Sussex 2025

Phase One

What is Phase One?

Phase One sets out our priorities for the next 18 months – providing a clear focus on our deliverables. We need to make changes in Phase One to lay the groundwork over the life of the Strategic Framework and to help realise the £33 million savings we have identified for investment.

The changes to our ways of working will happen across the institution – both Professional Services and academic colleagues will work together to deliver the future of institution. Throughout our journey we will do all we can to be clear and timely in communicating developments.

Phase One Programmes

Phase One consists of a series of programmes which sit underneath each of our transformation pillars:

Learn to Transform: Students First

Learning Organisation & Space


Our students have asked for an annual timetable, so we will take the time and effort to create timetabling arrangements that will help us achieve this. As part of this process we will also explore how we use our learning spaces, to identify how they can be better utilised to further enhance our students learning and experience.

Learning Spaces

We need to provide the highest quality learning space possible to our students. So we are prioritising the creation of additional student spaces that are accessible and suit a wide range of learning needs. To do this we will explore how we use our learning spaces and how they can be better utilised to make a real difference for our students.

We will make sure that our education infrastructure is able to give an inspirational and transformative learning experience, one that goes beyond the classroom. This will involve making improvements to physical spaces and the IT infrastructure to deliver the highest quality student experience – one that is designed to keep pace with evolving teaching practices.

Digitally Enhanced Education

The University was set up to provide a distinctive education, and that is still true to this day. We will provide education and learning through digital technologies, which offer creative options that our founders could only have dreamed of. We will take full advantage of this to deliver on our clear aim to be an international leader in the field of digitally enhanced education.

This will meet the expectations of our students who are used to and expect digitally enhanced ways of learning. To deliver on these expectations we will explore the use of smart technologies to provide enhanced lecture capture functionality, and deliver e-assessment and feedback – making teaching even more rewarding for our students and staff.

Student Lifecycle

Student Centre

We want our students to have the best student experience possible. That is why we are creating a purpose built Student Centre which we hope to open in early 2021. This will be a place that brings together all of the student centred services that are currently located in many places on campus. This central ‘Hub’ will be where students can conveniently access information, advice and support. It will give any student no matter what the issue, the support they require to reach their academic and personal potential – and support the overall student experience.

Student Records System

Our current student record system has served us for many years, but it needs to be replaced with a new one that will enable us to ensure that student information is readily accessible to those who need it. This will provide many benefits for our students as we will deliver the right levels of intervention and support when they need it.

Channel of Choice

Students receive and access information in an increasingly diverse number of ways, including face-to-face, online and through social media channels. That is why we will create communication channels that are responsive to students’ needs; these will enable them to engage with the University as and when it fits their needs.

Learning Outcomes

Curriculum review

Increasingly students and employers expect a curriculum that goes beyond the classroom. Our curriculum has to be relevant in the development of skills, knowledge, citizenship and employer needs. In order to meet these expectations we will create a student engagement, employability and enhancement programme of opportunities and activities. This will be ready from September 2020.

Sussex Award

Our students will benefit from an enhanced award scheme that recognises the extent and value of their diverse contributions – it will encompass volunteering, internships, civic roles and responsibilities; and much more. We will introduce an accreditation scheme that captures these and other contributions in an awards scheme. This will see our students as not only “students”, but as active contributors to society and the communities they study, work and live in.

Employability Strategy

Our students expect to be able to enter the labour market in whatever role, and future, they feel is appropriate to them; and we are passionate about preparing them for employment (whatever their aspiration and choice). In supporting them in their ambitions, we will ensure that employment destination – a major KPI of the University and a contributor to national league tables is strengthened. We will make it our duty to support them in this ambition; and to affirm our commitment we will be launching our new strategy in Autumn 2019.

Build on Strengths: Delivering Success

Financial Resilience

Maximising Tuition Fee Income

To ensure the financial resilience of the institution and deliver the agreed surpluses necessary for re-investment into both the estate and our people, we must maximise income from all sources. Currently, tuition fee income constitutes two thirds of our overall income. This resource is absolutely essential to our future sustainability and success. That is why we will maximise our tuition fee income to benefit all our students and provide them with an excellent experience. We will do this through effective pricing, programming, recruitment and scholarship strategies.

Summer Vacation Income

We will maximise our financial surpluses through a clearer understanding of the opportunity of using our campus resources in particular ways over the Summer, with the aim of expanding activity. Our campus (Summer School, Conferencing, Residence etc.) is a valuable and unique asset that has been under-utilised during the Summer months. We will better utilise our facilities to gain additional income, helping to build reserves and provide additional income to invest in University facilities, the student experience, estates and our people.

Optimising Structures


We will examine and determine whether the current academic structure is best configured to deliver our academic vision. Our ongoing obligation to review our academic structures to ensure they support and enhance our ambitions will support this. The first area being considered is the proposed to combine our humanities schools.

One Professional Service

We will continue to build on the Single Team Working approach that has been successfully embedded across most Professional Service (PS) areas. As we progress we will continue to move towards “One PS” to create a more effective, efficient and integrated Professional Service. To create this “One PS”, PS colleagues will work in partnership with academic colleagues and students. Through this activity we will identify and improve the processes that are slowing us down, and re-align responsibilities across the division to deliver benefits for PS colleagues, academic staff and students.


Success Culture

Performance Management

We recognise our staff are our most valuable asset and we need to support them to deliver the high performance Sussex needs to succeed. That is why we are committed to ensuring that staff have the skills, competencies and resources to deliver Sussex 2025 strategy.

A range of initiatives will be delivered to do this, such as the Professional Services (PS) Core Competency Framework and a new Academic Career Pathway to support PS and Academic colleagues in their professional development. This focus on staff development will help to create a high performance culture.

Staff will be able to reach their professional potential to give students the best education possible, and enable us to become known as a world leading research institution.

Leadership Programme

We must ensure that we have the leaders required to progress our ambitions and strategies, not just within the University’s Leadership Team, but also our Heads of Department, portfolio holders (e.g. DTLs, DRaKEs etc.) and our future leaders.

The first phase of a new Leadership Programme will launch in September 2019, and will be followed by a number of initiatives targeted at specific groups – this will support our existing and future leaders to reach their potential and play their part in delivering our Sussex 2025 vision.

Success Criteria

What does success look like? For us to be clear about our expectations as a University and the criteria that we use to assess our direction of travel, it is critical to establish essential accountability, transparency and high performance. We will develop and implement a success framework from September 2019, to inform what success looks like in Schools, Programmes, Research and our Partnering activity – helping us all to see the benefits of our transformation activity.

Research with Impact: Delivering Research with Impact

REF 2021

The Research Excellence Framework (Ref 2021), has a key role to play in our strategic ambitions. There are many benefits in achieving a successful REF – including greater research income; student and staff recruitment; improved league table position; additional funding opportunities; and an increase in our overall reputation within the research and academic communities.

With the REF 2021 fast approaching, we want to do everything we can to prepare for it. That’s why we will focus, accelerate and prioritise our interventions now to deliver the best possible outcome – and make the embedding of REF goals and the processes involved part of “business as usual”.

Maximising Research and Income Pricing project

The University has multiple members of its community that are actively engaged with UKRI (the Research Councils) and other external funding partners (such as charities, industry and UK/devolved Governments).

A research excellence and REF 2021 Expert Advisory Group has now been established. It will work collaboratively to develop a realistic and sustainable framework for UKRI and other primary funder engagement strategies. This multifaceted and complex project will build from our REF 2021 preparations.

Optimising Engagement

Knowledge Exchange Framework

We can take pride in the value of our world-leading research, teaching and our students – they are truly transformative. Yet we can better amplify our collective impact to seize the opportunity that is provided by the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).

We will do this by launching a business and civic engagement strategy and a realigned Innovations Centre offering. This activity will be part of a comprehensive suite of enterprise services by December 2019, supported by the creation of an “Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship” model by September 2020.

Engage for Change

Underpinning all of work to transform the University, is our aim to purposefully interact with people, organisations and communities at a local, regional, national and international level. This will bring benefits to society at large, the economy and many individuals that are part of our world.

This external engagement will enable greater public understanding of science, technology, medicine, health, society, the arts and humanities. We will arm people with the knowledge and ideas to inform their personal and collective choices - we will learn and gain from our partners, just as much as they do from us.