- Website & Social
- Social Impact Declaration
- Social Impact Statements
York St John University is an outstanding university, known for its academic excellence and responsive nature, always putting the student at the heart of everything it does. Our magnificent campus is located in the centre of the historic City of York. Our eleven-acre site on Lord Mayor’s Walk is in a stunning setting facing the world-famous York Minster across the city walls.
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Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders are asked to respond to a set of social impact questions, which are designed to help them think about the social impact they create, and to articulate this clearly and succinctly.
Updated August 2019
1) What social differences and changes have you aimed to create (or supported)?
In essence, York St John’s mission is a commitment to ‘fairness, focusing on our expertise, talents and creativity to advance knowledge, promote understanding and create educational opportunities for the benefit of all’. The vision is to ‘share the transformative power of university education to inspire the brilliance in every human’ highlighting the values of intellectual generosity, curiosity and rigour, promoting fairness and challenging prejudice and inspiring others to succeed.
The purposes of the University are set out in the Strategic Plan. According to the 2026 Strategy, ‘people must be at the heart’.
Our values are:
Being intellectually generous, curious and rigorous
We share our knowledge, experience and practice with each other and our communities for wider social benefit. We foster inquisitiveness with passion and enthusiasm for exploring and developing knowledge, so we can be the best at what we do.
Promoting fairness and challenging prejudice
We are deeply committed to diversity and advancing social justice. We focus on widening access to higher education, as we have since our foundation in 1841. Our inclusive environment and commitment to equality nurture a strong sense of belonging within our community.
Inspiring each other to succeed
People matter to us. We treat others with trust and respect and promote support and challenge. We find inspiration from learning from each other.
2) What actions have you taken to address the above social aims?
Student Services is an area that has undergone considerable change to improve the wellbeing of students. New approaches to counselling and advising students (e.g. money matters) have been introduced and evaluated.
There are numerous initiatives both large and small-scale:
- Becoming a University of Sanctuary and all the activities that have been undertaken represents a serious commitment to addressing a real social problem.
- STEM initiatives such as working with a local primary school after school hours to inspire young people in those subjects can have an important impact.
- We are engaged with the Athena Swan project pledged to provide equality of opportunity for all.
- We are national leaders in working in the area of the Military Human which addresses the challenges of combat troops and their families.
- York St John Advantage Team has been awarded a prestigious Silver Employer Recognition Award for project work supporting teams across England and Wales who provide services for the Armed Forces community.
3) What has changed and what benefits have been realised as a result of your actions?
It is so difficult to begin to list the beneficiaries and how they have benefitted. Examples have been given of how student wellbeing and satisfaction is measured and how staff perceptions are measured and understood. Apart from those major stakeholders, work with other stakeholders will be evaluated in some cases with great precision and sophistication (e.g. cardiac rehabilitation programmes) and others defy evaluation other than by quantitative means and anecdotal evidence (YSJ open events).
4) How do you and other people know your aims are being achieved? Or how will you know?
As a University, we are subject to a number of standard metrics. In terms of student satisfaction, the National Student Survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI, asks final year undergraduate students to rate their experiences in a range of areas based on 27 questions. These include feedback and assessment, learning resources and personal development. The 2018 YSJ survey had a high response rate of 81% (national average 70%). York St John achieved a score of 85% for overall satisfaction which exceeds the national average of 83%. The University is ranked 45th out of 121 institutions. Scores of over 90% were recorded for some subject areas and the library was amongst the highest nationally.
In terms of employee satisfaction, there is a Capita staff survey every two years which records a range of data that can be compared across the sector. The last full report in 2018 (provided) states that 90% of staff in that survey agreed with the statement that York St John University is a good place to work. Employee engagement figures are above the norm for the sector in most of the measures. Employee engagement and job satisfaction rank highly. Staff report feeling safe and secure and satisfied with the support they get from managers. There were, however, suggestions that the University might like to address improvements in the area of stress levels, change management, noisy work areas, bureaucracy, training and communication.
The University annually monitors the effectiveness of its programmes through the Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) and Annual Quality Report. York St John University is committed to producing an annual critical account of academic and scholarly activity in the University. This report draws on a number of sources including the distillation of information coming from the AMR process. This report ensures that the Academic Board and the Board of Governors are confident in the academic health of the University.
In addition, we used the UK Engagement Survey (UKES) and the Postgraduate Taught Experience Questionnaire (PTES). They are run for four weeks in May and provide us with anonymised but benchmarked data. The UKES survey is for students in Years 1 and 2. York St John University is committed to producing an annual critical account of academic and scholarly activity in the University. This report draws on a number of sources including the distillation of information coming from the AMR process. This report ensures that the Academic Board and the Board of Governors are confident in the academic health of the University.
96.9% of students who graduated in November 2017 were in employment or continuing in education six months after leaving York St John University. This was an improvement from 93% in the previous year and places the University second in the region and 23rd in the country for this outcome. Several courses saw a 100% success rate. In addition, the percentage of those graduates either continuing in education or going into a professional or managerial role rose to 73%, from 54% in the previous figures. The University was shortlisted for a Guardian Higher Education Award as a result of this progress.
Analysis published by the Higher Education Policy Institute placed us 6th in the country for representing students from across the full range of socio-economic backgrounds.
Support for PhD students conducting research continues to be a strength. The University was once again the highest performing institution for overall student satisfaction in the Annual Advance HE National Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES), which engaged with more than 17,000 students from institutions across the country.
This month, the Executive Board supported a proposal to make a submission to Stonewall’s Top 100 Employer Index again this year. In order to consolidate the work that had been done following the introduction of the Trans Inclusive Framework and other LGBT related initiatives, the University did not make a submission last year. Executive Board feel re-engagement with Stonewall is vitally important to demonstrate how we live our values of social justice and inclusivity. A new criteria for submission this year is ‘visible engagement by senior leadership’ and it was agreed that Amanda Wilcox, University Secretary, will take on the role of LGBT champion/ally to join the LGBT Staff Network Steering Group.
Research output is measured by the REF and social impact reports are captured of individual pieces of research. The REF is carried out every five years. We are currently writing impact statements for the next exercise in 2021.
The below questions are not mandatory, but Mark holders are encouraged to answer them where possible, to provide a fuller account of their social outcomes and the social value they create.
5) How many people have benefitted from your actions?
Apart from the standard data-gathering and additional reliance on data analytics, there are initiatives that have been measured for impact. The Sports Park have produced an infographic of impact albeit quantitative at present. Converge, which is 10 years old and has been well documented in research articles, has had extensive coverage of its impact.
York St John, by dint of its location, traditions and types of programmes has a long tradition of opening its doors to events of all descriptions. Until recently, the extent of our generosity has not been measured or recognised. The Events Office and YSJActive now monitor such engagement. Here is an illustration of the reach of the institution through the events it supports. This list is by no means exhaustive:
The University continues to host a range of public talks and events which are usually free to access. During 2017–18 these have included the ‘Conversations That Matter’ series focusing on mental health, a major festival celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women achieving the right to vote and the Ebor Lectures, run in partnership with York Minster. To mark the centenary of women gaining the vote in 1918 a festival event was held featuring talks, exhibitions and workshops entitled Beyond the Vote. In total, almost 10,000 attendees have taken part in events run by the University over the past year – a significant increase on the previous year.
York St John has a long tradition of hosting and supporting such events. The Ebor lectures are in their 12th series and last year, appropriately, took the theme of ‘Peace and Reconciliation’. The Ebor Lectures are a response to the growing need for theology to interact with public issues in contemporary society and started in 2006. Public theology is about engaging in dialogue with a range of communities on issues wider than narrowly defined religious matters. This series of lectures aims to promote public conversation and to contribute to the formation of personal decisions and collective policy-making in economic, political and social spheres. It is also an ecumenical project that seeks to exchange insights between academic and religious traditions and to build bridges between church and other religious groups. The lectures relate faith to public concerns including politics, economics, contemporary culture, religion and spirituality, society and globalisation, local and global Christianity. Speakers in the series include a range of speakers: theologians, religious leaders, journalists, economists, politicians and other public figures.
The Conference and Events team supports schools and departments across the University to develop a programme of conferences and events. They assist in the delivery of events and conferences at all stages of the process and provide advice and guidance on event suitability. The team also help staff in developing partnership events and can provide additional assistance with specialist events. They assist in the delivery of city-wide partnership events and activities and are also the main point of contact for all external organisations wishing to use York St John University as a venue for conference and events.
The University also contributes to local, regional and national initiatives such as Green Gown Awards, Refugee Week in York, partner cultural events such as Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York Literature Festival, York Mediale, York Bloom! Festival, Northern Poetry Roadshow and host a multitude of events ranging from film screenings for third sector organisations (such as Kyra – a women’s charity and Circular Economy) to disability sporting events such as the Fair Play Goalball Tournament. Our annual Art and Design Degree Showcase attracts over 700 visitors. We also participate in the Festival of Ideas of which we are a festival partner. The University has also participated for the first time in the Pint of Science talks which took place in May.
The Ebor Lectures series is an ecumenical project jointly organised by York Minster, York St John University, The Order of Carmelites, The Yorkshire North and East District of the Methodist Church and The C. & J. B. Morrell Trust. The lectures take place in the Minster with over 1000 attending some events and also at York St John University. Previous speakers have included politicians such as Rt Hon Hilary Benn (and his father who filled the Minster!), Lord Roy Hattersley, Rt Hon Frank Field, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, academics such as Prof. A.C. Grayling, Prof. Richard Pring, commentators such as Robert Peston and Will Hutton, leading religious figures such as the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, Rabbi Baroness Neuberger DBE, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, Revd Dr Giles Fraser, Dr Ataullah Siddiqui and civic figures such as Julia Unwin (JRF) and Dr Ann Pettifor (Advocacy International).
Until recently, a series of lectures entitled ‘Go York’, launched in 2011 was held on campus. This attracted an eclectic mix of speakers from Sandi Toksvig to Kimi Räikkönen’s (F1) personal trainer to Howard Webb, World Cup referee (who incidentally opened the £7M Sports Park on Haxby Road in 2015). This series has now been replaced by ‘Conversations that matter’ free talks that address the topics of mental health and wellbeing and often focus on research or draw in a broader audience as in the case of ‘Yorkshire Rows’ featuring the team of women rowers who hold the world record for rowing across the Atlantic. Inaugural lectures and one-off events supplement this provision.
It is also appropriate to include the graduations that take place in the Minster every November. The honorary graduates and fellows are made up of individuals who have excelled in professional and public life and are recognised for their contribution to the community whether it be in the field of social justice like Reeta Chakrabati, women’s rights like Baroness Hale, differently able and disadvantaged like Anne Strike or science like Helen Sharman.