FOREWORD FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR, CHRIS MAYO
Since its first intake of students in 2007, Futureworks has earned an outstanding reputation for the delivery of industry-focused academic and vocational programmes designed and delivered with one goal in mind – the employment of our graduates.
Though the Higher Education sector has undergone – and continues to undergo – a period of significant change, Futureworks has maintained its focus on the key principles it was founded on and continues to deliver a world-class higher-education experience.
Through its university partnerships and industry links, the commitment and dedication of its staff, and the outstanding calibre of its student body, I am very proud to be able to say that Futureworks is now one of the UKs leading providers of media education. I look forward to the next five years, and to achieving the goals set out in this strategic plan.
STATEMENT FROM CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS, PROF. ROB CAMPBELL
I am honoured and delighted to be asked to write this statement as the first Chair of Futureworks’ newly formed Board of Governors. The formation of a Board of Governors, which will maintain oversight of academic quality and standards, is a necessary next step in Futureworks’ continuing growth and development as a mature and increasingly autonomous higher education institution with a national and international reputation for the quality of its provision. The sector currently faces challenges but there are also opportunities which Futureworks is well placed to respond to and take advantage of. The Board is committed, and looks forward, to being a part of that.
Our mission is to be recognised as the leading alternative Higher Education Institution in the UK for the creative industries. We aspire to be recognised as the first choice for students who want top quality, vocational and relevant education which will lead to sustainable employment in the global media industry.
Guided by our key principles of excellence, academic freedom, entrepreneurship, collaboration, transparency and equality of opportunity, we strive to meet the needs of our students, staff and the media community as a whole.
Over the next five years, Futureworks will seek to be granted Degree Awarding Powers (DAPs); however, this move takes place at a time of unprecedented levels of regulation, which already demands that privately-owned providers of Higher Education meet (and in some areas, exceed) that which is required of publicly-funded universities. The cap on student borrowing, restrictive student number controls and a changing demographic will each create further challenges. To combat these, Futureworks will:
- Enhance its marketing to attract a broader range of students.
- Increase the scope and efficiency of its management information systems.
- Continue to lobby the government through partnership with influential sector bodies.
- Diversify its portfolio of programmes to include provision at Level 7.
The continuation of a students-as-consumer approach to Higher Education is expected to present further challenges as we seek to combat an increasingly passive, instrumental attitude to learning. By working closely with our student partners and, indeed, the wider student body, we will seek to find a balance which both listens to the student voice and protects and preserves academic standards.
Futureworks aims to enable students to develop their academic, personal and professional potential. Futureworks embeds vocational skills into the design of all its programmes, keeping employability at the heart of everything we do. We will continue to support this approach, and are committed to developing the skills and knowledge of our academic staff, who remain actively engaged in the creative sector. Furthermore:
- We will seek to continue to integrate the development of intellectual capability, vocational skills and personal insight into the design of all future programmes.
- Assessment design will continue to benefit from a strong industry focus, using live industry-led briefs wherever possible.
- We will continue to enable effective relationships between employers, our employability staff, and our alumni.
- We enable students to personalise their studies and experiences through self-determined projects.
- Academic staff will be given the skills, tools, and capacity to deliver a personalised learning experience for all our students.
- We will seek to develop new pathways into and through our programmes, and will expand the diversity of our student community.
Futureworks has a rich history of engagement with industry, matching cutting-edge professional practice with academic rigour, and producing graduates who are uniquely equipped to launch their careers as media professionals. As we move forward over the next five years, we will seek to extend this approach further, drawing on the expertise of both staff and students as we embark on a programme of academic research to complement our outstanding professional practice.
- We will create a robust strategy to guide our research and further our research capability.
- We will develop strategic research themes and research plans, and seek to engage with funders of research.
- We will share our research with a range of audiences including employers, industry, academia and other stakeholders.
- We will encourage collaboration across a range of activities both within Futureworks and with our partners.
- Futureworks staff will continue to seek accreditation of their teaching expertise, engaging with relevant academic associations, and sustaining scholarly activity aligned to their discipline.
GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT
In order to adapt successfully to the rapidly changing HE environment, we will develop a governance and management strategy, will be efficient in our decision-making and will cultivate innovation and creativity. Futureworks is committed to the continual enhancement of governance and management arrangements.
- We will continually review our governance and management strategy to ensure that it remains fit for purpose and is responsive to the changing HE environment.
- We will regularly review administration processes, business systems and our technological infrastructure.
- We will seek to improve the quality and accessibility of management information to underpin effective decision-making.
- We will promote active engagement by the Board of Governors, and enhance the information provided to them.
- We will maintain our commitment to identifying and sharing good practice in governance and management within the HE sector.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
We place transparency of information and openness at the core of all our activities, encouraging staff and students to share knowledge and best practice wherever possible. We will foster a culture of high aspirations, expectations and standards amongst students and staff, supporting and encouraging our tutors in pedagogical innovation and educational development.
- We will continue to provide an outstanding and inclusive educational environment.
- We will be recognised for a first-class, flexible, demand-driven, research-led and personalised educational experience.
- We will ensure that every student has the opportunity to reach their academic, personal and professional potential.
- We will continue to equip our students with the skills needed to maximise their opportunities and develop as responsible global citizens.
- We will ensure that every curriculum is research-informed and at the frontier of current knowledge.
- We will maintain our strategy of working with professional entities to provide our students with a competitive edge in the employment market.
Recognising that Futureworks’ staff and students are partners in the creation of a world-class educational experience, we aim to nurture a community in which equality and diversity contribute positively to student and staff experiences.
- Our values and organisational behaviour will reflect our pride in Futureworks and our respect for others.
- We will ensure an environment of dignity, inclusivity, and equality of opportunity where colleagues and students are respected and valued for who they are and the contributions they make.
- We will foster a culture that expresses confidence in individual and collective creativity, competence, and contribution.
- We will encourage innovation and creativity through flexible, interdisciplinary, cross-functional teams addressing identified challenges.
- Recognising and supporting high performance at every level, we will reward and celebrate success and excellence.
- We will celebrate internally and externally the success of individuals and teams who exemplify significant performance and achievement.
- We will seek and develop talent at all levels through delivery of an integrated approach to recruitment, motivation, retention and succession planning.
- We will be increasingly proactive in cultivating and promoting diversity in our organisational culture, expressed through our staff and student profiles, through our operations, and through the delivery of our programmes.
This strategic plan is the product of extensive discussions between senior management, the Board of Directors and the Board of Governors.
Futureworks continually seeks to identify where we can enhance the wider student experience, and our application to achieve Degree Awarding Powers marks the next step in Futureworks’ growth as a mature provider of Higher Education, and the first major step towards furthering this goal. We acknowledge the need to increase the diversity of both our staff and our students, and we need to continue to broaden the range of students who study with us and the methods by which they do so. We are confident that this strategy addresses these challenges in a direct and rigorous fashion.