Introducing our Five-Year College Strategy
In Trinity Term 2022, the Governing Body of Worcester College approved a strategic plan to promote excellence across all our endeavours to advance teaching, research and the public good. We are pleased to share this summary of our strategic intent over the next five years.
The product of wide consultation with Fellows, students, staff and Old Members, the new College Strategy establishes three core priorities:
- Academic excellence – To support every student to reach their full potential, and to foster an enriching and rewarding research environment.
- College culture – To be recognised as an inclusive and forward-looking institution that balances tradition and innovation, and in which every member of our community feels welcome, valued, and respected.
- Governance, financial stewardship and operations – To ensure that all our decision-making and operating processes function efficiently and effectively to deliver academic excellence.
In delivering these priorities we aspire to be a college that balances tradition and innovation, is outward-turned and civic-minded. Our priorities are underpinned by a set of values which we will use to guide our work. These are:
- Excellence – Excellence in teaching and research are part of the fabric of Oxford University and at the core of everything that Worcester does. We strive for excellence in all that we do: in the care of our gardens and grounds, the quality of our facilities and food, and the standards by which everyone in College operates.
- Inspiration – Through our teaching and the values that underpin it, we inspire students with learning for life. Through our research, we generate ideas capable of shaping the world.
- Community – We believe that communities thrive when every member can fulfil their potential. Even as we embrace differences in perspective, opinion and ideas, we foster a sense of togetherness and belonging.
- Inclusivity – We listen respectfully, support each other with compassion, sincerity and generosity, and celebrate our differences. Widening participation is key to being inclusive. We want Worcester College to feel welcoming to every member and visitor.
- Trustworthiness – Trusting and rewarding relationships are rooted in reciprocity and generosity. As a forward-looking College, we aim to make sense of the past, present and future. Trust and transparency are essential in the way we reach decisions and implement them.
There's a lot to do, but we have already set to work. Below, we outline some of the key areas we are already working on and our plans for the future:
Tutorial teaching is at the core of the student experience at Worcester, and has been described by Old Members and current students as “enduring”, “inspirational” and “life-changing”. To enhance our provision still further, we will:
- Promote opportunities that contribute to the richness of our intellectual environment by sharing stories of student success and research achievements.
- Take an evidence-based approach to assessing the progress and outcomes of our students.
- Continue our work in outreach and student support to improve the learning experience and further advance our academic goals.
- Establish a mentoring scheme to support those taking up teaching positions in College.
Research is a vital part of academic life at Worcester and the College provides a close-knit, collaborative setting where research can flourish. We will actively support the continued development of a strong research environment for Fellows and research students by:
- Appointing a Fellow to coordinate and stimulate collaboration and engagement by all those in College involved in research.
- Supporting and promoting the research and achievements of all College Fellows, and increasing our fundraising efforts for early career research posts.
- Working towards the creation of a new research centre to foster innovation, collaboration, and public engagement.
We wish to create an academic community that reflects the diversity in society; offers equal opportunity to the brightest minds; invites constructive challenge; allows freedom of speech; and addresses issues that might inhibit College members’ ability to reach their full potential. Our commitments to achieving this include:
- Creating a “One-Worcester” approach to deliver our ambitions and promote an inclusive culture with a positive, affirming and dignified academic, employment and social environment for all.
- Putting in place best practice measures to induct, mentor and train our students, staff and Fellows to ensure that they are fully equipped with the appropriate tools and knowledge to succeed.
- Fulfilling our civic responsibilities and ambitions for social impact by supporting actions and activities that deliver positive change locally, regionally and globally.
- Delivering our Equalities Action Plan to embed the values of equality, diversity and inclusion into our culture and decision-making processes.
Governance and operations
Our responsibility for an estate associated with over 700 years of learning must meet the highest standards in operations, finances and governance. We will respond with flexibility and care to address the rapid changes, innovations and demands of the 21st century. To fulfil our responsibilities as the current custodians of Worcester College, we will:
- Regularly review our policies, systems and governance processes and procedures to ensure we operate in accordance with our values and in line with best practice.
- Secure our future by increasing efficiencies in our financial management and generating new income opportunities, including through our fundraising, conference activities and other academic endeavours.
- Prepare for the future while meeting the needs of today. We will do this by putting sustainability at the forefront of our planning decisions, using technologies to their best effect, and training our staff to flourish in a changing workplace.
- Align our academic, financial, sustainability and equalities strategies wherever possible, and communicate to all our stakeholders with transparency and respect.
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