The Student Transformation strategy sets out UEASU’s strategic direction for the next few years. It has been designed to inspire our students and staff, demonstrate our charitable purpose and highlight our ambitions to our members and funders.
It’s the product of an annually updated strategic exercise that involves rolling consultation and a strategic analysis exercise.
It’s ambitious, practical and focussed around our purpose - Students Transforming.
A different way to do strategy Most charities spend months developing a Strategic Plan once every five years, but all too often it sits on a shelf and is hopelessly out of date after the first year. We know that we have to be faster and more nimble without getting bogged down in the day to day.
So at UEASU our student led Trustee Board have decided to do things differently - putting in place an annual rolling programme of consultation and strategic analysis that means we always have an inspiring three year vision and a detailed plan for the year ahead.
We also don’t think that changes that the University, or Government, or wider society, should be just left to annual student officer campaigns. So we also have a strategy that focusses on changes we know students want to see and will want to see whoever wins our elections or turns up to our Union Council.
What’s it all about
First we think:
- Horizon We try to think about what’s going on around us - in society, in education, in the community and in the University - and we think about where we might change that or how it could impact on us
- Review We review and evaluate what we do and try to make improvements that students have prioritised. We look at strengths and try to maximise them, and we look at weaknesses and try to make them better
- Ideas We gather ideas from students, volunteers, activists, officers, staff and other SUs and we don’t dismiss ideas that sound “out there”
- Analysis We think about ideas, issues and problems and try to figure out if they’ll work for us. And we try to get under the skin of issues and problems when we’re trying to solve them.
Then we plan:
- Opportunities and Threats We do our best to grab opportunities if they come by and save time to head off threats to the student body or the SU
- Ambitions We have a bunch of ambitions that we have for our organisation - what we’d like to be like and be able to do in an ideal world
- Intentions We have things we’re intending to get done over a three year period
- Plans We have detailed plans for what we’re going to achieve in the year ahead
- Targets And we have ways of measuring the outputs and impacts our plans will have
Our relationship with UEA: An assertive partnership We love UEA - but we want UEA to be even better. Our relationship with the University is complex; we advocate for our members to it, but it is also our main funder and one of our regulators. We rely on the University for the buildings we occupy, capital expenditure for major projects and also for on-going funding for our operations.
There’s a really stale debate out there about whether SUs should be in the pocket of their parent institution, or constantly at loggerheads. The University Vision for 2020 says that “we’ll challenge established practices, disrupt the status quo and develop new ways of doing things to help our students succeed”.
At UEASU we’re all about developing an assertive partnership between the SU and the University - acting as an autonomous agitator for students within the corporate ambition of the University. That means:
- Working closely and jointly on key projects like employability, enterprise or volunteering
- Helping to supply valuable student insight and evidence into the University’s quality improvement processes
- Questioning perceived wisdom and experience to ensure policies and delivery changes are carried out in the best way for students
- Praising the University when it gets things right, holding the University to account when it gets things wrong, and making sure it does the right thing through lobbying, campaigns and student action
Transforming Equality Our vision for equality is clear; we believe that the diversity of our students strengthens our community. This is why we have put equality at the heart of everything that we do.
We have dedicated strategies for Postgraduate, International and Health Sciences Students. We’ve also developed a cross cutting Equality and Diversity Strategy that impacts on everything we do at the SU.
We understand that getting equality right has the power to transform the lives of students both whilst at UEA and beyond. By doing so, we enable students to play an active role in shaping their course, their community, and their world.
Equality means treating everyone with fairness, respect and recognising the needs of students as individuals. We want to bring every student onto a level playing field, by addressing existing disadvantages that affect how students participate in society. We want to transform equality.