Why do we need StARS+?

 

StARS+ is a business change programme, enabled by technology and systems improvements. But fundamentally it is all about our student administration processes and how we can do them better - for the benefit of students, staff and the University itself.

To improve the student and staff experience

The University delivers many excellent services to students and staff, and generally meets their expectations. But feedback shows there is room for improvement, so there is a need to make changes that will improve their experience.

The StARS+ programme will engage colleagues across the University to rethink what we do and how we do it, to meet the needs of the staff and students of tomorrow as well as today.

To support growth and flexibility

StARS+ is committed to supporting the Birmingham 2026 goals of growing student numbers and offering greater flexibility through online and distance learning.

To support these goals, the University’s student administration services need to become more efficient, consistent and responsive. StARS+ will achieve this through a combination of system and process improvements. 

To simplify and become more efficient

Due to the complexity of our current systems and processes, staff involved in student administration are required to put a huge amount of time and effort into workarounds, double checking and manual entry. StARS+ will work with staff to simplify, standardise and where possible automate many existing tasks and processes, allowing them to focus instead on other valuable work, especially that which directly and visibly helps students.

This is the kind of contemporary service that all our staff and students expect and deserve.

To make our systems fit for the future

The University needs to confront its “technical debt”. This refers to the legacy of years of short-term fixes to our systems that now need long-term and more comprehensive solutions.

It is not sustainable – or fair – to continue to expect staff to “work around” out-of-date systems that prevent them from working as smartly as possible, often to the detriment of the students they are committed to supporting.

To control costs while allowing for growth

The University’s student administration costs are high compared to other institutions of a similar size. One of StARS+’s objectives is to control these costs while ensuring there is effective support for the University to grow in the ways it needs to in order to meet society’s expectations.

To harness the appetite for change

Upgrading our student record system so that we can modernise the user experience has consistently been identified by staff as a priority, so StARS+ wants to capitalise on this appetite for change.

There are many good ideas and a wealth of good practice already out there that will be made all the more powerful by being shared. 

To become more consistent across the University

Making processes and systems more consistent across the University will go a long way towards reaching the goal of making things simpler and more efficient for staff and students – not least joint honours students and those who will be seeking to study in new, more flexible ways in the future.

This will help us to be resilient in the future and as we are set new challenges by external stakeholders and regulators.

We also need to develop more consistent staff structures and roles across the University, so that there are greater opportunities for staff to move roles and develop their careers within the University.

 

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