The Committee is pleased to present this summary strategy for consideration and approval by the Members of the Royal College of Science Association at the 103rd AGM. The executive officers have discussed plans with the College officers, the students (RCS Union and IC Union) and other key people within the natural environment of the RCS.
The Committee welcomes and encourages Members to respond to this consultation paper, either by attending the AGM in person or by sending in representations (in advance or after the AGM). Below are the five principle strategy areas (key strands) of work that are set out to direct the work of the Committee from now until the AGM in 2022, with a mandate for the committee to report annually on progress to the AGM.
Strong relations with students and the Union.
Work Plan / Rationale
There is good will amongst the students that know of the RCS(A) for the Association to have a supportive and active role in student life. For the Association, this obviously enhances the chance of increasing our membership, but also increasing our awareness and influence within the university and notably the Faculty of Natural Sciences.
RCS Union (1)
FoNS students (2)
Mutually advantageous relationships with the College.
Work Plan / Rationale
The College needs to friend-raise, and we should be their natural allies and champions. There are many ex-student groups out there, some of which still meet in and around the College, others have no meaningful current link with current ‘College people’.
The RCSA should work with natural allies to have a focused and well managed channel of communication with the Faculty and the College officers – it will both help our resources and also support the College’s energies and resources.
FoNS Advancement Office (5)
Non-academic Departments (6)
Other Alumni Organisations (7)
Alumni Societies (8)
Enhancing our role between and within the wider RCS environment.
Work Plan / Rationale
The Association needs to review and refresh its purpose and everyone should be able to say who we are and what we are about – “what do you do?”. Presence on the web and social media is worthless unless there is ‘noise’ and chatter going on; a reason to visit the website and to revisit it, and an enjoyable and useful interaction on Twitter and LinkedIn as well as Facebook. The Association will need to ask its current and prospective members what they expect and want from an RCSA offering going forward.
Student Membership (9)
Imperial Festival (10)
Social Media (11)
Memorable, practical and sustainable membership services.
Work Plan / Rationale
The Association needs to have a Holy Trinity of events for members, events for exposure (promoting the RCSA) and practical projects that can unite current and prospective members with the wider College.
War Memorial Project (12)
Governing Body Representation Project (13)
Academic Dress Project (14)
Membership Cards (15)
Good governance and strong finances.
Work Plan / Rationale
The Association is an unincorporated mutual membership association, and unless there are necessary reasons to change the current legal vehicle, the current set-up is advantageous: for instance we can recover payments of corporation tax from the past and we are not obliged to be regulated under the Companies Acts. We currently review our governance and rules annually and there is a dedicated sub-committee for this. We should review our policies on data and look at whether registration with the Information Commissioners Office enable better administration work with the College. We should also look at our relationship with the RCSA Trust, both on how we can support it and its work, but also to engage better our membership with the work of the trustees (i.e. recruiting trustees).
Annual Performance Report (16)
RCSA Trust Promotion
Designated Funds (17)
Published Targets and KPIs (18)
ICO Registration (19)
(1) The Royal College of Science Union (RCSU), is the students’ union for FoNS students.
(2) Faculty of Natural Sciences (FoNS) is the academic division of Imperial College that is essentially the old Royal College of Science Departments. The head of the faculty is an executive Dean, presently this is Professor Tom Welton, the former head of the Department of Chemistry and former student of the College.
(3) Imperial College Union (ICU), is the students’ union of all students at Imperial College. The RCSU is one of the ‘constituent unions’ of ICU.
(4) Student clubs (societies and student media), such as the RCS Motor Club, Broadsheet, academic-related department societies, and other cultural, political, social groups affiliated to and supported by ICU (or RCSU).
(5) The Advancement Office is the administrative division of Imperial College responsible for alumni relations, events and fundraising.
(6) Examples are the Library and the College Archives.
(7) The College website lists over 100 groups of which the RCSA is one. Others include the City & Guilds Association, the Royal School of Mines Association, the Agricola Club, medics alumni groups etc.
(8) Examples include the Old RCS Darts Clubs, the ’22 Club (a tie club of the RCS), the Imperial College Masonic Lodge and other broadly alumni bodies and generally independent of both the College and ICU/RCSU.
(9) The Association presently permits within its rules that current students and ex-students within 18 months of leaving the College can be granted free ‘student membership’.
(10) The Alumni Weekend is now mainly part of the Imperial Festival, an annual outreach events hosted and organised by the College at the South Kensington Campus in May each year.
(11) The Association has a facebook group, a twitter handle and a LinkedIn profile.
(12) The Committee has endorsed a project to re-establish the War Memorial that was for the fallen of both WW1 and WW2, which was destroyed in 1962 with the erection of the new Chemistry building. We needs to raise funds to deliver this and commission the work for official dedication on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day in November 2018.
(13) Since the College governance review post separation from the University of London, there has been no dedicated alumni representatives on a governing body or court body and the Committee desires to campaign to change this.
(14) It has been proposed that other projects are proposed by Members annually at the AGM for delegation to the Committee to organise. One such example is for the RCSA representatives at official Imperial College events have special academic dress.
(15) The RCSA Membership Card is now valid identification for Members returning to the Union for a drink and admission under their licence.
(16) The Committee is to report annually specifically on the delivery of the strategic plan and to proposed amendments/updates to this. This would also provide opportunity to share key indicators and for Members to agree new Projects for the Committee to deliver over the next period.
(17) The Committee would receive recommendations from the Honorary Treasurer on how best to budget and designate funds for use at supporting events, promotions, student subsidies and prizes etc, so to achieve a sustainable financial base.
(18) KPS are the Key Performance Indicators, to be agreed by the Committee and published in the Annual Report. Such examples could be membership numbers, event attendance, fundraising, RCSA Trust gifts etc.
(19) The Committee is working with the College Advancement Office to develop a dedicated online portal that is managed by and accessible by RCSA representatives/officers. The Committee holds a data policy currently. Registration with the Information Commissioners Office may be required going forward (at a cost of circa £35 pa).
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
It has been an honour and a pleasure to serve as president of the Association from July 2012. I am excited by the proposed strategic plan and very much believe that this is the culmination of good relationships, soul searching and a new interest with the students that has been fostered over the last few years. I am very much in debt to the work and dedication of Committee members, and a special mention must go to Honorary Secretary Duncan Robertson who has transformed the administration of the RCSA over the last five years – and it must be good because each and every meeting of the Committee has had a quorum and good discussion on student support, events and where we are headed.
In retiring as president at the close of the AGM, a number of long-serving Committee members will also retire. And we shall be seeing a new intake of members, many of whom have graduated within the last five years or so. It’s impossible to list all the contributions that Committee members make over the years, but one thing that always strikes me about me mbership organisations is that there is always a strength in diversity and this comes from constantly engaging with our prospective membership base. So this leads me on to my final ‘thank-you’ of my retirement letter:
When I was elected president in 2012, and the five plus years before that, the Association (as other associations found too) was reeling from the dramatic changes that Rector Sir Richard Sykes brought to the College. It seemed to be a tsunami of radical and quick change ranging from the abolishment of the constituent colleges, the winding up of the RCSU, the centralization into an “Imperial College Association” of alumni, a land-grab on sport at Imperial, a near-merger with University College and then the exit from the University of London. In all of this we lost meaningful and useful contacts in the College and a very much reduced administration support. I know that many Members have felt that the RCSA had vanished or wound down – and probably that is what was actually happening. So this final thank-you is to the College and specifically to the new team (which includes some old faces) within the Advancement Office (which you will know as the Alumni Office) for recognizing that we can have different approaches and needs for the various alumni groups and for acknowledging that their previous approach did not fit many of the alumni groups, the RCSA being just one.
I intend on being an ‘active’ Immediate Past President and always there to advise when asked and do when needed. I wish Mohammad Dulloo and his executive team every success for the new stewardship that I hope will be given to him at the AGM. I look forward to seeing many of you and new faces at the ‘eleventieth’ anniversary Annual Dinner in February 2018 at the House of Lords.
Robert John Park