Our strategic intent


Strategic Plan (2016–2020) is an investment-driven change plan, and is underpinned by a strategic intent with three main elements:

  • 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.
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Our strategic intent

Strategic Plan 2016-2020

Empowering our people
Empowering our people
Empowering our people

Enhancing our stature, reputation and influence – being a university of preference for a wider range of students, staff and partners

The stature, reputation and influence of a university are developed over the longer term and are ultimately assessed in global and national contexts. Stature and reputation are derived from the quality of all aspects of a university’s endeavours, including its research and enterprise, its learning and teaching, the experience it provides for its students and its economic, social and cultural impact. The academic quality of our staff and students, the achievements of our alumni and the partnerships we form all contribute to our stature and reputation.

We will:

  • Enhance our stature, reputation and ability to influence by pursuing excellence in the core aspects of our mission.
  • Be a university of preference – a ‘talent magnet’ – whereby a wider range of students, staff and partners think of us first.
  • Promote the distinctive character and qualities of our University and celebrate our achievements.
  • Focus on building winning partnerships which support our aims, and seek opportunities to cooperate and collaborate with other institutions, organisations and individuals.
  • Enhance our competitiveness and fulfil our role as an internationally engaged anchor institution for our regions.

Achieving growth and a step-change in our performance

Achieving growth

Our growth will follow a clearly defined path and will support our desire for a step change in the University’s performance, underpinned by the excellence and sustainability agendas.

We will:

  • Grow in reputation and influence nationally and internationally through, increased impact and achievement.
  • Grow our student cohort and attract students from a diversity of backgrounds who will contribute to our excellence and internationalisation agendas.
  • Increase the quality, scale and scope of our research and enterprise activities.

An investment-driven plan

Sustained growth in stature, reputation and influence requires simultaneous growth in our financial resources and revenue. It is only by making substantial strategic investments that we will be able to successfully achieve the sustainable step change in performance we desire. Our investment strategy is bold yet demanding with regard to the academic, performance and financial returns we will expect from our investments.

We will:

  • Invest in our people, our academic endeavours, our student experience, our organisational, physical and technology infrastructure as well as our capacity to grow.
  • Prioritise those activities, academic disciplines and areas in which we want to be active and excel. We will not aim to be everything to everybody, but will pursue and invest in activities that are consistent with our vision and mandated by our commitment to excellence and sustainability.
  • Consider which new activities to undertake, which current activities to continue and how they can be improved, and which activities will be phased out.

Achieving a step change in our performance

The rapidly changing environment in which we operate means that all universities must continually adapt and improve in order to compete within the global arena. In an increasingly competitive sector where institutions are aspiring to improve at an ever faster rate, our aim must be not only to keep up but to leap ahead. It is evident that we must bring about a sustainable step change in performance to achieve this.

While incremental improvements – incrementally doing things a little bit better, faster and more efficiently – are important and essential, they will not be enough to achieve the step change in performance that we desire. The notion of ‘continuous improvement’ must be embedded in our organisational culture, and will encompass step change as well as incremental improvements.

Each innovative improvement contributes to our excellence agenda, and we must never cease in our efforts to seize every opportunity to become a better university. ‘Do nothing’ and complacency are not options when the opportunity for improvement exists. Innovation – specifically step change and radical innovation – is not risk free, but we must manage such risks and ensure that risk aversion does not hinder our progress.

A step change in performance requires a step change in the way we approach things. It is a transformative and disruptive activity, requiring one to leave the safe confines of old comfort zones. It requires a new mindset and a new way of getting things done. Step change is a venture into new territories where new solutions need to be developed, not merely attempting to improve existing practices in an incremental way. It is exciting and transformative but requires boldness, leadership, confidence, determination and persistence to contemplate, embark upon and succeed.

We will:

  • Benchmark our performance against other higher education institutions, noting that they are also striving to improve their performance at the same time. The performance gap will not be closed just by improving our own performance year on year, and we need to pursue sustainable performance improvement at a higher rate than our aspirational peers on the institutional and subject level.
  • Build on the momentum and achievements of the major change programmes already underway, emphasising innovation and an integrated approach towards change leadership and management.
  • Ensure that step change is achieved with care, consideration and respect for those it affects, by ensuring that everyone understands how change will affect them and how they can contribute towards our success. We will listen carefully to the views and concerns of all staff and ensure that they have the support they need, emphasising openness and communication.

Pursuing an excellence agenda

Our strategic intent is to compete on quality. Quality and excellence are inextricably linked, and our excellence agenda will seek to ensure that quality and excellence are characteristic hallmarks of the University of Hull. We cannot waver in striving towards excellence and there can be no excuse for not being excellent in what we ourselves choose to do and be.

Our excellence agenda means that we will prioritise our support and investment in those activities we consider to be, or which demonstrate the potential to be, excellent. Quality and the pursuit of excellence are characteristics of a high-performing organisational culture and will be embedded in our values as a manifestation of going beyond. We will pursue, benchmark and celebrate excellence in:

  • our learning and teaching
  • our research and enterprise
  • our student experience
  • the service we deliver
  • our partnerships
  • the environment we create
  • our leadership, management and governance