Strategic Framework 2018-2030

An applied university of today and for tomorrow

I am proud to introduce this Strategic Framework 2018-2030 for the University of Derby, which has been developed in consultation with our staff, our students and our stakeholders. What came through loud and clear in these conversations was pride in what we have achieved to date, recognition that it is now time to take the next step in terms of what we do and how we do it, and a real determination to embrace change and deliver an outstanding experience for everyone who wants to engage with us.

Producing a long-term strategy during a period of unprecedented change, not only in our sector but politically, socially and economically, creates a challenge but many opportunities. We are ambitious for our students, our staff and our region, but equally need to be flexible and adaptable to the changing environment in which we operate. What is right for our students today may not be right tomorrow, and getting this right is most important for our future success.

We have taken a standpoint that it would be unrealistic to set out a definitive vision and detailed blueprint for the next 12 years. Instead, we have defined our Strategic Framework which provides us with the foundations and direction on which to annually plan, perform and succeed in a changing and globally dynamic environment.

At the heart of this is a simple promise:

Everything we do is driven by delivering excellence and opportunities for our students, our staff and our region.

We have a long-standing reputation for teaching excellence of which we are extremely proud – now is the time to build further on this, through more focused and integrated applied research. Opportunities are a core element of our academic approach – not only in terms of delivering these, but through a culture of curiosity and drive instilled in our students and staff to seek and create their own. We are proud to be the only university in our city and county as this enriches our connectivity within the region but as importantly we relish the civic responsibilities this brings.

We are a modern university with a modern outlook. We will approach the next 12 years with purpose, positivity and confidence in what we are going to accomplish based on this Strategic Framework. I look forward to updating you on our progress and achievements in the months and years to come.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice Chancellor

Vice-Chancellor speaking at the Strategic Framework launch event

Our Purpose

From the heart of England, we empower people across the globe to achieve their potential and make a positive contribution to society.

Our Promise

Everything we do is driven by delivering excellence and opportunities for our students, staff and region.

Our Principles

The University of Derby’s approach is underpinned by the following core principles:

  1. We believe that higher education should be equitable, inclusive and open to all who have the ambition and desire to learn and progress.
  2. We ensure, through our teaching and research, that our students learn the theory, have the opportunity to put this into practice and develop the right level of curiosity and behaviours employers are looking for.
  3. We inspire self-confidence and personal awareness in our students of what they are capable of, while supporting them to achieve their best.
  4. We believe that, while university is a place to achieve qualifications, true transformation comes from the experiences gained and the opportunities explored while doing so.
  1. We have talented and motivated staff, who work in a highperformance culture that promotes well-being, diversity and opportunity for all, and are essential in providing the best possible student experience.
  2. We develop systems, processes and ways of working which enable our staff to work efficiently and effectively, and ensure we are best placed to build partnerships, seize opportunities and deliver value for money.
  3. We operate openly and with transparency in terms of our policies and investments, with decisions on these informed by timely data, insights and intelligence.
  4. We empower our staff and students through the use of cutting-edge technology, and safe and secure facilities expertly designed to inspire them to achieve excellence.
  1. We understand and embrace our role in raising aspirations, improving skills and adding value to the lives of everyone in our region.
  2. We take pride in the achievements of our staff and students, and unashamedly celebrate their successes across the University, the region and beyond.

Our Place

Derbyshire provides the perfect base for our thriving university. Situated in the heart of England and regarded as the home of the Industrial Revolution, it is a place where innovators and industrialists have made their mark on the world for over 300 years.

During this time, the region has built up a strong reputation for its ingenuity, practical application, industry, inventiveness and creativity – all traits well and truly embedded into the philosophy and approach of our university.

Derby today has flourished into a vibrant, modern city. Its industrial heart still beats strong, with thriving global businesses and successful SMEs operating side-byside, creating fantastic opportunities for our students, our graduates and our local communities. Beyond that, its retail, cultural and sporting offer continues to grow, making it a hugely attractive place to live and study.

On our doorstep is the Peak District, which attracts 10 million visitors from across the globe each year. This is flanked by the towns of Buxton and Chesterfield, home to our university’s other two main sites.

With East Midlands Airport providing a global gateway and London only 90 minutes away by train, Derby’s national and international reach is befitting of a city with such a fine heritage.

Our People

We value people and are future-focused. We are bold and foster brilliance. Our culture is one in which diverse skills and experiences are valued. We are open-minded, with individuals given the space and support to develop and grow.

We work as a community, with a sense of purpose which translates itself into a single shared passion among all staff to provide the best possible experience for our students, partners and stakeholders.

We trust and support each other to deliver on our promises. We listen and act with integrity to build positive long lasting partnerships. We think big, and encourage our students, partners, city and region to do the same. We have passion, ambition and look for opportunities to stretch and challenge ourselves and others.

Our confident and adaptable approach to change means we work together to challenge, take the lead and set the pace. We are curious and optimistic and do not accept mediocrity.

Our Pillars

What we do and how we do it through to 2030 will be shaped by our Principles, against which all strategic and tactical decisions will be made to ensure Derby is best placed to succeed for its students, staff and region. This success will be achieved by:

Our students will benefit from a high quality learning environment, pioneering use of modern learning methods, access to diverse and exciting opportunities, and a continually evolving suite of services and support covering all aspects of their lives.

They will study an industry-relevant and research-informed curriculum shaped in collaboration with partners across business and professions, and in line with global issues and government agendas. This is delivered through industry-connected and research-active academics able to share their experiences and build connections.

Our students will therefore graduate with the skills, knowledge, experience and attributes which enable them to fulfil their ambitions and make a positive contribution to the world. They will set their aspirations high, think beyond the obvious, and have the ingenuity, curiosity and enterprise to succeed in their chosen career path.

As the only university in our city and county we take seriously the responsibility we have to drive the economic, social, cultural, educational and environmental prosperity of our home.

Working with others, and with the full commitment of our staff and students, we will raise aspirations and improve the education, skills, health and well-being of current and future generations across our region. We will play our part in positioning Derby as a key city on the national and international stage, with our academic reputation established as a core element of the ‘Derby story’.

Our research, knowledge creation and innovation is focused on making a practical, positive difference to people’s lives – regionally, nationally and globally. We will further establish ourselves as the preferred partner of choice to provide solutions to social and industrial challenges by delivering academic expertise, knowledge and innovation, alongside students and graduates with the right “I can, and I will” attitude.

We firmly believe in the transformational nature of education and, as a champion of social mobility, will strive to inspire and create opportunities for all across our region and beyond, regardless of age, background or location.

Our ability to offer the broadest range of options from Apprenticeships to Foundation Years, and Short Courses to Postgraduate, means that at every stage of someone’s life or career, there are the tools, resources and opportunities on offer at the University of Derby from which they can benefit.

Our renowned knowledge and innovation in online learning acts as the perfect platform for us to be a pioneer for education in the increasingly technologicallydriven world in which we live. Be it through online, face-to-face or blended teaching, Derby will be at the forefront of the flexible, integrated learning revolution aligned to the needs of learners now and in the future.

Our global outlook will see more international students coming to our university and more opportunities for home students to travel overseas as part of their studies, further enriching their experience.

Our Values

A robust set of values has been a key factor in achieving the success we have enjoyed to date. How we approach our work and how we approach each other is as important as what we do to ensure we continue to build on our success.

We enable people to achieve beyond their expectations, which attracts high-performing staff, students with a drive to succeed, and partners who are keen to benefit from our expertise.

We share a collective endeavour to open minds, and encourage and inspire those who come into contact with us.

We trust and support each other to deliver on our promises. We listen and act with integrity to build positive long-lasting partnerships.

We are true ambassadors of our purpose and promises.

We think big and make an impact.

We have passion and ambition, and look for opportunities to stretch and challenge ourselves and others. We evolve through new learning and experiences, and are beacons of good practice.

We are proud of what we do, make ourselves visible, and tell our story in a way that strengthens our global presence.

We create a reputation where our innovation, skills and knowledge are relied upon by industry to fulfil their potential and ensure their future success.

We are modern, seek out and embrace current thinking, and employ innovative practices.

We have a confident and adaptable approach to change, working together to challenge, take the lead and set the pace.

We have determination, knowledge and a positive attitude, keeping engaged in the world around us and staying ahead of the game.

We’re curious, optimistic and strive for excellence.

We create thriving communities where those around us are confident to share their views, celebrate success and are proud of the achievements we make.

We create stimulating environments that transform the prospects of all who engage with us. We believe we all make a difference.

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