Message from April McMahon, Vice President for Teaching, Learning and Students
Over the past three years we have been investing in a programme of work to transform the way that you interact with the University and improve your experience here at Manchester. The Student Experience Programme is working to bring more student services online, so you can access them more easily and continue your learning at times convenient to you. We’re also making University processes more consistent, so all of our students have the same experience and response, whichever School or Faculty they’re a part of.
The first output from the Student Experience Programme – Big White Wall, our new 24/7 online mental health and wellbeing platform, arrived earlier this year. Further changes will be introduced in two phases: from September 2020 for prospective students and applicants, and from September 2020 for current students.
September 2020 – bringing benefits to prospective students and applicants
The first set of changes will be introduced to the areas of student marketing and recruitment and application and admissions from September 2020.
Prospective students will benefit from the digitisation of a number of admissions processes. For example, instead of having to call or email, applicants will be able to upload copies of qualifications directly through an online portal, with documents matched automatically to applications, enabling quicker response times.
One of the biggest improvements will be for international applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study. They will be able to request, check and obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS) number in My Manchester, replacing the current process which sees multiple back and forth emails with admissions staff.
To realise the benefits of these simplified processes and improved technologies, the way in which professional services (non-academic) staff are organised and work together across the areas of student marketing and recruitment and applications and admissions needs to change. To this end, the Board of Governors of our University has now approved a period of formal consultation with the trade unions on proposed changes across these areas.
September 2021 – bringing benefits for all students
The final phase of SEP will focus on introducing new technology, simplified administrative processes, and a revised organisational structure in support of your student journey; from enrolment to graduation. Options for staffing changes across these areas are currently being defined, working in partnership with students, professional services and academic staff.
We expect to implement these changes in 2021, bringing a number of benefits:
- We’ll reduce the time you spend queuing and waiting in person for services by introducing online self-services for things like obtaining confirmation letters, making payments and changing your bank details. You’ll also be able to make requests and track the progress of cases online for things like mitigating circumstances, complaints and appeals, making things more convenient for you and helping us handle requests faster.
- You’ll have access to a wider range of support and wellbeing tools and receive help and support more quickly – thanks to increased investment in our support services and smarter use of data across different parts of our University. While some of this support will be online, you’ll still have opportunities for face-to-face advice.
- You’ll be able to track your work and progress more easily through new dashboards in My Manchester that show you information about your current course units, assessments and research milestones. You’ll also be able to easily contact your academic advisor or supervisor from within My Manchester.
- You won’t have to remember when to do important actions (like uploading a student card photo or completing registration) – you’ll receive notifications at the right time through a personalised portal in My Manchester.
I will provide further updates, both on the proposed changes to organisational structures, and on the wider programme, over the coming months. In the meantime, if you have any questions, or suggestions on how we can improve your experience, please do get in touch via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professor April McMahon, Vice President for Teaching, Learning and Students