, and our rankings in league tables. Ensuring that the quality of our degrees and of our research is communicated clearly to both local and international audiences.
31 08. Reputation and Influence Shaping Higher Education for the future Ensuring that our distinctive approach to learning and research plays a strong role.
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