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Senate Minutes 7 June 2023

Minutes of the Meeting of the Cardiff University Senate Held on Wednesday 7 June 2023 at 2:15pm, in room 0.52 and 0.53 of Bute Building and via Zoom.


Professor Colin Riordan


Professor Dai John


Angie Flores Acuna


Dr Nicholas Jones (delegate)


Professor Rudolf Allemann


Professor Urfan Khaliq


Professor Stuart Allen


Professor Alan Kwan


Professor Jon Anderson (delegate)


Professor Eshwar Mahenthiralingam


Professor Rachel Ashworth


Emmajane Milton


Professor Warren Barr


Claire Morgan


Professor Roger Behrend


Professor Damien Murphy


Dr Daniel Bickerton (delegate)


Larissa Nelson


Professor James Birchall (delegate)


Rebecca Newsome


Professor Kate Brain


Dr James Osborne


Professor Gill Bristow


Joanne Pagett


Professor Marc Buehner


Dr Juan Pereiro Viterbo


Andreas Buerki


Professor Tim Phillips (delegate)


Professor Christine Bundy


Dr Jenny Pike


Dr Cindy Carter


Abyd Quinn-Aziz


Professor David Clarke


Dr Caroline Rae


Susan Cousins


Michael Reade


Professor Trevor Dale


Kate Richards


Dr Juliet Davis


Professor Steve Riley


Professor Lina Dencik


Dominic Roche


Rhys Denton


Dr Siwan Rosser (delegate)


Rebecca Deverall


Noah Russell


Dr David Doddington


Sarah Saunders


Dr Luzia Dominguez


Professor Katherine Shelton


Gina Dunn


Dr Andy Skyrme


Dr Derek Dunne


Professor Peter Smowton


Helen Evans


Dr Zbig Sobiesierski


Olivia Evans


Helen Spittle


Professor Stephen Fairhurst


Tracey Stanley


Professor Dylan Foster Evans


Professor Ceri Sullivan


Ashly Alva Garcia


Professor Patrick Sutton


Graham Getheridge


Dr Catherine Teehan


Shreshth Goel


Grace Thomas


Dr Rob Gossedge (delegate)


Dr Jonathan Thompson


Professor Mark Gumbleton


Dr Onur Tosun


Dr Thomas Hall


Professor Damian Walford Davies


Professor Ken Hamilton


Dr Catherine Walsh


Dr Natasha Hammond-Browning


Matt Walsh


Deborah Hearle (delegate)


Lisa Watkins


Professor Adam Hedgecoe


Professor Ian Weeks


Professor James Hegarty


Professor Keith Whitfield


Professor Mary Heimann


Professor David Whitaker


Dr Monika Hennemann


Professor Roger Whitaker


Dr Jonathan Hewitt


Professor John Wild


Professor Joanne Hunt


Professor Martin Willis


Professor Aseem Inam


Professor Jianzhong Wu


Professor Nicola Innes



In Attendance

Katy Dale (minutes)

Ruth Davies

Dr Martin Chorley

Hannah Darnley

Laura Davies

Dr Rob Davies

Rhodri Evans

Professor Claire Gorrara

Rashi Jain

Tom Hay

Luke Sloan

Professor Wenguo Jiang

Professor Andrew Lawrence

Professor Stephen Lynch

Sian Marshall

Sue Midha

Professor Omer Rana

TJ Rawlinson

Dr Andrew Roberts

Claire Sanders

Dr Henrietta Standley

Professor Amanda Tonks

Professor Jason Tucker

Professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen

Matt Williamson

Dr Liz Wren-Owens

Simon Wright (Secretary)

Darren Xiberras

1015 Welcome and introductions


1015.1         the Chair welcomed all to the meeting and detailed the process for the hybrid meeting.

1016            Apologies for absence


1016.1         that apologies received would be recorded in the Minutes.

1017 Declaration of interests

The Chair reminded members of their requirement to disclose any direct or indirect interests which could influence their judgement. Disclosure of interests should be made before an item was discussed and the individual concerned should either withdraw from the meeting or not take part in the discussion, as appropriate for that part of the agenda.


1017.1         that no member disclosed any interests.

1018            Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 1 March 2023 (paper 22/674) were confirmed as a true and accurate record and were approved to be signed by the Chair.

1019 Matters Arising


1019.1         that as requested by Senate, when discussing the Annual Enhancement Report at its meeting on 27 April 2023, Council had been informed of the issue raised in relation to a perceived lack of engagement with and between School Education and Student Experience Committees and Boards of Studies on contributing to and developing strategy [Minute 1011.10].

1020 Items from the Chair

Received and considered papers 22/688C ‘Chair’s Action’ and 22/695 ‘Information for Exam Boards’. The Vice-Chancellor spoke to this item.


1020.1         that the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience (as Chair of Academic Standards and Quality Committee) had recommended the Information for Examining Boards (which included variation to regulations) be approved as it was deemed urgent and desirable and it provided advice to examining boards of actions to be taken in response to the marking and assessment boycott. There were 3 key reasons for this:

.1       feedback from senior staff and external examiners on the need to provide clear guidance on the arrangements for the conduct of Examining Boards in the summer; it was noted that Examining Boards were currently already under way;

.2 students were seeking advice on the actions that the University would be taking, both in terms of the response to the marking and assessment boycott, and where marking was not received within the marking deadlines;

.3 the significant amount of work that needed to be done in order to ensure Examining Boards work and operate smoothly, including developing new coding in the student record system;

1020.2         that the response, to vary regulations, was comparable to that undertaken in the pandemic; Senate had been content that academic standards were being maintained in terms of the regulatory variations introduced at that time; the variations made in this instance were more stringent and less flexible than those made during the pandemic;

1020.3         that that the priority of the University remained to maintain the academic standards and reputation of the University and to act in the interests of students; it was felt the mitigations struck an appropriate balance; it was confirmed that credit would only be awarded by the achievement of module learning outcomes and it was noted that under current regulations it was not always necessary for all assessments to be completed to demonstrate the achievement of module learning outcomes; degrees would continue to be awarded where students achieved programme learning outcomes and, where appropriate, satisfied PSRB requirements, and classified if students achieved 340 credits which was current practice and not being amended; the degree algorithm and condonement rules were not being changed;

1020.4         that should assessments be marked at a later date, the higher of the module mark previously awarded and re-calculated would be taken, meaning students would not be disadvantaged; there was a low risk for some minimal grade inflation but this was not expected to be outside the range of annual fluctuations in degree outcomes;

1020.5         that the University remained complaint with guidance from the QAA; there was very low risk of a CMA concern as the University was seeking to avoid student disadvantage from the marking and assessment boycott and the University was liaising with the OIA to ensure compliance with consumer law; it was expected there would be complaints from students impacted by the boycott if assessments were not marked;

1020.6         that concerns were raised by Senate members regarding the variations; these concerns included:

.1 that using partial assessment marks to determine the result of the whole module did not take into account exit trajectory or that students may have put in more effort at the end of module assessment not realising the mid-module mark would be used; it was noted by a Senate member that in their marking they estimated a c.5-7% gap between mid-module and end of module marks;

.2       that keeping the higher mark (once assessments were marked) was unfair on students who got the correct mark;

.3 that as there was no requirement to mark all scripts, transcripts would be inconsistent across degree schemes and that moderation would not ensure consistency as only a sub-section may be moderated (as opposed to the full set);

.4 that if assessments were weighted towards the end of the semester, classifications would be passed on c.50% of the total work submitted in that semester;

.5 that this did not take account of the exit trajectory of a degree, with students often improving in their final year and the final semester of their final year;

.6       that as not all degrees were protected by relevant professional, statutory and regulatory bodies, this would introduce inconsistences;

1020.7         that the Student View implored the University to improve its communications with UCU and ensure transparency in its communications;

1020.8         that it was felt by some Senate members that a Special Meeting of Senate should have been called to allow for this matter to be discussed and a decision made in advance of Examining Boards meeting, rather than decided via Chair’s Action; it was also argued that the Marking and Assessment Boycott was known of in advance and so consideration could have been given to mitigations earlier; it was also noted that Academic Standards and Quality Committee should have been given an opportunity to discuss the proposals, however, no concerns had been raised by ASQC members on receipt of the information;

1020.9         that some Senate members felt it was unfair to put students in the middle of this dispute; other members felt it was unfair for students to be further impacted in their studies and potentially be unable to graduate or progress;

1020.10       that some members felt the comparison to mitigations during covid was not comparable, given the pandemic was outside the control of the University and was not known of in advance; it was also noted that the strike action and associated dispute was part of a national dispute and therefore not solely under the control of the University; it was noted that negotiations could recommence once the action was paused;

1020.11       that Students’ Union representatives had been involved in developing the mitigations proposed; to date no concerns had been raised in relation to the mitigations from External Examiners;

1020.12       that it was questioned what the impact would be on students if the mitigations were removed and the need to understand the effect of that;

1020.13       the Students’ Union President felt maintaining the mitigations was the preferred course of action, given students had already been significantly affected in their studies by the pandemic and industrial action and it was unfair for them to be further impacted or unable to graduate; they added that they did not feel academic standards would be compromised by these mitigations, nor that degrees given under these mitigations would have less worth than others;

1020.14       that the mitigations gave authority to Examining Boards who would then make recommendations to the Awards and Progress Committee, Chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Education and Students;

1020.15       that some members of Senate felt the mitigations were appropriate and there was confidence in Examining Boards to apply them appropriately given their understanding of their students;

1020.16       that the following Motions were put to a vote by Senate members:

.1 to return to the previous version of Academic Regulations;

.2 to advise Council of the defects in the governance of this item and to include it in the Bicameral Review;

1020.17       that Motion 1 was not carried, with 76 members present, 15 voting for and 46 against;

1020.18       that Motion 2 was not carried, with 76 members present, 34 voting for and 28 against;

1020.19       that the Vice-Chancellor confirmed these discussions would be reported to Council via the report from Senate.

1021 Vice Chancellor’s Report

Received and considered paper 22/675C ‘Vice-Chancellor’s Report to Senate’. The Vice-Chancellor spoke to this item.


1021.1         the positive news on total value of research awards, which were already £10m in advance of the previous record year at only 9 months of the current year;

1021.2         that it was queried whether financial support mechanisms for students would be increased in line with tuition fees; it was confirmed that, subject to Council approval, the uplift of the hardship fund would be maintained into 2023/24; the Welsh Government would be increasing maintenance loans for students by 9%.

1022 Report from Bicameral Review Scoping Task and Finish Group

Received and considered paper 22/676 ‘Report from Bicameral Review Scoping Task and Finish Group’. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor spoke to this item.


1022.1         that the review had originated from the Governance Effectiveness Review (or Nicholls Review) in 2021;

1022.2         that the review would look into the relationship between Council and Senate and the Task and Finish group would be scoping this review (not undertaking the review itself);

1022.3         Senate had been consulted on the membership and remit of the Task and Finish group in November 2022;

1022.4         that the Task and Finish group had met in May and identified five key areas for the scope of the review, along with suggestions for consultees and reviewers; the Group felt an external reviewer was preferred; it was noted the timeline was dependent on the appointment of the external reviewer but it was hoped it could be completed more quickly;

1022.5         that the review was commissioned by Council and therefore would be for their approval; the paper was shared with Senate for consultation and any feedback would be discussed by the Task and Finish Group at its next meeting;

1022.6         that it was queried whether the last area of the scope could be extended to review the role of all Senate members on Council (i.e. also include the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the College Pro Vice-Chancellor and the Student representatives).


1022.7         for the Task and Finish Group to consider the feedback raised in point 1022.6.

1023            The Student View 2023

Received and considered paper 22/677 ‘The Student View 2023’. The Students’ Union President, Vice-President Postgraduate, Vice-President Heath Park and Vice-President Welfare and Campaigns spoke to this item.


1023.1         that the Student View was developed via data collected through Student Staff panels, Speak Week and other forums; Speak Week had resulted in c.6000 individual comments;

1023.2         that an in-year Student View had been submitted on the Cost of Living and this had been a great example of co-working; it was hoped more of these could be undertaken in future years;

1023.3         that the Executive Summary also included general feedback and it was hoped in future years this would be the only document submitted and would cover Student Views created throughout the year;

Student View on Housing

1023.4         that a rising number of students were struggling to find accommodation within Cardiff;

1023.5         the Students’ Union had undertaken a Housing Research survey in partnership with Shelter Cymru which received 457 responses (the largest response rate seen); this had been conducted with Cardiff students to ensure it was representative; the survey had identified issues around maintenance not being attended to including damage, damp and broken furniture;

1023.6         that the recommendations were for the University to:

.1 adopt a “duty of care” approach to all students who find themselves homeless due to a lack of available accommodation;

.2 work in partnership with other Cardiff based academic institutions (not just Cardiff Metropolitan University) to understand future growth trends, and the impact on demand for student accommodation in the city;

.3 take a more detailed focus on property condition and customer services being experienced in University owned halls;

.4 develop a communication/education strategy to ensure that new students and first years leaving University halls were aware of their legal rights;

1023.7         that the University had a responsibility to its students and they formed a large part of the population of Cardiff;

Student View on Estates and Facilities

1023.8         that study spaces and buildings were reflected in the Student View every year;

1023.9         that feedback on travel had noted the increased costs in this area; a recommendation was therefore the University review its travel provision, especially around bus services, bike and storage facilities, and student friendly parking;

1023.10       the second recommendation was to improve the regularity of cleaning across the University estate with particular focus on toilets and areas where hygiene is paramount; this was especially seen in libraries and areas where students spent a large amount of time, but was noted across the whole campus;

1023.11       the third recommendation was to provide accessible, free period products in a gender-neutral location in all buildings across campus; this was based on feedback from staff and students;

1023.12       the fourth recommendation centred on installing more prayer, sensory and common rooms across campus; this was again often seen in libraries, but also in accessible buildings and at the Heath;

1023.13       recommendation five was for the University to continue to review its sports facilities and gym offering across the estate ensuring that it remains affordable and accessible to students, which was especially important given current cost increases;

1023.14       that recommendation 6 (the University should review and improve the ergonomics of their buildings) focused on utilising study spaces and provision of kettles and plug sockets; it was noted that signage on how and where students could adjust temperatures of rooms would resolve a number of comments from students;

1023.15       the final recommendation noted the University should undertake a review of its accessibility; the main area of this related to lifts as these were often inaccessible or not working; close captioning, door accessibility and storage for heavy items were also noted;

Student View on Assessment and Feedback

1023.16       that assessment and feedback consistently yielded low scores in the NSS and had also been raised during Speak Week;

1023.17       that external factors had resulted in students feeling less empowered to pursue challenges in their academic journey.

1023.18       Five key elements of assessment experience had been highlighted: feedback quality; assessment scheduling; assessment guidance; assessment times and changes; and extenuating circumstances; external factors (such as strike action and AI) were also noted;

1023.19       students did not feel that feedback supported and promoted effective learning due to its lateness and other factors; a recommendation was therefore proposed for the University to develop a tailored communication plan to address misconceptions of assessment feedback turnaround;

1023.20       bunching of assessments had also had an impact, alongside students not feeling prepared (due to the effects of covid); the recommendations suggested an end to assessment bunching, as well as implementing improvements to support and guidance surrounding assessments;

1023.21       that thanks were extended by Pro Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience to all involved with producing the document; the institutional response would be shared with Senate at its next meeting and work was already underway to address the issues raised; it was also pleasing to note the progress against recommendations from previous Student Views and that actions taken in response to the latest Student Views would be overseen by the Student Voice and Partnership Committee which would report onwards to Education and Student Experience Committee and Senate.

1024            Launching the Supporting Research Excellence programme at Cardiff University

Received and considered paper 22/678 ‘Launching the Supporting Research Excellence Programme at Cardiff University’. The Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and Enterprise spoke to this item.


1024.1         that the key aims of the programme were:

.1 to ensure the institution retained a long-term focus on research quality; this was especially important for outputs which formed a core part of assessment exercises;

.2 to ensure long term planning for future research assessments;

1024.2         that the programme aimed to ensure strong local ownership within schools, where schools felt empowered and had agency to create an environment where outputs flourished and individuals could reach their full potential;

1024.3         that there was commitment to deliver a number of workstreams, including:

  • A programme of output quality improvement activity;
  • A new data system for peer review of outputs;
  • Processes to ensure open access compliance;
  • Support for reviews of impact;
  • A research leave scheme;
  • Further support of the development of Early Career Researchers;

1024.4         that this would be run alongside the IPP;

1024.5         that work had commenced through Directors of Research (who were fundamental to the programme) and an initial framework had been developed to provide direction; this would be further refined, particularly as rules for future assessment were better known;

1024.6         that it was important to understand the thoughts and concerns of research staff;

1024.7         that it was important to ensure research was visible and a communications plan was being developed.

1025            Review of Education Governance arrangements

Received and considered paper 22/679 ‘Review of Education Governance Arrangements’. The Pro Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience spoke to this item.


1025.1         that Senate had agreed enhancements to the education governance structure in June 2021; this had included an agreement to review the structure once it had been fully operational for a year;

1025.2         that the review would be undertaken at the end of the 2022/23 academic year and report to Senate in Autumn 2023; the Pro Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience was particularly keen to review the impacts on reporting at school level committees and Boards of Studies.

1026            Academic Standards and Quality Committee Report to Senate

Received paper 22/680 ‘Academic Standards and Quality (ASQC) Report’. The Pro Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience spoke to this item.


1026.1         that the full policy changes referenced in the report were included as a separate paper later in the meeting book; thanks were extended to academic and Professional Services colleagues who had assisted in this work; thanks were also extended to the Dean for Welsh Language for their assistance in work around ensuring Welsh-medium assessments complied with the Welsh Language Standards;

1026.2         that a review of the Extenuating Circumstances policy would be undertaken once sufficient data was available from the 2022-23 academic year;

1026.3         that all actions from the audit on in-year resists had been closed;

1026.4         that a Task and Finish Group (chaired by Dr Andrew Roberts) had been established in relation to the result notification process audit and to provide immediate assurance on the accuracy of marks;

1026.5         that programme information and diets had been confirmed by 28th April which showed significant improvement and thanks were extended to all involved;

1026.6         that thanks were extended from a member of Senate to the Academic Standards and Quality Committee and Professional Services colleagues for work on the PhD and performance pathway in the School of Music;

1026.7         that it was queried whether the amendment to allow examination periods to be used for academic purposes other than examinations could provide Heads of Schools with further discretion, to prevent bunching of examinations and a break for staff and students between examinations and assessments; it was hoped this would also reduce the number of self-certified extensions; it was agreed this would be looked into and an update bought to the next meeting;

1026.8         that in respect of student study and engagement, there had been feedback from HEFCW on engagement policies and the University had worked to reply to this; the University was also looking more broadly at personalised support and how students were supported and engaged with via a project under the Education and Student Experience portfolio.


1026.9         to approve the changes to academic regulations and policies detailed in section 1 of the report;

1026.10       to review whether Heads of School could have further discretion to allow examination periods to be used for academic purposes other than examinations.

1027            Education and Student Experience Committee report to Senate

Received paper 22/681 ‘Education and Student Experience Committee Report’. The Pro Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience spoke to this item.


1027.1         that a review of the module enhancement policy had been undertaken, led by Professor Luke Sloan, and this had been renamed module evaluation; considerable consultation had been undertaken as part of the review and the policy had been streamlined and simplified; the policy now included mid-module events and schools would be able to determine how to gather this feedback (noting this did not need to be a survey and this was discouraged given the number of surveys already in place); work was now being undertaken to support schools in implementing this;

1027.2         that a query was raised in regards to managing engagement with module reviews, which was low in some schools; it was noted response rates varied and engagement was being tracked, especially around larger surveys such as NSS, and there was higher engagement with schools that used engagement officers; the Student Voice Committee was benefiting this area and the University was reviewing how students were communicated with on their feedback;

1027.3         the report also noted:

.1       an update on ‘Education for Sustainability” as requested by Senate;

.2       that the Committee had endorsed updates to the Blended Learning Framework and a Task and Finish group had been established to review this from 2024/25 onwards; this would include consultation;

.3       that the Committee had endorsed guidance around the use of AI which would be published and shared.


1027.4         to approve the Module Enhancement Policy.

1028            Any other business


1028.1         that thanks were extended to those members of Senate attending their last meeting;

1028.2         that best wishes were extended from Senate to the Vice-Chancellor who was attending his last meeting before retirement.

1029            Items received for approval


1029.1         to approve the following papers:

22/689 Changes to Academic Regulations and Policies

22/666 Research Integrity and Governance Code of Practice

1030            Items received for information

Senate noted the following papers:

22/682 Minutes of ASQC – 25 May 2023

22/541 Minutes of E&SEC – 29 March 2023

22/683 Minutes of E&SEC – 18 May 2023

22/684C Report from Honorary Fellows and Degrees Committee

22/687 Academic Research Misconduct - Policy and Procedure for investigating   allegations

22/685 Emeritus and Emerita titles awarded since 1 April 2022

22/686 Schedule of business for the year 2023-24