The Current Situation
The Strategic Context
Towards A Strategy For Central Teaching Space
2 The Current Situation
A strategy has been developed at Leeds, which is providing the framework for
the identification and pursuit of objectives leading to the achievement of our
aim to provide space and services that are always fit-for-purpose. The Teaching
and Learning Committee agreed that the Departmental Support Unit and University
Media Services should lead a review of the management model for central
teaching space, including options for the recovery of the costs of central
teaching space from users.
The strategic aim is clear: to continuously improve the fitness-for-purpose of
central teaching space and the services that support it. The mission is to
support the aim of the university and its teachers to achieve excellence in
teaching and learning. Also, the need to achieve high TQA ratings is increasing
the pressure to adopt a quality-led approach to the provision of teaching
accommodation and supporting services. There is a range of issues under
discussion including integrated management of all services, booking systems for
central space, setting and delivering appropriate standards of support services
(including AV and computing) and systematic funding. In the future we
anticipate more space being released by departments to the `centre'. A major
objective is to recover the costs from users in order to fund the operation.
About 25% of the university's teaching space inventory is classed as `central'.
Some central teaching space has, over the years, deteriorated and is in need of
refurbishment and re-equipment. A two phase programme of refurbishment and
re-equipment has been completed in the central lecture theatre block (c.3,000
seats), and in a range of other tiered and some flat teaching spaces (c.500
seats) located in other buildings on the campus. Audio visual presentation
facilities in two more major lecture theatres (c.1, 000 seats) were replaced
over the summer 1997. Plans are in hand to take a phased approach to a rolling
programme of further improvements in central and departmental teaching and
Before refurbishment of the central lecture theatre block (25 theatres and
c.3,000 seats), every lecture theatre more or less met the minimum standard of
writing surface (all blackboards), slide projector, and OHP. The facilities
could be maintained easily by two technicians, with the help of a porter. After
refurbishment, things have changed: many of the theatres now have sophisticated
presentation equipment, including video and data projection, fixed computers
and automatic control systems. This type of equipment presents new problems.
Technical staff need to be more skilled and more highly trained, and more
technical staff are needed. Also, teachers often need help in becoming familiar
with the new systems. The improvements have also raised teacher and learner
expectations generally. For example, teaching and learning styles are changing
and an increasing number of users expect their teaching spaces and facilities
to be adaptable and flexible - capable of supporting a wide range of learning
activity from lectures to syndicates. The demand for, for example, large screen
computer display has increased to the extent that it is becoming a routine
requirement rivaling that for the OHP.
Central Teaching Space Services are provided by the University Media Services.
Media Services is an organisation of 79 staff turning over around £3,200k
annually. Media Services operates 3 divisions:
1. Printing Services
2. Television Services
3. Photography and Central Teaching Space Services
The university's videoconferencing service is based in Central Teaching
Space Services (CTSS), utilizing up to 3 ISDN line pairs via a PictureTel
Concord 4500 studio suite (eq. cost 95/96 £50k) and PictureTel Live 100
PC-based equipment ( eq. cost 96/97 £4k).
This year (1997/98) the university has funded a budget of £140.5k for CTSS
support, provided by Media Services. The Head of Photography and Central
Teaching Space Services provides direction and administrative support. An
academic related CTSS manager provides line management. They are responsible to
the Director of Media Services for running the services including planning and
development, staff management and deployment, maintenance, budgeting and
financial control etc. There are 5 staff in Central Teaching Space Services:
the academic related line manager and 4 technicians. Permission has also been
granted to recruit another technician on a fixed term rolling contract.
Additional effort is provided by a student workforce, employed on a casual
basis, to provide routine maintenance and user support.
The central administration handles the booking for all the space held centrally
and has become involved increasingly in the allocation of departmental teaching
space to meet the requirements of the central timetable. The need to match the
needs of end-users to the spaces and facilities available, in a timely way, is
a non-trivial operational issue. This is viewed as a mission critical
A cross-service management team is being set up for the provision of booking,
audio-visual, computing and other support services to central teaching space.
Arrangements are in hand for sounding user views on accommodation and services
by means of user panels, focus groups etc. Matters of policy and finance are
being dealt with jointly by the Teaching and Learning Committee and the
committee of Senate with responsibility for information strategy, systems and
Finally, there are provisional amounts for teaching space development and
refurbishment identified in the university's Corporate Plan for the period to
1999 totaling £600k.