Shaping the future


Strategic Plan (2016–2020) will steer the University of Hull through a period that will be characterised by a rapidly evolving and increasingly competitive higher education environment, high expectations from students and significant financial pressures.

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Shaping the future

Strategic Plan 2016-2020


On behalf of the University, it is our pleasure to introduce the new strategic plan for the University of Hull. Strategic Plan (2016–2020) affirms the University’s mission and vision and sets out the priorities which will guide the institution over the period to 2020.

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Barry Dodd

Barry Dodd, CBE
Chair of Council

Calie Pistorius

Professor Calie Pistorius

Metal head sculptures as University of Hull

The higher education landscape will continue to see changes in national policy, including reforms of the regulatory environment, the introduction of a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), increasing emphasis on social mobility and widening participation, transparency and value for money, the encouragement of new entrants to the sector and ever more varied forms of competition1. Sector changes will be set against a backdrop of austerity, devolution in England, decisions about the nature of our continued involvement in the European Union and ongoing debates regarding immigration. At the same time, a number of exciting opportunities are emerging, including Hull’s year as UK City of Culture in 2017 and the significant investment in renewable energy in the Humber region.

1 'The Government Green Paper 'Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice was published on 6 November 2015

Maintaining strategic momentum

The implementation of our strategy is a journey and builds on the momentum and achievements of our previous strategic initiatives, specifically Strategic Plan (2011–2015). The previous planning period was characterised by a number of significant changes in the higher education landscape, including the introduction of a £9,000 fees regime, the lifting of the cap on student numbers and increasing research concentration.

Strategic Plan (2011–2015) articulated a clear vision for our University. It emphasised excellence in learning, teaching, research and enterprise and highlighted the value of interdisciplinary activities, leading to the establishment of cross-cutting University institutes. We improved our performance in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), with areas such as geography and computer science achieving a top five position nationally for research impact.

A number of new academic programmes were introduced, including chemical engineering and mathematics, and a high premium was placed on the quality of the student experience. The period saw Hull University Union crowned as the best students’ union in the country, the development of employability awards and the strengthening of our careers service.

Strategic Plan (2011–2015) recognised the need for step change and it was during this period that the University developed an assertive investment-driven approach, leading to the largest and most comprehensive investment programme in our history. The period saw the development of a modern IT infrastructure, the refurbishment of the Brynmor Jones Library and construction of the Allam Building, as well as the initiation of several further capital projects which will be taken forward in this plan. A number of major change programmes were launched, including Curriculum 2016+ to refresh our taught curricula, the Student Experience Programme to ensure that our students enjoy a personalised experience in a supportive and creative environment, the Academic Investment Initiative to develop our academic staffing profile, and the IT Transformation Journey to enhance our technological infrastructure.

During the period the University pioneered the term and established itself as an ‘anchor institution’ for its surrounding regions, evidenced by our significant economic impact, joint ventures such as the Hull History Centre and our role in Hull’s UK City of Culture 2017 bid, our contributions to the local and regional skills agendas and to relevant research solutions, and our participation in bodies such as the Local Enterprise Partnership. We also strengthened our global outlook and established new international strategic partnerships.

The achievements of Strategic Plan (2011–2015) provide the foundations on which we will build the next phase of our stategy.

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Our strategy for 2016-2020 builds on work already underway and launches a number of new initiatives. The plan has been designed to take advantage of our distinctive features, including our heritage, our refreshed academic portfolio, research strengths and the manifestation of interdisciplinary themes in University institutes, our attractive and friendly campus and our highly rated student experience, and our geographical location as a coastal university on England’s eastern seaboard, positioned as an internationally engaged anchor institution with a global perspective.

Strategic Plan (2016–2020) is an investment-driven change plan which articulates the University of Hull’s strategic intent for the planning period:

  • Enhancing our stature, reputation and influence – being a university of preference for a wider range of students, staff and partners.
  • Achieving growth and a step change in our performance.
  • Pursuing an excellence agenda.

To achieve our institutional objectives we will pursue four strategic priorities.

  • Empowering our people:
    • Placing students at the heart of what we do, focusing on creating a transformative student experience and attracting and retaining students.
    • Empowering our staff – the people plan, focusing on attracting and investing in talent, engaging and learning, enabling change and innovation, as well as leadership, performance and transformation.
  • Investing in our academic portfolio, focusing on excellent learning, teaching, research and enterprise, and progressing our interdisciplinary themes through cross-cutting University institutes.
  • Being an internationally engaged university, focusing on our anchor institution role and our participation in Hull’s UK City of Culture 2017, international engagement, building winning partnerships and enhancing our marketing and communications.
  • Ensuring a sustainable future, focusing on academic sustainability, professional services, operational and financial sustainability, sustainability in our physical and ICT environment as well as promoting a sustainable natural environment.

Excellence, empowerment and sustainability are the common threads which unite our vision, mission, strategic intent and priorities.

Strategic Plan (2016–2020) sets out the long-term direction for our University and will form the basis for our plans, priorities, actions and investments over the next five years. Detailed implementation plans will set annual agendas, and key performance indicators and other measures will be used to track our progress and monitor our performance on a continuous basis, benchmarking externally against peers and sector norms, as well as by internal metrics.

Our aspirations are high, and we have set ourselves demanding performance targets. We shall build upon our areas of strength and be confident to make the bold changes that will enhance our reputation and performance. We can only achieve our goals by striving for excellence in all our endeavours, seeking every opportunity to increase quality through innovation.