Support for Departmental and Professional Services planning

Annual Planning Process

The annual strategic planning process is led by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor.  As well as supporting the development of departmental and professional services plans, the process also ensures that this development is aligned  to the work in implementing the University's Education and Research strategies, the Annual review of Courses (ARC) and curriculum review.

Through a series of meetings, the development of plans and budgets for the University's faculties and Professional Services are considered, alongside the implementation of the Education and Research strategies.

Planning Information Portal

The Planning Information Portal (otherwise known as PIP) has a rich supply of performance and sector benchmark data that supports the annual planning process and annual review of courses. 

Access the Planning Information Portal

The content is restricted to members of staff only and if you are prompted for an ID and password, remember to use your full University email address (including and your current network password. 

Reporting services guidance

Accessing restricted content

To access Reporting Services, you need to have a University of Essex email account. You need to make sure you're using Internet Explorer as your web browser.

If prompted for an ID and password:

  • use your full email address as your ID
  • use your usual network password

If you have a University of Essex account but can't access the sites, please contact your Faculty Office to check you are on the correct access list. Staff in Professional Services should contact the Planning Office and Data Insight Team.

If you don't have a University of Essex email account, you won't be able to access restricted content. However, you are able to view summary statistics

Web browsers and operating systems

Only use Internet Explorer

Reporting Services and SharePoint were designed by Microsoft to work with Internet Explorer and consequently they don't always work well with other browsers.

Some aspects will work with other web browsers, but for the best experience we recommend using Internet Explorer.

Using an Apple (Mac OS)

Some aspects might work but we are unable to offer support if you encounter any problems.

We would suggest you use a PC running the Windows operating system and Internet Explorer as the web browser.

'Fte' and 'load' meaningsĀ 

Student numbers

Student numbers count each individual student as 1.0, whether full-time or part-time; they can be thought of as a 'body count'. They are derived from registrations for courses within faculties and are not available by departments other than in the 'Departmental registrations by course' tables. They include all students other than those away for a year, whether abroad, or in industry or commerce, as part of a four-year integrated sandwich module, or on a franchised-out module.

Student fte

Student fte counts full-time students as 1.0 and part-time students less than 1.0, dependent on their pattern of study e.g. a student studying for a Masters degree over 2 years will count as 0.5 each year. The fte allocation of a student reflects the administrative split involved in a course so that a single honours student tends to be wholly allocated to one department, a joint honours (e.g. History and Literature) will be split 50:50 between the two departments and a student on a course that is not equally joint but involves more than one department (e.g. Literature with Modern Languages) will usually be split 65:35. These rules are designed to cover the greater majority of degree courses where only one or two departments are involved. There are, however, other occasions on which a different allocation of student fte is appropriate. For example, where more than two departments are involved in teaching on the degree course such that an allocation of student fte that recognises the input of all concerned is appropriate.

It is important to remember that the allocation of fte is largely a measure of the administration and ownership of a course and is not to be confused with the allocation of student load which is a measure of the actual teaching carried out. Student fte are, therefore, a first approximation of student load but does not take account of detailed service teaching arrangements. They include all students on campus with those away for a year being shown separately.

Student load

Student load counts full-time students as 1.0 and part-time students less than 1.0, the same as for student fte. It is calculated from information supplied by departments for each module of a course about the proportions of teaching carried out by all the departments concerned. It is, thus, a measure of teaching load and will differ from student fte insofar as a department receives and gives 'service teaching' from or to another department. Student load can be regarded as a measure of a department's true teaching activity. It excludes students away for a year.

The basic assumption in student load is that the total package of modules taken by any one full-time student is equal to 1 fte (with part-time students counting as less than 1.0 fte). All calculations are based on the individual student's module enrolment record, as held on the main student record database. If all the modules a student takes are based in a single department, then the full load goes to that department. If a student is taking modules in more than one department then the load is apportioned accordingly. Thus it is the relative weighting of individual modules being taken in a particular year of a course that is important. Load for undergraduates and taught module postgraduates is calculated in this way, based on students who are actually registered. It is therefore vital that module enrolment information held on the student record database is accurate as at 1 December each year, which is the 'day of count'.

Load for research students is allocated wholly to the department in which the student is registered unless the student is taking taught modules in another department, or there are split supervision arrangements. In the case of taught modules, the providing department will be credited with the appropriate proportion of load. Departments are given the opportunity to claim 'credit' for teaching research students from other departments on an annual basis in November. At the same time, any arrangements for split supervision for research students can also be recorded. Load for research students can be allocated in any proportion between departments, provided both departments agree.

Planning process guidance

To support the annual planning process, the following guidance is available to departments and professional services.

Guidance and training

The guidance page includes a timeline for the planning cycle with the key milestones, along with process guidance documents for both Department/School planning, Professional Services planning, templates and training material.

The Planning and Data Insight Team run a number of hands-on training courses throughout the year. These are available to book through HR Organiser.

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