Outcome Agreement 2019 20 / 2021 - Robert Gordon University

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Outcome Agreement 2019 20 / 2021 - Robert Gordon University
2019 - 20to  2021/22
          / 2021 - 22
Outcome Agreement 2019 20 / 2021 - Robert Gordon University
                 2019    - 20
                      - 20     / 2021
                            / 2021 - 22- 22                                                              INTRODUCTION


                                                  The Robert Gordon University has a mission to transform
                                                  individuals and communities by providing demand-led
                                                  teaching and research to contribute to economic, social
                                                  and cultural development regionally, nationally and
                                                  internationally. This Outcome Agreement articulates how
                                                  the university intends to fulfil this mission over the three-
                                                  year period of the Agreement. The implementation of
                                                  the university’s strategy aligns closely to the five priorities
                                                  of the Scottish Government, and of the Scottish Funding
                                                  Council, summarised at the end of this introduction.

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    The university is known for its accessibility,       by the university. The university is also                                                             The university has grown the numbers
    approachable staff, high quality teaching            one of the largest providers of creative         Access to education                                  of MD20 students enrolling in each
    facilities on its Garthdee campus                    industries graduates in Scotland and has         The university is proud of its record of             successive year. The 2017/18 intake of
    and, crucially, for the closeness of its             played a pivotal role in the development         affording access to higher education                 MD20 students was 161 representing the
    relationships with employers, professions            of Aberdeen City’s new cultural strategy.        in the north-east of Scotland. The                   largest cohort of MD20 students recruited
    and industry. Its reputation for teaching                                                             university’s achievements in access are              at the university. Given the university has
    excellence is demonstrated through its               The university’s reputation and impact           significant. The university has the highest          a strong focus of regional recruitment in a
    Gold award in the UK Teaching Excellence             reaches well beyond its region. It is one        population of students with a disclosed              region with low numbers of MD20 school
    Framework. The university is proud of                of the largest providers of Graduate             disability of all universities in Scotland and       students, this creditable performance
    its sector-leading partnership with its              Apprenticeships in Scotland with its             one of the highest BME intakes (larger               emphasises the significant recruitment of
    regional college, the North East Scotland            recruiting reach stretching well beyond          than the proportion of the local school              such students from out with the region.
    College (NESCol) which is formally                   the north-east of Scotland. It is one            leaving population). The university’s
    recognised as an associate college of the            of the largest providers of distance             record for providing access to learning
                                                                                                                                                               High quality learning
    university. This relationship continues to           learning in the UK – a provision with has        for care experienced learners is strong.
    flourish through the development of the              significant reach internationally. This          Student retention for these groups of                The university prides itself on the
    new TWO PLUS initiative.                             international reach is further amplified in      students is above the Scottish sector                professional-focused and relevant
                                                         the approach to sector level international       average.                                             curriculum it provides learners. The
    The university is proud of its reputation            economic development through projects                                                                 university has strong and extensive links
    as a regional university. It is the first            such as the university’s work with the           The university’s sector-leading                      with professions, employers and industry.
    choice destination of students living                Mexican Government to support skills             partnership with NESCol enables                      This has led to many distinctive features
    in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire                   development in the hydrocarbon sector.           one of Scotland’s largest cohorts of                 of the university’s provision – one of the
    for higher education. The university                                                                  articulating students to enrol with                  most important is the emphasis on work-
    plays a significant role in the life of the          The university is one of the leading             advanced standing each year in the                   based learning through work placement
    region. Through its considerable health              universities in the UK for positive              university. This partnership has individual          or work-based projects present in almost
    and social care provision, it is the main            destinations of its students post-               course level agreements with the vast                all of the university’s undergraduate
    source of graduates for NHS Grampian.                graduation with consistently high                majority of the university’s provision.              curriculum. As global society addresses
    The agility and responsiveness of the                performance in employability statistics.         This is supplemented with agreements                 the challenges and opportunities of the
    university to labour market requirements             In the last year the university has regained     with individual colleges out of the region           fourth industrial revolution, the university
    is reflected in the fact that it was the             its position as the top university in            in subject areas where recruitment to                is now seeking to further enhance
    first university in the UK to introduce              Scotland for employability (and equal            NESCol has been traditionally lower.                 students’ evidencing of their professional
    integrated master’s provision in the allied          fourth in the UK). It is in the top 10% of all                                                        and associated metaskills, as well as
    health professions. The university plays a           UK universities for sustained employment
    significant role in providing graduates to           and graduate earnings and is consistently
    the oil and gas sector and its supply chain          ranked highly in the UK in these metrics
    and is playing an active role in maximising          across all its subject provision. The
    the economic recovery of the region                  university’s reputation for employability
    through its engagement in the City Region            is more than just national: the QS World
    Deal. Over the course of the next few                Rankings placed the university 34th in the
    years this engagement will see the launch            world for graduate employability.
    of the National Subsea Centre hosted

                                                                             1      ST
                        ‘1ST IN SCOTLAND AND
                        EQUAL 4TH IN THE UK                                  2018
                        FOR EMPLOYABILITY.’

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                                                        environment visualisation; industrial
                                                        biotechnology; and smart data and
      ONE OF A HANDFUL OF                               artificial intelligence.
      THAT HAVE                                         In making these investment decisions
      CONSISTENTLY SCORED                               the university has sought to advance
                                                        research capacity in areas where it can
                                                        make an impact on regional or national
      BENCHMARKED                                       policies and economic development. This
      EXPECTED                                          is reflected in the collaborative approach
      PERFORMANCE IN                                    the university has taken as part of the City
      THE NATIONAL                                      Region Deal and with industry partners
                                                        in the development of a National Subsea
                                                        Centre hosted by the university which will
                                                        launch in 2019.
    embedding digital skills and innovation
    into the curriculum. This is reflected in           Knowledge exchange
    the university’s unparalleled reputation            and innovation
    in Scotland for employability which is
    articulated above.                                  This year has seen the launch of a new
                                                        programme of support to develop
    Student satisfaction with the university’s          entrepreneurial activity amongst staff,
    courses is a notable feature. The                   students and recent graduates. This
    university is one of a handful of Scottish          activity will see a wide range of innovation
    institutions that have consistently scored          and start-up support and the launch
    above its benchmarked expected                      of the new RGU Accelerator which will
    performance in the National Student                 be co-located with Opportunity North
    Survey. One of the hallmarks of the                 East’s Digital Entrepreneurship Hub at
    university is the approachability of staff –        the university’s Schoolhill building in the
    academic and support – which is reflected           centre of Aberdeen.
    in the scores for academic support which
    are significantly above the benchmark.              The university has traditionally had a
    As would be expected given the                      strong focus on industry engagement
    university’s reputation for employability, it       regionally, particularly through the
                                                                                                       university’s University Innovation Fund       university to develop its financial resilience
    scores well in surveys relating to the level        regional strengths in oil and gas
                                                                                                       annual plan for 2019/20.                      and commitment to sustainability which is
    of careers support and industry relations.          production, and internationally as well.
                                                                                                                                                     articulated in more detail later in
                                                        The university has structured its business
                                                                                                       Sustainable institutions                      this Agreement.
    Impactful research                                  development activities around sector
                                                        portfolios with a business development         The university is a well-governed
    The university is seeking to grow its                                                                                                            As part of the process for developing
                                                        manager heading each one up. This              institution which is compliant with the
    globally impactful research. This ambition                                                                                                       this Outcome Agreement, the narrative
                                                        approach is one which is unique in             Scottish Code of HE Governance and
    is underpinned by the university’s recently                                                                                                      and targets included in this document
                                                        Scotland and will see the university lead      is currently progressing the necessary
    agreed investment plan to develop                                                                                                                have been considered, in depth, by
                                                        in the development of a sector approach        changes to its statutory instrument
    research capacity in key areas of existing                                                                                                       the university’s Academic Council. This
                                                        to skills gap analysis and demand-led          and other governance documents. The
    strengths: sustainable transport; built                                                                                                          involves elected student representatives.
                                                        interventions to address these. This           oversight and challenge afforded by the
                                                        approach is further detailed in the            Board as a critical friend enables the

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                      - 20     / 2021
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                                                                                                          TO EDUCATION

                                                  Access to Education

                                                  The university is proud of its record of affording access
                                                  to higher education in the north-east of Scotland. The
                                                  university’s achievements in access are significant. The
                                                  university has the highest population of students with
                                                  a disclosed disability of all universities in Scotland and
                                                  has one of the highest BME intakes (larger than the
                                                  proportion of the local school leaving population). The
                                                  university’s record for providing access to learning for
                                                  care experienced learners is strong. Student retention
                                                  for these groups of students is above the Scottish
                                                  sector average.

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                                                        entrants) represented the ninth largest        disability of all universities in Scotland        enrolling students. This is predominantly
      ‘THE UNIVERSITY HAS THE                           cohort in Scotland. The university has a       and has one of the highest BME intakes            carried out in partnership with many
      HIGHEST POPULATION                                strong focus on regional recruitment in a      (larger than the proportion of the local          stakeholder organisations across
                                                        region with low numbers of MD20 school         school leaving population). The university        the north-east region, including local
                                                        students, and this was the original reason     is actively engaged with the Scottish             authorities and colleges, ensuring the
      DISCLOSED DISABILITY                              why the Commission for Widening Access         Race Equality Network Forum to further            most deprived learners are reached and
      OF ALL UNIVERSITIES                               originally indicated that a 10% target for     address representation of minority ethnic         supported effectively through a targeted
      IN SCOTLAND.’                                     some northern universities (including this     groups. Furthermore, the university’s             and sustained programme
                                                        university) may not be suitable. Despite       care experienced student numbers have             of engagement.
                                                        these regional challenges, within this         continue to increase, comparing well
    The university’s sector-leading                     Outcome Agreement, the university              against other Scottish universities.              One of the key approaches when it
    partnership with NESCol enables one of              remains committed to achieving the                                                               comes to recruiting those from protected
    Scotland’s largest cohorts of articulating          target that by AY 2020-21, 10% of full-        Numbers of MD20/40 students have                  characteristic groups is college and
    students to enrol with advanced                     time Scottish-domicile undergraduate           also steadily increased. Throughout               school engagement. Notably the
    standing each year in the university.               entrants should be from MD20 postcodes,        2017/18 the university met its MD40               university’s partnership with NESCol is
    This partnership has individual course              and this document describes a range            headcount and proportion targets,                 sector leading and provides students
    level agreements with the vast majority             of activities through which we will deliver    recruited its MD20 headcount target               with a number of seamless articulation
    of the university’s provision. This is              this. Over the period of this Outcome          but missed its MD20 proportion target             pathways in a range of subjects, further
    supplemented with agreements with                   Agreement, the university is developing a      by 0.2% due to a rise in the total number         information on articulation can be
    individual colleges out of region in subject        better understanding of the MD20 cohort        of Scottish undergraduate entrants to             found later in this Outcome Agreement.
    areas where recruitment to NESCol                   across the region by making better use of      the university. This is despite there being       The university works in partnership
    has been traditionally lower. Over the              alternative indicators of deprivation, such    a smaller number of such postcodes in             with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire
    period of this Outcome Agreement, the               as identifying learners in receipt of free     the region; currently only 5% (233) of the        Councils to identify partner schools and
    university will intensify its collaboration         school meals, and will use this intelligence   4,306 school leavers in Aberdeen City             care experienced young people. This
    with existing partners to establish new             to petition the SFC and the Scottish           and Aberdeenshire fall into the MD20              has allowed partnerships to develop with
    articulation routes. The university will also       Government with regard to expanding the        category. For context, this is just 9% of         seven schools in the region – including all
    extend its network for partner colleges             basket of measures currently in use that       the total MD20 school leavers from the            four SHEP (Schools for Higher Education
    and review the circumstances of the                 define those living in poverty.                city of Glasgow. The university has a             Programme) schools with a history of low
    university’s non-articulating HN entrants.                                                         strong focus on regional recruitment so           participation in higher education.
    Nevertheless the headcount targets for              Supporting those from                          its performance in this area reflects the
    articulation with advanced standing in                                                             significant recruitment of students from          Work has been developed collaboratively
    this Outcome Agreement are very slightly
                                                        protected characteristic
                                                                                                       outside the north-east of Scotland. The           with these schools and is tailored to meet
    lower than in previous years. In part,              and under-represented                          university continues to be committed to           their needs. Activities include:
    this reflects increased competition for             socio-economic groups into                     further achieving progress in this area,
    articulating students across Scotland but           higher education                               supporting the Scottish Government’s              •   The Northern Lights programme
    it is mainly driven by a declining number                                                          ambition to increase the uptake of                    which supports Aspire North, one of
    of HN enrolments at its most significant            The university has undertaken significant      higher education among groups that                    four regional programmes created to
    articulation partner college.                       work to address under-representation           are traditionally under-represented at                provide targeted support to schools
                                                        from protected characteristic and under-       university.                                           with a progression to higher education
    The university has grown the numbers                represented socio-economic groups                                                                    rate of 22% or below. It works with S1
    of MD20 students enrolling in each                  such as MD20/40, BME, care leavers, and        Meeting these targets is the responsibility           and S2 pupils who have been referred
    successive year. The 2017/18 intake of              those with a disclosed disability.             of the entire university. This sees the               by these schools and have the
    MD20 students was 161, representing the                                                            delivery of a number of outreach activities           potential to achieve higher education
    largest cohort of MD20 students recruited           Currently, the university enrols the highest   with schools and communities to provide               entry but are at risk of not fulfilling
    at the university, and on headcount                 proportion of students with a disclosed        advice and guidance for applicants and                this potential. Initial sessions are held
    (rather than proportion of Scottish

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        to introduce pupils and their parents
        and carers to the programme and the
        staff involved. Pupils then partake in
        five engagement sessions throughout
        the school year; these are designed to                                                        CASE STUDY ONE
        maximise the potential, and develop
        the confidence of participants, with
        reflection encouraged at each stage.                                                          Widening access coming full circle
        This programme has now been
        expanded to include three schools.
        The university is looking to expand the
        reach of this programme to eligible
        pupils across all city schools and
        targeted schools in the shire. It is also
        planning to engage with S3/S4 pupils;
        engaging with S1-S4 pupils ensures
        they are better informed when making
        their subject choices.

    •   The ACES (Access to Creative
        Education in Scotland) programme
        supports students from MD20/40                   ACES programme (Art & Design and
        backgrounds from schools with an                 Architecture); Communication and
        average progression rate to higher               Media; Computing; Engineering; Health
        education below the national average.            Professions; Law/Law & Management;           A common theme throughout RGU’s                    Throughout her studies, Jade won
        The aim is to increase the number of             Life Sciences; Nursing and Midwifery;        history is widening access to education.           awards for her work and regularly
        entrants from those backgrounds                  and Tourism, Hospitality and Events. All     This is a strong strand of the university’s        praised the quality of the support
        into high demand professional degree             programmes offer practical subject-          current strategy, demonstrated by its              services offered by the university that
        courses. Currently, the subject offer            focused sessions and support sessions        comprehensive programme of widening                aided her in achieving success. In her
        includes Art & Design and Architecture.          delivered by the university’s academic       access initiatives. The impact of these            third and fourth years of study she acted
                                                         teaching staff. They run once a week         initiatives is shown best through Jade             as an ambassador for the university’s
    •   The Access To programme seeks to                 from September to December after             Gilbert, a talented award-winning artist           Access To programme, encouraging
        widen access to higher education                 school and the cost of all materials,        who graduated with a first class Honours           participation in higher education
        for students who are often under-                refreshments and transport are met by        Degree in Contemporary Art Practice                for students who are often under-
        represented in universities. Funded by           the university. Students on the Access       in 2018, and was highly commended in               represented in universities. She is now the
        the SFC, the university has developed            To programme also become Associate           the BP Fine Art Award. Jade has been               Youth Engagement Assistant within the
        a range of nine programmes designed              Students, an initiative pioneered by the     supported in her studies by the university         university’s Access and Articulation team
        to support talented and committed                university and now mandatory across          since secondary school; through her                where she works to evolve the current
        S5 and S6 pupils who aim to study at             all Scottish universities. This gives them   participation in the university’s Access           support offering in line with the needs
        degree level. These programmes cover:            access to the university’s library and       to Creative Education in Scotland                  of students. She does this alongside
        subjects included in the university’s            support services.                            programme and a scholarship from                   developing her individual art practice
                                                                                                      Baillie Gifford, coordinated through               and achieving success in commissioned
                                                                                                      the RGU Foundation, the university’s               work; notably her final degree show piece
                                                                                                      philanthropic fundraising arm.                     has been acquired by the Aberdeen Art
                                                                                                                                                         Gallery where it will be exhibited upon the
                                                                                                                                                         opening of the new facilities.

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    By engaging with pupils throughout their            Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire within       three and four only, designed to build
    secondary education, the university is              specialist groups and also as part of the    and expand upon the knowledge and                   ‘THE UNIVERSITY’S
    able to build positive relationships with           university’s widening access programme.      technical skills gained during the HND at           SECTOR-LEADING
    pupils and parents/carers throughout                Additionally, if these students meet         NESCol.                                             PARTNERSHIP WITH
    their school career.                                the access thresholds, they are always
                                                                                                                                                         NESCOL ENABLES ONE
                                                        offered a place at the university.           In 2017/18, the university strengthened
    The university’s funded Scottish-domiciled                                                       its partnership with NESCol even further
                                                                                                                                                         OF SCOTLANDS LARGEST
    undergraduate population has tended                 Increasing the number                        with the signing of the TWO PLUS alliance,          COHORTS OF
    to be younger than the Scottish sector                                                           which aims to build on the effective and            ARTICULATING
                                                        of students articulating
    average (having a greater proportion                                                             inclusive tertiary education system in              STUDENTS TO ENROL
    of under 21 year olds), this is a reflection        to university with                           north-east Scotland. The TWO PLUS
                                                                                                                                                         WITH ADVANCED
    of the generally buoyant regional                   advanced standing.                           alliance will add value by:
    economic circumstances. The area of
                                                                                                                                                         STANDING EACH YEAR.’
    the university’s undergraduate provision            Building on a long-term commitment           •   Developing a unified tertiary model
    which has a larger number of students               to widening access, the university has           from the skills-rich education in the         employment, it would be the first of its
    aged over 21 in subjects leading to                 well-established articulation links with         north east, inspiring and supporting          kind in Scotland. The group is also looking
    careers in the health and social care               a number of educational institutions,            learning that transcends institutional        to adopt a joint programme of support
    professions. The university has observed            resulting in 90 course level agreements          barriers.                                     for S5/S6 school pupils, looking to move
    that mature students tend to continue to            across all schools in the university.                                                          into further and higher education. This
    work while they study and it is notable that        Notably, the partnership with North East     •   Ensuring clear understanding                  is a response to recommendations in
    amongst Scottish online learners, the over          Scotland College (NESCol) is commonly            of routes of learning for young               the Learner Journey Review, providing
    35 year olds are the largest age group.             seen as one of the strongest such                people and providing clear advice             more coordinated bridging and transition
                                                        partnerships in Scotland, enabling one of        and guidance on the progression               programmes. It is targeted at S5/S6 pupils
                                                        Scotland’s largest cohorts of articulating       pathways available.                           in the region that are under-represented
    Recruiting those from care                                                                                                                         in higher education. The development
                                                        students with advanced standing to enrol
    experienced backgrounds                             at university.                               •   Building capacity for education               of new pathways in health is also being
    and supporting them in                                                                               through leadership in the region              discussed. These pathways will help
    completing their studies                            This is made possible through the                and nationally, connecting with the           to address the sector’s skills needs
                                                        university’s Degree Link programme,              Scottish Government and its agencies,         (currently there are 450 vacancies in the
                                                        a partnership that allows students to            and with local authorities.                   NHS regionally), and also support the NHS’
    As mentioned above, close links are
                                                        study first at college and then complete                                                       aspiration to deliver a Transformative
    maintained with the Aberdeen City
    and Aberdeenshire Councils to identify
                                                        a degree without any time loss. Currently,   •   Introducing new ways of harnessing            Healthcare Approach, allowing further
                                                        43 pathways have been created across             the creativity of staff and students          training and development opportunities
    pupils who are from care experienced
                                                        a range of subjects, allowing students           and capitalising on development               for staff.
    backgrounds. The university is
                                                        to seamlessly progress to the university,        opportunities with the public sector,
    represented on the Aberdeen Champion
                                                        from HNC to second year and from HND             business, and government.                     In addition to the partnership with NESCol,
    Board, led by care experienced young
                                                        to third year. The unique relationship                                                         the university has 32 agreements with
    people themselves. This allows the
                                                        between the university and NESCol            Discussions are currently being held              Dundee and Angus College across
    university to stay in tune with the needs of
                                                        has allowed the university to respond        by the TWO PLUS steering group to                 a range of the university’s provision.
    care experienced young people, providing
                                                        to demand for progression pathways           identify enhanced areas of collaboration.         Furthermore, the university has sought
    the opportunity to ensure that its services
                                                        where routes were not available, or where    The development of an integrated                  to develop a series of agreements
    are adequate and meet their needs.
                                                        curriculum mapping for degree courses        apprenticeship pathway is one proposed            around particular subject areas with
    Furthermore, through the university’s
                                                        was unsuccessful. A number of top-up         priority. This will enable young people to        colleges out with the north-east of
    Corporate Parenting Plan, support is
                                                        degree courses have been developed           embark on a Foundation Apprenticeship             Scotland. This includes with Fife College
    provided directly to care experienced
                                                        in Computing, Sports Coaching, and           in school and progress to a Graduate              where the university has five articulation
    learners. This is promoted across
                                                        Commercial Photography for stages            Apprenticeship whilst in full-time                agreements in Fashion Management,

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    Architectural Technology and Quantity                                                                                                               information on this can be found
    Surveying, with further routes being                                                                                                                later in section one of this Outcome
    explored. The university is also seeking                                                                                                            Agreement. The university is committed
    to develop an articulation agreement                                                                                                                to undertaking further work to support
    with Glasgow Clyde College in the Art and                                                                                                           these groups, ensuring all students feel
    Design subject area. In the area of Nursing                                                                                                         they have the tools they need to achieve
    and Midwifery, the university has a series                                                                                                          success and become truly adaptable.
    of advanced entry agreements with the
    associate colleges of the University of
    the Highlands and Islands. This provides
                                                                                                                                                        Supporting the mental
    a link for a number of students from                                                                                                                health and wellbeing of
    Moray into the university’s adult nursing                                                                                                           students and staff
    provision. These additional routes provide
    a solid foundation for the university to                                                                                                            The university creates a culture within
    widen its reach outside of Aberdeen City                                                                                                            its community that promotes and
    and Aberdeenshire, strengthening its                                                                                                                supports positive wellbeing. This is
    commitment to meet MD20/40 targets.                                                                                                                 underpinned by a new Student Mental
                                                                                                                                                        Health Agreement created in July 2018
    The university is committed to building             data available for 2016/17 shows that         live outside the city; accommodation              and signed by the university and the
    on these partnerships and continually               all eleven protected characteristics          is available for care experienced                 students’ union. Spearheaded by the
    looks for new opportunities to extend               groups out-performed the Scottish             students for 50 weeks of the year.                then Student President of Education and
    reach, ensuring that an education at the            retention target, and seven groups met        All care experienced students have                Welfare, it sets out the university’s and
    university is accessible to all students, no        or exceeded the university’s target.          ongoing access to a dedicated contact             the union’s commitment to improving
    matter their background.                            The highest retention rate was for            for pastoral and financial support.               the mental wellbeing of all students and
                                                        care experienced students with 100%           The university has also established a             staff, aiming to change perceptions of
    Improving retention and                             completing their studies, recognising the     dedicated support initiative called Here          mental health amongst the student
    outcome for students from                           university’s high quality student support     for You which regularly contacts all wider        community, challenge any negative
                                                        services. Over the last few years, internal   access students to check on progress              attitudes, and promote positive outcomes
    disadvantaged and
                                                        monitoring suggests that across the           and ensure they are aware of the support          and supportive strategies to maximise
    under-represented                                   whole of the university’s undergraduate       services offered.                                 the student and staff experience.
    socio-economic groups                               student population, academic failure                                                            Furthermore, on University Mental
                                                        rates amongst disabled students has           The services offered are a key aspect             Health Day, the university announced
    Retention and achievement is monitored              halved from 7% to 3.6%.                       of making students feel supported as              the launch of Peer Support. This is a
    regularly as part of the university’s course                                                      they navigate their studies and grow as           student-led support group that facilitates
    appraisal process, further information              These results are down to the continual       individuals. The university proactively           discussion around wellbeing and mental
    is provided in the second section of this           enhancement of the support services           engages with students to ensure that              health. The launch of Peer Support
    Outcome Agreement. The university                   offered by the university which are           many of the services available are                follows the creation of the university’s
    has the same target for all protected               designed to improve retention and meet        designed and developed in partnership,            Mental Health Agreement which aims to
    characteristic groups reinforcing the               the needs of these under-represented          the university’s Student Mental Health            raise awareness and promote positive
    institution’s strong belief in equality and         groups. A package of care is offered to       Agreement is a key example, further               wellbeing for staff and students.
    diversity. In 2017/18 this target was 92%,          students from disadvantaged and under-

                                                                                                                                                               100                      %
    which is above the Scottish target and              represented socio-economic groups                ‘THE HIGHEST RETENTION RATE
    recognises the university’s strategic               which includes an enrolment pack, free             WAS FOR CARE EXPERIENCED
    commitment to support students to                   or discounted accommodation to MD20
                                                                                                                 STUDENTS WITH 100%
    reach their full potential. The most recent         and care experienced students who
                                                                                                           COMPLETING THEIR STUDIES’
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                                                                                                    The university also actively promotes                 the UK Healthy Universities Network, an
                                                                                                    resilience and mindfulness and this saw               organisation that provides guidance
                                                                                                    the launch of an annual resilience week in            on implementing a ‘whole university’
                                                                                                    November 2018, a result of the university’s           approach to health, wellbeing and
                                                                                                    student partnership initiative. Resilience            sustainability. Liaising with these groups
    CASE STUDY TWO                                                                                  Week aims to support emotional                        also ensures that advice stays up-to-
                                                                                                    wellbeing amongst students and staff.                 date and relevant. All main canteens
    Supporting mental health                                                                        Additionally, a resilience network was                on campus have achieved a healthy
                                                                                                    created in 2015 for student-facing staff              living award, a sign that the university

    and wellbeing                                                                                   with a core purpose to build a dialogue
                                                                                                    around mental health and wellbeing,
                                                                                                                                                          is committed to ensuring that it is easy
                                                                                                                                                          for students and staff to eat healthier.
                                                                                                    offering further support to staff to                  Additionally, staff are encouraged to
    Promoting and supporting positive                                                               encourage students to talk to them,                   partake in regular campus walks to get
    wellbeing is crucial to creating a                                                              helping students to seek advice when                  away from their desks, reduce sitting
    truly inclusive environment, ensuring                                                           they need it. This focus on resilience has            time, and socialise with their colleagues.
    students and staff have the resources                                                           also seen the creation of Mental Health               Furthermore, RGU Sport boasts modern,
    at hand to seek help when they need it.                                                         Movie Monthly, a now well-established                 world-class sporting facilities and services
    Consequently, the university has rolled                                                         social platform that aims to showcase                 that are easily accessible to both staff
    out two core initiatives to address                                                             one free film each month. These films                 and students with expert advice on
    mental health and wellbeing, including                                                          are used as a platform for facilitated                exercise and wellbeing available
    gender-based violence. Both have been                                                           discussion around mental health issues.               from staff.
    drafted in partnership with the student                                                         Additionally, the university has launched
    community and according to national                university announced the launch of Peer      Snack and Chat, a weekly lunchtime
                                                       Support. This is a student-led support
                                                                                                                                                          Working with students
    guidance.                                                                                       session for students experiencing
                                                       group that facilitates discussion around     loneliness and isolation. A weekly drop-in            and staff to prevent and
    The new mental health agreement makes              wellbeing and mental health.                 outreach counselling service at student               eradicate gender-based
    five commitments to the student and                                                             halls is also available, this allows students         violence
    staff community. These are centred on              Additionally, the university created a       to meet with Counsellors and a Student
    exploring mechanisms to identify those             detailed gender-based violence action        Wellbeing Advisor to talk over any issues             The university has a zero tolerance
    at risk of poor mental health, putting in          plan called Speak Up Speak Out to            they may have, such as homesickness,                  approach to gender-based violence and
    place early intervention strategies and            reinforce its zero tolerance approach        family issues, sexual identity, mental                is committed to providing a working and
    identifying pathways to appropriate                to this issue. The campaign was the          health, or difficulty settling into university        learning environment where everyone is
    support. This includes creating                    university’s own interpretation of           life. The university also continues to                treated with dignity and respect. This has
    opportunities to normalise conversations           the Scottish Government’s national           support Nightline, a student listening                seen the creation of a detailed gender-
    around mental health, actively                     campaign and was created in                  service open from 8pm to 8am run by                   based violence action plan called Speak
    encouraging groups and activities                  partnership with the student’s union.        student volunteers.                                   Up Speak Out. This is the university’s own
    to increase a sense of belonging,                  It focuses on the promotion of a new                                                               individual interpretation of the Scottish
    delivering sessions which help individuals         web-based information platform called        To promote health and wellbeing the                   Government’s national campaign. It
    confidently address their own mental               Report and Support. This intuitive           university is reinvigorating its Healthy              shows that the university takes an active
    health, and increasing the promotion of            platform provides students with a wealth     Universities Working Group, Fit for the               stand against gender-based violence in
    internal and external support services.            of information on gender-based violence      Future, throughout 2018/19. This is a                 all its forms and highlights the support
    Plaques outlining the agreement and                and lets them know of all of the support     programme to promote a coordinated                    available from trained first responders
    the five commitments can be found at               services available to them. Significantly,   approach to the health and wellbeing of               on campus as well as from other sources.
    strategic points of high traffic throughout        the Speak Up Speak Out campaign was          students and staff across the institution.            Significantly, the Speak Up Speak Out
    the university’s campus. Furthermore,              shortlisted in the NUS Scotland Awards       Currently, the university is engaged with             campaign was shortlisted in the NUS
    on University Mental Health Day, the               2019 as Campaign of the Year.

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    Scotland Awards 2019 as Campaign of                 •   Information that outlines exactly what     Proactively addressing                             university’s Gender Equality Champion
    the Year.                                               consent is and what it is not.                                                                and the Director of Student Life.
                                                                                                       gender imbalances in
                                                        •   The university’s safe taxi scheme,         programmes                                         Additionally, to fully address issues of
                                                            letting students know how to get                                                              gender imbalance, the university has
                                                            home in an emergency if they don’t         The university’s strategic commitment              identified a number of subject areas
                                                            have access to any money (the              to building a culture of access and                in which there is an imbalance, these
                                                            scheme advises students to order a         inclusion also incorporates work carried           include Computing Sciences, Engineering,
                                                            taxi with a specific firm, and exchange    out to address gender imbalance. The               Subjects Allied to Medicine, Creative Art
                                                            their student card for a receipt. The      university is committed to proactively             and Design, and Social Studies. A wide
                                                            taxi fare can then be paid at the union    addressing this across its student and             range of actions have been undertaken
                                                            at a later date and the student card       staff communities in order to deliver equal        to reduce severe gender imbalances and
                                                            returned).                                 opportunities for all, contributing to SFC         this work is coordinated across individual
                                                                                                       targets on extreme gender imbalance.               Schools, Marketing, Communications and
                                                        •   Ask for Angela, a national campaign                                                           Student Recruitment. Some key activities
    The approach was developed in                           aimed at helping those who feel            To address gender imbalances                       include: the School of Engineering has
    partnership with Equally Safe, creators                 unsafe when on dates.                      amongst the student population, the                undertaken a review of course materials
    of the Higher Education Toolkit to                                                                 university is continuing to develop and            to deliver gender neutral classrooms;
    challenge gender-based violence                     The online platform also provides access       implement an institutional Gender                  the School of Nursing & Midwifery
    which is being trialled at the University           to a web-based reporting system that           Action Plan (iGAP). This plan is influenced        participated in a joint study with the
    of Strathclyde, Glasgow and Clyde                   allows users to report anonymously             by the ambitions of the SFC; to half               NHS and higher education providers to
    Rape Crisis, and Rape Crisis Grampian.              or seek out an advisor. The university         the number of subjects with extreme                understand the influences and causes of
    It has seen the development of the                  is carrying out a period of continual          gender imbalance by 2025/26, and                   male recruitment and retention issues in
    university’s own toolkit and a framework            monitoring of this new system. This            to reduce the gap in male and female               Nursing; Gray’s School of Art is developing
    and implementation plan to tackle and               includes monitoring reporting levels,          participation in undergraduate study               a contextualised interview process and
    respond to gender-based violence across             student awareness, and using website           to 13.6% by 2019/20. The university                received funding for a Mobile Art School
    the institution, in line with the Equally           analytics to measure usage. This will          currently has a participation gap of 26%           to visit primary and secondary schools
    Safe recommendations. The university’s              ensure that the system stays fit for           and will work towards reducing this gap            to provide careers information; plus the
    approach to gender-based violence is                purpose.                                       by implementing actions through its                use of female engineering and computing
    also covered under its Dignity at Work                                                             widening access agenda and iGAP.                   students as case studies in
    and Study Policy.                                   The university has trained a number of                                                            marketing materials.
                                                        staff on levels one and two of Equally         The university’s iGAP relates directly to
    The campaign focuses on promoting                   Safe’s Higher Education Toolkit: level         its equality outcomes and so covers
    Report and Support, a new web-based                 one focuses on awareness raising, and          the same period; 2017/18 – 2020/21. The
    information platform that provides                  forty staff and students attended this         plan has been updated in 2018/19 to
    students with information on exactly                half day workshop; level two is for those      incorporate further actions and to ensure
    what gender-based violence is and how               who will deal with initial disclosures and     it addresses the recommendations of
    to seek support if needed. It also outlines         provide support, twenty members of staff       both the TransEDU and Equally Safe in
    all of the support services available at the        received this first responder training. The    Higher Education initiatives. A number
    university and across the region, such as:          university is also working alongside the       of actions to develop gender equality
                                                        University of Strathclyde, and Glasgow         amongst staff have also been included.

    •   Information on bystander intervention,          and Clyde Rape Crisis to develop the level     The plan is monitored by the Gender
                                                                                                       Working Group which reports to the
        helping individuals or groups to                three training. The university will continue
        actively address a situation they               to work with Equally Safe and University of    Equality and Diversity Advisory Group.
        deem problematic.                               Strathclyde to further develop areas of its    The group’s membership includes staff
                                                        toolkit and share best practice.               and students and is jointly chaired by the

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                                                                                                    The university is also involved in                  •   Reviewing the university’s family
                                                                                                    #NaeGenderLimits, a north-east                          friendly policies, such as premature
                                                                                                    campaign that asks people to challenge                  birth, miscarriage, fostering, and IVF, to
                                                                                                    their thinking. As part of the campaign,                include gender neutral language and
    CASE STUDY THREE                                                                                the university has gone out to schools to               to be more accessible to staff.
                                                                                                    speak with young people to understand
                                                                                                    their preconceived notions around                   Finally, the university’s Board of Governors
    Addressing gender imbalances                                                                    certain subjects and careers, before                is committed to achieving a broad gender
                                                                                                    showing them that these limitations and             balance and recent appointments
                                                                                                    stereotypes should have no place in their           have further increased the number
    The university is committed to addressing         this subject area. The outcome of which       minds when thinking about their future.             of female members. To support this,
    gender imbalances and proactively                 will be implemented by May 2019.              The campaign has been covered by the                adverts for Board members are worded
    seeks out and creates opportunities to                                                          university’s official podcast RGU Talk to           to specifically encourage candidates
    make positive change. A number of the              The School has also undertaken a             promote conversations on the topic and              from the widest range of backgrounds.
    activities that are ongoing are led by the        range of consultation exercises with art      to help widen the message’s reach.                  The Board’s criteria for membership
    university’s schools. Some examples               and design secondary school teachers                                                              now explicitly refers to the diversity of
    are below.                                        and held focus groups with students to        When it comes to the staff community,               the Board being a consideration in the
                                                      understand the key issues contributing        the university’s professoriate and vice             appointment process and members of
    The Scott Sutherland School of                    to gender imbalance in the subject. As a      principal team is fully gender balanced.            the Board (along with members of the
    Architecture and Built Environment                result, the School successfully applied for   The process of applying for Athena SWAN             Executive team) have received training in
    is introducing initiatives aimed at               funding for a Mobile Art School to provide    also identified that its academic staff is          unconscious bias. Additionally, the Board
    reducing the marked dominance of                  workshops and talks in primary and            reasonably gender balanced. Further                 undertakes its anonymous equality and
    male representation in the construction           secondary schools, focusing on careers        work has been carried out, and will be              diversity monitoring which is reported as
    industry, especially in areas such                information, and information on male          planned, to ensure that this progress               part of the university’s annual report on
    as surveying and construction                     role models in the creative industries.       continues. Examples include:                        equality and diversity.
    management. This is being delivered
    by a team of predominantly female                 The School of Engineering has                 •   Appointing academic subjects leads              Implementing COWA
    academic staff, and harnessing the                participated in a range of events                 and heads of school for two years
    support of professional bodies where              throughout 2017/18 designed to
                                                                                                                                                        targets and responding to
                                                                                                        and five years respectively to ensure
    appropriate. The School is working                encourage women into engineering. At              rotation, providing increased levels            recommendations of
    closely with Women in Property; a                 these events, the School ensures there            of opportunity for academic staff;              ‘A Blueprint for Fairness’
    national organisation founded around 30           is a gender balanced representation               addressing the gender pay gap with
    years ago, that has very active regional          of staff. The School has also begun               an action plan devised as a result of           The university is focused on implementing
    representation, including a number of the         a review of course materials and is               biennial equal pay audits. A link to the        its CoWA targets and will regularly review
    School’s successful alumni. Working with          working with the Marketing department             university’s Gender Pay Gap Report              activities to ensure progress continues
    secondary schools, including guidance             to produce promotional materials to               has been provided.                              to be made. This next section will run
    teachers, and showcasing the careers of           assist in attracting female applicants to                                                         through the work done so far, and the
    the School’s alumni will form important           courses. This includes featuring video        •   Continuing to celebrate International           future work that is planned to meet CoWA
    strands of this work.                             case studies with female students where           Women’s Day, notably in 2018 the                targets.
                                                      they discuss what it is like to study             university has honoured six women
    Gray’s School of Art has been                     engineering at the university. This video         through honorary graduations.                   •   Recruitment of SIMD 20/40 students
    undertaking a review of its application           case study approach has also been used                                                                (recommendations 9 and 32):
    process and is developing a                       by the School of Computing Science and        •   Delivering unconscious bias training to             This topic is covered earlier in section
    contextualised interview process to               Digital Media. Here, female students have         staff.                                              one of this Outcome Agreement under
    address male under-representation in              discussed why they chose computing                                                                    the heading of Increase the number of
                                                      and their journey at the university so far.

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        students articulating to university with        •   Promoting access by partnering                  were two types of adjusted offer for                The ACES (Access to Creative
        advanced standing.                                  with schools (recommendation 12):               MD20 applicants: a one year pilot                   Education in Scotland) programme
                                                            The university has longstanding                 scheme which saw unconditional                      was established in 2010 and
    •   Work on retention of SIMD 20/40                     partnerships with seven schools in the          offers made based on predicted                      focuses on pupils from MD20/40
        and care experienced students                       region. These schools are highlighted           grades; and differential offers which               backgrounds from schools with an
        (recommendation 21):                                to the university through the Aberdeen          saw individuals who didn’t meet                     average progression rate to higher
        This topic is covered earlier in section            City and Aberdeenshire Councils. To             the criteria noted above offered a                  education below the national average.
        one of this Outcome Agreement under                 further strengthen work in this area,           conditional place.                                  The aim of the programme is to
        the heading of Improve retention                    a pilot project has been completed                                                                  increase the number of entrants
        and outcome for students from                       with a non-partner school, Harlaw           •   Use of Bridging Programmes                          from those backgrounds into high
        disadvantaged and underrepresented                  Academy, to engage with MD20/40                 (recommendation 7):                                 demand professional degree courses.
        socio-economic groups.                              students and this has been very                 A number of bridging programmes                     Currently, the subjects offered include
                                                            successful. This pilot will be expanded         are provided to ease the learner’s                  Art & Design and Architecture.
    •   Implement access thresholds                         throughout 2019 to include other                journey and provide a supportive
        (recommendation 11) and admissions                  non-partner schools to ensure the               transition. The university’s Degree Prep            The Northern Lights programme
        processes (recommendation 5):                       university widens its reach regarding           programme is designed to support                    supports Aspire North and works
        The university has offered                          MD20/40 targets.                                the transition from studying at college             with S1 and S2 pupils from three local
        contextualised admissions for a                                                                     to studying at university. It builds                schools who have the potential to
        number of years. Most recently, this                The low number of MD20 datazones                on the knowledge and experience                     achieve higher education entry.
        has been in conjunction with NESCol                 in the local area makes hitting                 gained at HN level to equip students                Initial sessions are held to introduce
        and work has been undertaken to                     targets challenging so work will be             with essential course information                   pupils and their parents and carers
        establish access thresholds in respect              done to increase the university’s               and study skills, and familiarise them              to the programme and the staff
        of the CoWA targets. Contextualised                 presence outside of Aberdeen City               with the university’s staff, campus                 involved. Pupils are then involved in five
        admissions will be published for 2019               and Aberdeenshire. This will allow              and facilities. Evaluation of the                   engagement sessions throughout the
        and clear targets will be set at                    the university to provide on the                effectiveness of the programme found                school year.
        School level.                                       ground understanding of the routes              that 100% of participants felt the
                                                            available to students and provide               programme made them better aware                •   Use of core funding (recommendation
        The review of contextualised                        practical routes of engagement.                 of the help and resources available at              25) and the Widening Access and
        admissions has provided increased                   Further information on this can be              the university, and that it made them               Retention Fund:
        opportunities for applicants by                     found earlier in section one of this            feel more confident in continuing their             For 2018/19, the university received
        considering the context in which                    Outcome Agreement under the                     studies at RGU.                                     £1.1 million from the SFC’s Widening
        they have achieved and giving                       heading of: Identify and address                                                                    Access and Retention Fund (WARF).
        them a reduced offer to recognise                   under-representation from protected             The Access To programme seeks                       This funding has been essential to
        their academic achievements and                     characteristic and under-represented            to widen participation to higher                    enabling the university to develop
        potential.                                          socio-economic groups.                          education for students who are often                more ambitious ways to enhance and
                                                                                                            under-represented in universities.                  sustain widening access pathways,
        All applicants from low progression             •   Rate of the conversion of applications          Funded by the SFC, it features nine                 with a focus on providing the right
        schools identified by the SFC are                   to offers to acceptances for SIMD20             programmes designed to support                      opportunity at the right time.
        eligible to gain entry on these adjusted            and care experienced students:                  talented and committed S5 and S6
        rates, as are MD40 applicants and                   The conversion rate of applications             pupils who aim to study at degree                   This work includes supporting and
        applicants from partner schools.                    to offers for MD20 students was 61%             level. Students on this programme also              engaging with MD20/40 and care
        Draft access thresholds are in place                in 2017/18, while the rate of offers to         become Associate Students giving                    experienced young people through
        and once reviewed these will be                     acceptances was 35%. The conversion             them access to the university’s library             the Schools Outreach Programme (S1-
        published and promoted as per                       rate of applications to offers and offers       and support services.                               S6), the Northern Lights Programme
        Recommendation 11. These will be in                 to acceptances for care experienced                                                                 (S1-S2), which has been expanded
        place for the 2019 deadline.                        students was 100%. In 2018/19 there                                                                 from one school to three schools, and

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       the Access To Programme (S5-S6).                    range of other student issues; the       •   To contribute to wider societal aims to         A draft plan was presented to local BSL
       Additionally, any student studying                  Counselling and Wellbeing service            improve access to public life for               users through a joint consultation event
       a HN course at a Scottish College                   which recognises the specific needs          BSL users                                       with other education providers in the
       is eligible to become an Associate                  of students from disadvantaged                                                               area. From this a number of barriers to
       Student which provides access to                    and deprived backgrounds; and            The plan was developed through a                    higher education for BSL users were
       the university’s library and support                a chaplaincy service which is            short-life working group, involving staff           identified. The university incorporated
       services. All applicants who meet the               available for those with all faiths      from across the university including                this feedback into the finalised plan and
       university’s Widening Access criteria               and none. Additionally, it funds the     staff with experience of using BSL. The             will continue to engage with BSL users
       are contacted to advise them of the                 university’s enrolment pack, offered     university has successfully supported               as it implements actions to monitor
       help and support available to them,                 to all MD20/40 and care experienced      a small number of students who are                  impact. The university also continues to
       answering any queries they might                    students, and accommodation              BSL users previously and this plan, and             invite feedback on the ongoing process
       have about coming to study at the                   discount: throughout 2018/19 and         the commitment to pursue the actions                of delivering the plan. Governance and
       university and providing support to                 2017/18, 76 students received this       outlined within it, is just one way in which        monitoring of this plan is the
       attend open days and visit afternoons,              discount totalling just under £100k.     the university articulates its commitment           responsibility of the Equality and
       allowing them to experience life at the                                                      to creating an inclusive learning and               Diversity Advisory Group. A link to this
       university. WARF has also enabled the           Committing to students who                   working environment.                                plan has been provided.
       development of a range of services
                                                       are carers and/or veterans
       for MD20/40 and care experienced
       students to support retention.
                                                       The university is committed to enhancing
       Scholarships specifically for MD20 and
                                                       its support of students who are veterans
       care experienced students provide
                                                       and/or carers or estranged students. This
       financial as well as pastoral and study
                                                       includes work to expand the university’s
       skills support, and several scholarships
                                                       Access and Articulation Team.
       offer paid placement opportunities
       with the supporting employers.
                                                       Implementing of British Sign
       The ACCESS RGU Scholarships were                Language Plan
       launched in the academic year
       2014/15 in conjunction with the RGU             The university published its British Sign
       Foundation to mitigate financial                Language Plan in October 2018 in British
       barriers to study, widening access and          Sign Language (BSL) and English to cover
       supporting retention. The scholarships          the period 2018-2024. The university plan
       are made available through donations            is aligned with the aims of the Scottish
       from companies which seek to                    Government action plan, but specifically
       widen access for under-represented              focuses on providing support to BSL users
       students at higher education level.             to ensure they are able to participate in
                                                       higher education and engage fully in the
       In session 2017/18 the university has           learner journey. The finalised plan has
       doubled the number of scholarships              three themes:
       available. Furthermore, it also funds
       the Student Help Point which assists            •   To enable access to the university for
       students on a range of issues                       potential applicants who are BSL users
       including accommodation advice,
       fees and finance advice, study                  •   To provide an inclusive and full
       skills appointments, and covers a                   university experience for BSL users

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