Strategic Plan 2016-2020

UCA Students’ Union is an organisation that has developed enormously in the past couple of years. We have come from an underperforming and irrelevant history to an active students’ union that is relevant to the students of UCA and is taking steps to transform the student experience at University for the Creative Arts. We have achieved some huge successes this year, particularly with our engagement in academic representation, clubs and societies and our democratic structures, leading us to becoming NUS Small and Specialist Students’ Union of the Year 2016 and NUS Disabled Students HE Union of the Year 2017.

The students’ union now has clear purpose and focus for the future and this new four-year strategic plan gives us clear direction to lead us to 2020.  We have spent to get this right, conducting a huge membership research project that has enabled us to produce a relevant, vibrant and exciting strategy for our members.

We recognise the challenges that UCA students face on a daily basis and we want to be able to support you throughout your time at UCA. We want to create a students’ union that works for all of you, no matter what campus or course you study on.


All students are empowered to flourish in their passion and their individuality in becoming the new wave of creatives.


To strengthen the creative community and ensure equality of opportunity by championing students ideas, removing barriers to education and supporting innovative students.


Supportive – We will offer support you throughout your time at UCA.

Visionary – We will lead the way in new and exciting ideas for you

Diverse and Inclusive – We will offer a diverse range of activities and services which are fulfilling and accessible.

Student Led – Everything we do will have students at the heart of it

Our mission and vision tell us exactly where we want to be in 2020. In order to achieve this, we have broken down our areas of work into three key themes that you told us you wanted us to work on. These aims will be delivered by ourselves, in partnership with the institution, or with other external organisations. Each of our themes have aims with clear outcomes, as well as one aim that campaigns to make a real difference to students lives at UCA.

Theme – A thriving community; which supports students in and beyond university

Students have told us how important it is to feel part of the UCA community, both on campus and off campus. Our campuses have a unique place in every town and city we are based in and this theme is about everyone feeling welcomed no matter where they are, giving the opportunity to make friends and have fun as well as being part of an exciting student community.


  • We will grow and develop large and diverse social communities that bring students together for a collective purpose. We will ensure that all students have an opportunity to be part of a large scale, diverse community by 2020.
  • We will create fun and exciting campus communities that transform the physical environment at UCA. We will ensure that all students feel part of a safe and inclusive environment and work with the university to create a positive learning environment and a secure social environment.
  • We will develop active links between the university, students and our local communities in order to foster a community of social activists. We will create partnerships and close links between local councils and volunteering organisations in order significantly boost our reputation within the local community and to foster and support student ideas in order to make positive change.

By 2020, we will have:

  • We will have 80% of our students attending UCASU run events and activities
  • We will have 100 active and vibrant clubs and societies led by you
  • We will become an integral part of the partnership between the university and the local community

Theme:  A transformative education; which means that all students can thrive during their time at UCA and beyond.

We recognise how important a UCA degree is to every one of you and how you need support, guidance and help throughout your academic career. We appreciate students attend our university from different backgrounds and you want us to support you at every stage of your course and enable you to reach your full potential.


  • We will develop a partnership with the university that enables students to directly influence their own learning and teaching. We will ensure that all students are able to influence and develop new, progressive ideas and we will ensure UCA recognises the students union at all levels of decision making.
  • We will provide access to detailed welfare, wellbeing and learner support for all students. UCASU will work in partnership with the university to provide high quality provision and support within all areas and will be able to shape a high quality educational experience by 2020.
  • We will ensure that every student has the equal opportunity to succeed in their chosen academic field and reach their full potential. UCASU will work with the university to ensure that every student has fair and equal access to high quality provision and are able to fully support themselves through their academic journey.

By 2020, we will have;

  • We will have 90% of courses will have a trained and engaged course representative
  • We will have at least 1500 students use our dedicated advice service
  • We will have worked with every course at UCA to ensure that their assessment methods are fair and equitable for every student at UCA.

Theme – Accomplished and fulfilled students; ready to make a creative impact

We understand how competitive the creative industry is and how hard you have to work once you graduate, to make sure that you are able to achieve everything you want to achieve in your career. Our role is to support you before you graduate, giving you the opportunities to develop yourself in a supportive environment and providing wider opportunities for you to start your career.  


  • We will support students to be innovative and start their own enterprises. We will become known as a supportive and nurturing hub and become recognised for producing ambitious and exciting led social enterprises and a hub for live practices and creatives.
  • We will equip our students with skills and knowledge in order to become a successful graduate. Students will be able to recognise a direct impact that UCASU has had on their development and we will continue to ensure that students are supported throughout their journey into employment.
  • We will develop a variety of opportunities for students to participate in paid internships, placements and networking opportunities. We will be recognised for producing high quality graduates and by 2020, we will be accessed by high profile organisations for students who were involved within UCASU.

By 2020, we will have;

  • We will have engaged at least 75% of our students in enterprise activity
  • We will have engaged 80% of students in skills and networking activities outside of their course
  • We will have provided 50 living wage paid internships and placements, through us and through partner organisations.

Our enablers – We’ve outlined what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it, but we’ll only be able to do this if we’re an effective organisation now and in the future.

Income Generation – To become ambitious, we need to sustain ourselves. This means growing our resources through new and innovative ways and making sure we are financially sustainable to support everything that we do for students.

People – Without great people, we will never have a great students’ union. We need to develop a culture of high performance across our four campuses and recognise and reward everyone that makes this possible.

Communication – We need to communicate effectively with you, to make sure that you know everything that we do and every way that we support you.

Governance – We are a complex organisation, a registered charity and part of a large university community. We must make sure that our governance is democratic, professional and transparent, as well as being engaging and easy to understand.

Ethical and Environmental – As an arts institution, we have a commitment to making sure that everything we do has sustainability at the heart of it. We want to become sector leading in campaigning around ethical and environmental issues and work with the university to put sustainability at the heart of the curriculum.