As the year comes to a close it is an ideal time to look back over the past 12 months and ahead to the next.
I recognise it has been a difficult time for all of us who care deeply about this University. I'm pleased our governing body, Council, has agreed to take action on all HEFCE’s recommendations and that there will be an independent and rigorous Effectiveness Review of Council in the first part of next year.
My hope is that our community can now come together, both to share pride in our achievements in 2017 and to support each other through the changes and opportunities 2018 will bring.
We have made significant progress in implementing our strategy, including the creation of the Doctoral College, increased postgraduate recruitment, the new Centre for Learning and Teaching and a streamlined induction process.
These were underpinned by major infrastructure developments including the launch of our Pall Mall hub in London and Virgil Building here in Bath. Construction of the Milner Centre for Evolution building, Polden accommodation and new gym is underway on campus and plans for the new School of Management building and vision are taking shape.
The range and quality of our achievements were recognised through a Guardian top 5 ranking, and Sports University of the Year 2018 accolade in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, which again ranked us as the best university in the region. In addition, our outstanding teaching and learning was recognised with a Gold award in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
Our researchers continued to generate global impacts with highlights including the first ever combined detection of both light and gravitational waves, just one example of our contribution to the sum of human knowledge.
One of my highlights of the year was the University of Bath Festival in May, when we hosted around 10,000 visitors from the local community on campus to share our incredible research, teaching and facilities.
As you know I will be standing down next August. During the months I have left in post I will focus on priority projects as well as playing my part in a smooth transition as the University recruits a new Vice-Chancellor.
The £60m Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) will be built on the Bristol & Bath Science Park and significant funding and architects are in already place. When established, the Institute will deliver transformational research on the development of future generations of ultra-low emission vehicles.
Investing in our campus will continue to be essential for delivering student satisfaction and outstanding research and teaching. Our University is a significant contributor to the City of Bath and the wider region both financially and socially but we are ever mindful of our responsibilities to the local community. My colleagues in the senior management team and I are working closely with local stakeholders to ensure we strike the right balance with our plans for the future as we develop.
I also plan to be involved in the final push to see us over the finish line for the £66m target for our Look Further fundraising campaign.
We will welcome more talented staff to our University in the year ahead and I am particularly looking forward to working with Professor Jeremy Bradshaw, our new Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International & Doctoral) when he joins us in February.
I hope you have a restful break with family and friends over the festive period.
Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell,
President and Vice-Chancellor