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Getting the basics clear

14 February 2008

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eric Thomas, on revisiting the University Plan - starting with its Mission, Vision and Values.

When I arrived here in 2001, we went through a long and thorough consultation process to define the University’s Mission, Vision and Values. These were then used as a basis for the University Plan for 2004-2009. Council – the University’s governing body – has asked that the Plan be refreshed, though not fundamentally changed, for the period from 2009 onwards.

A small number of us have started by looking again at the Mission, Vision and Values. We have re-stated them in a way we think is clearer and we have added two values (Quality and Ambition) that are often articulated by staff. However, we do not believe we have changed the essence of the statement – nor should we; it would be counter-intuitive that there should be major changes after only five years.

I do not think a repeat, in-depth consultation throughout the University is necessary to justify these proposed editorial changes and I know that many of you would find such a process wearisome. However, I have asked for feedback from the senior team, including Deans and Directors of Division, and Council will be reviewing the suggested changes in March. In addition, it is important that any member of staff should be able and welcome to express an opinion.

The draft of the revised Mission, Vision and Values statement appears below. If you have any comments, please send them to Barry Taylor, the University’s Communications Director.

Draft statement of Mission, Vision and Values


To pursue knowledge and understanding at the highest levels, both for their own sake and to help individuals and society fulfil their aspirations and potential.


The University is unique, compact and collegial; an international powerhouse of learning, discovery and enterprise.

The vision is of a university that is widely acknowledged as globally competitive, nationally distinguished and locally engaged, and that is:

  • dedicated to academic excellence across a broad range of disciplines, and to continuous innovation and improvement;
  • research-intensive, supporting both individual scholarship and interdisciplinary or thematic research that has a positive impact on the world;
  • a centre for intellectually demanding, research-informed education that nurtures independence of mind and helps students achieve their personal goals and serve society’s needs;
  • an inclusive and collaborative community of scholarship that attracts and retains people with outstanding talent and potential from all sections of society and all parts of the world;
  • a stimulating and supportive environment for students and staff, distinguished by a commitment to quality, respect for the individual and a strong sense of collegiality;
  • a significant contributor culturally, environmentally and economically to Bristol and the South West, engaged with society’s concerns, priorities and interests;
  • well led and responsibly run, with an emphasis on transparent, consultative decision-making and open communication.


Everything we do must be guided by the values set out here.

We seek and are inspired by truth.

We strive for excellence in all we do.

We are committed to the new, the creative and the entrepreneurial.

We have high aspirations for the University, its students and staff.

We encourage independent thinking and cherish the University’s autonomy.

We are committed to teamwork and to partnership with others.

We want to make a positive difference to the wider world and the future.

We want to be open and accountable for our decisions.

We view the diversity of our staff and students as a great asset.

We believe in the fair and equal treatment of all.

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