Meeting:Higher Education Academy (HEA) Board of Directors

Meeting:Higher Education Academy (HEA) Board of Directors

Minutes of the HEA Board of Directors

Meeting:Higher Education Academy (HEA) Board of Directors

Date:2 July2014


Venue:Maple House, Birmingham



Professor Sir Bob Burgess (Chair)

Ms Rebecca Bunting

Professor Tony Chapman

Mr Geoff Donnelly

Professor Peter Lutzeier

Professor Don Nutbeam

Mr Johnny Rich

Professor Rama Thirunamachandran

Ms Sara Parkin

In attendance

Professor Stephanie Marshall, Chief Executive

Professor Phil Levy, Deputy Chief Executive (Academic)

Dr Mark Jones, Director (HEA Services)

Ms Heather Jackson, Director (Operations)

Ms Cate Tracey, Head of Finance

Mr William Syms, Head of Marketing and Communications

Ms Hannah Purkis, Company Secretary

Mr Greg Wade

Ms Victoria Lindsey, QAA

Dr Cliona O’Neil, HEFCW

Mr Rob Stroud, HEFCE


Mr Anthony Carey

Professor Janice Kay

Professor Mike Mannion

Ms Debbie McVitty

Brian Baverstock, SFC

Judith Shaw, DELNI

2.0Declarations of interest

2.1No declaration of interests were made at the meeting.

3.0Minutes of the meeting held on 2 April 2014

3.1The minutes of the Board meeting held on 2 April 2014 were approved as a true record under the reserved business agenda.

4.0Matters arising

4.1The Board noted the progress on the matters arising since the meeting in April 2014.

5.0Chief Executive’s Report

5.1The Chief Executive updated the Board on key highlights, progress and achievements since the last Board meeting on 2 April2014. It was explained that the HEA had been through a change process and were now progressing its plans for 2014-15 focused on four workstreams. The HEA’s enhancement events would be key to continued engagement with the sector and would include a range of activities including discipline specific workshops; new to teaching sessions and keynotes themed according to key publications.

5.2The HEA had achieved and exceeded 50,000 Fellows representing 25% of the academic community.

5.3The HEA had received the annual risk assessment from HEFCE which stated that the HEA was not at a high risk based on the current context of reduced funding for 2013-14.

5.4There had been a significant amount of engagement with the sector including; eight visits to institutions; five conferences; and two VC dinners.

5.5The proposal for the European Academy of Learning and Teaching had been submitted to Mary MacAleese, chair of the EU high level group on the ‘Modernisation of higher education in Europe’ with positive feedback received. The HEA would be submitting a tender for the European Academy and would work closely with the European University Association.

5.6The Chief Executive and Chair of the Board had met with David Willets MP in which discussions took place on the HEAR, the GPA project and HESA data. David Willets MP wished to fund the GPA project, however, needed to identify potential sources of funding. The Chief Executive would follow up on the GPA funding. The project was however progressing and the first stage of trialling had been completed from which analysis was being undertaken to explore specific issues. Feedback indicated that a GPA system could be implemented and recommendations from the pilot would be published in the Autumn. In relation to the HEAR, more than half a million were being issued to students, however, due to the complexity of their student records system some institutions had not yet introduced the HEAR.

5.7Discussions ensued on the feedback from the sector with regard the reductions in funding. The HEA reported that from discussions with the sector feedback had been positive and there was a willingness to work with the HEA particularly to facilitate a ‘What works’ programme. Some concern was expressed from HEFCW regarding partnership management support and the maintenance of a presence in Wales. HEFCE reported that despite some disquiet vocalised in the media, the majority of the sector understood the funding context and respected the positive steps the HEA were taking to ensure continued mobility within the sector.

RESOLVED (HEAB 23/14) –The report was noted.

6.0Annual Budget 2014-15

6.1The Head of Finance presented the annual budget which focused on the management of the reduction of income and income generated as part of the Business Development Strategy. The budget included income from subscriptions; individual professional recognition; events; and UK and International Consultancy. The budget also included associated expenditure related to payroll, overheads and sector delivery. Finance and General Purposes Committee had reviewed the budget in detail and recommended approval of the budget.

Professor Rama Thirunamachandran left the meeting

6.2It was confirmed that any additional restricted funds received would reflect full economic costing and would not impact on a balanced budget.

6.3The development of a sales pipeline was suggested and it was confirmed that the CRM would be used to monitor pipeline activity and would be reported to Executive on a monthly basis.

RESOLVED (HEAB 24/14)- The annual budget for 2014-15 was approved for adoption.

7.0Governance Review

7.1 The Company Secretary presented the outcomes of the review of the governance arrangements, highlighting a number of areas of good practice along with the general themes on which the recommendations were based. These included improving the clarity of focus of the Board and reduction in duplication of reporting along with concerns about sharing business sensitive information with the Board. The recommendations were focused on reviewing terms of reference for the Board and Committees to improve clarity and focus; the introduction of a maximum term of office for committee members; and the introduction of electronic meeting papers to reduce administrative effort.

7.2It was agreed that the cost base of the Board would be reviewed to identify how the Board could operate more efficiently. Although it was noted that some of the recommendations in the report already outlined how the Board could become more efficient.

7.3It was felt that the role of observers should be reviewed as the funders move from being funders to stakeholders. This would be encompassed in a wider review of stakeholder management including innovation of engagement. Observers were keen to continue to be involved in the Board meetings for as long as funding was provided.

7.4The appropriateness of the number of Board members and Committee members was recommended for review along with the skill base of members. Particular concern was raised regarding the lack of representation over the past year by the NUS and the need for student representation on the Board.

7.5The recommendations contained within the report would be progressed along with a further review of how the Board could operate more efficiently.

RESOLVED (HEAB 25/14) - The recommendations were agreed and would be progressed by the Company Secretary.

8.0Operational Plan 2014-15

8.1The Chief Executiveoutlined the high level plan of activities for next year under which were more detailed team plans which would be monitored on a monthly basis. The HEA’s activities for 2014-15 and beyond would be aligned to four workstreams; Curriculum Design; Innovative Pedagogies; Student Transitions and Staff Transitions. A high level masterplan had been developed which mapped the HEA’s activities to the four workstreams. The services related to subscription income had also been outlined including the HEA’s commitment to the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS).

8.2Discussions ensued on the work of the HEA in supporting institutions on learning and teaching and the measurement of the student experience. It was felt that although the HEA’s customers are the institutions, the HEA’s impact is measured through the student experience, the students of which are the customers of the institutions. A suggestion was put forward for further consideration to be given to how the HEA measures whether it has been effective. This would be reviewed as part of activities related to learning analytics and big data.

RESOLVED (HEAB 26/14) - The Board noted the Operational Plan for 2014-15.

9.0Organisational Objectives 2014-15

9.1The Chief Executive presented the HEA’s organisational objectives for 2014-15 to the Board further to approval at Finance and General Purposes Committee. The organisational objectives were aligned to key outcomes and KPIs which will be monitored throughout the year. It was also explained that the objectives were being presented to the Board earlier than in previous years to allow objectives to be set for staff prior to the start of the year.

9.2It was suggested that the HEA consider applying for Investors in People. The HEA had previously investigated Investors in People and felt that EFQM would be more appropriate and aligned well to the Best Companies Survey. This would be considered once the restructure had been embedded.

9.3It was queried whether a measurement directly related to the change process should be included. The Board were reassured that although there was not a direct measure, activities were being planned including a re-induction programme and all re-deployed employees would be on a two-way trial period.

9.4The Board noted that the KPIs were ambitious but suitably challenging.

RESOLVED (HEAB 27/14) - The Board approved the HEA’s organisational objectives for 2014-15.

10.0 Board Committee updates and key messages

10.1The Board noted the updates received from committee chairs on the key issues and recommendations from each of the meetings.

RESOLVED (HEAB 28/14) – The update was noted.

11.0Any other business

11.1The Board were thanked by the Chair of the Board for their support provided over the past ten years. The Executive and the Board also thanked the Chair of the Board for chairing the Board and the support provided to the HEA. In this time, there had been significant achievements as well as management through sensitive periods.

12.0Date of next meeting – 19 November 2014, 10am, Woburn House, London

The meeting concluded at approximately 3.25pm.