Effective Resources and Minimising Barriers

We want to ensure colleagues have the right resources at the right time, and minimise barriers to effective working.

Actions underway

1.Wellbeing / stress

Due to the importance of this work, a dedicated group looking at mental health and stress management has been established - see their webpage

2. Digital and IT Systems

Significant investment has been agreed for digital services, that support staff in their work e.g. iExeter for Staff, Customer Relationship Management, iEngage improvements and training for staff in digital skills.  In addition the network is being upgraded, which will improve the connection between Exeter and Cornwall for sharing data and video conferencing.

3. iExeter app for staff

The successful iExeter app has been adapted for staff use.  It offers access to key university services and policies on smartphones, tablets or desktop - find out more.

4. Workload planning

Based on issues colleagues raised in the Engagement Survey and in the 2018-19 consultation on academic workload planning processes four key improvements have been made in SWARM:

  • Published an institutionally recognised definition of ‘Citizenship’ to clarify what activities staff might expect to undertake in this time.
  • Rationalised the range of ‘Leadership roles’ (formerly Admin roles) available on the system to make it easier to compare like for like activities. Roles can be suggested for inclusion on a termly basis and activity not covered by a role will still be shown under Support & Scholarship.
  • Developed a consistent ‘Scholarship’ template to show what activities are covered by this time.
  • Established a working group to consider how teaching load is calculated and to develop a simpler method of deriving this. A pilot is due to launch in January in select disciplines.

Find out more on the workload planning consultation webpages. 

5. Professional Services investment

We’ve invested in Professional Service posts to support academic staff in colleges. The main purpose of these positions is to provide essential frontline administrative support to academic leaders within Colleges. The recruitment campaign ran from October onwards, with posts filled by Christmas.  We advertised permanent posts across Grade C, D and E and had part-time and full-time posts available.  22 new colleagues started in January 2020.

Guidance has been issued to improve generic mailboxes by adding pictures, names and personal signatures to responses from teams using shared mailboxes.

6.  Cornwall specific action

Dave Hosken and Ruth Grimmer have consulted with Heads of Department and attended relevant Departmental meetings to hear directly from colleagues in Penryn to find out what the biggest barrier is that is preventing them from doing their job effectively and their proposed solution.  There will be on-going discussions with staff which will be reviewed at Cornwall Campus Operational Group.

Still to come

T1 improvements are being taken forward through the Professional Services Improvements project.

Colleagues who will be steering this action include:

  • Rob Mitchell, Assistant Director, Communications  
  • Prof Dave Hosken, Professor of Evolutionary Biology 
  • Prof Barney Dunn, Research Clinical Psychologist 
  • Prof Andrew McRae, Dean of Postgraduate Research and the Exeter Doctoral College 
  • Rob Tinley, Head of Employee Services 
  • Jane Stephenson, HR Business Partner 
  • Christian Carter, Head of Organisational Development  
  • Shades Chaudhary, Communications and Engagement Officer 
  • Holly Ricketts, Business Manager to Director of People Services 


 Christian Carter, Head of Organisational Development, is the lead contact for Positive Working Environment.