Affirming our international influence through worldwide partnerships and extending our research power are two key strands of our 2016-2021 strategy.
These cannot be achieved solely from our campus here in Bath. A key part of my role as Vice-Chancellor involves working with our faculty and alumni team to forge new collaborations and seek fresh opportunities.
Last week in New York was an important chance to celebrate the close of our 50th anniversary with supporters and alumni who play a crucial role in supporting scholarships and funding our research. You can read more about this event here.
Whilst in the city, we had the chance to meet with the President of New York University (NYU), Professor Andrew Hamilton whom colleagues here may recall was formerly Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. NYU has a campus in London and operates globally and we had a good conversation about areas of potential inter-institutional co-operation.
Equally key were the meetings with influential academics, including the Dean of Science at New York University, Professor Michael D. Purugganan, who spent time with us last year as a Global Chair at the Milner Centre. Our Global Chairs visiting professorship scheme attracts distinguished, globally renowned scholars to engage in a programme of high-profile research activity at our University. This meeting was an invaluable opportunity to reflect on how we enhance this network and continue to foster close relationships with these academics even after their term with us is over.
Professor David Coley’s important research into developing better shelters for refugees was at the heart of our visit to the United States. We met with David Miliband who is now President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and engaged in fruitful conversations with his team about how to expand this work in refugee camps beyond Jordan. We also had an excellent meeting with the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations in New York, Dr. Sima Sami Bahous. We were able to discuss the practical applications of David’s work helping to improve the living conditions of people living in extreme climates both for refugees and also for host communities in the Middle East.
Our schedule on this short trip allowed a meeting of the Foundation Board, our US charity, which made some important decisions about supporting sports scholarships for US students, further supporting the Global Chairs visiting professorship scheme and also creating a joint grant with Marshall Scholarships to attract the best and brightest minds to Bath.
For the next few weeks, my focus is closer to home, welcoming new and returning students back to campus. However, this trip will stay in my mind as a testament to the strength of our alumni network and the importance of looking further to forge new and fruitful partnerships across the globe.
CampusTV interviewed the Vice-Chancellor asking questions, amongst others, about campus expansion, student accommodation, advice for women in their careers, and postgraduate study at Bath,
Watch the highlights video
or view the full length version
In 2014, our Vice-Chancellor was named one of the 100 leading practising scientists in the UK by The Science Council.
She was recognised for "leadership in UK higher education and championing the role of universities in scientific and technological innovation, exploitation and economic regeneration".
This year, Dame Glynis has been invited to join the advisory panel of The Science Council identifying eminent scientists for the 2016 list.
The annual list of 100 practitioners reflects a rich and diverse landscape of scientists working to research and develop our future knowledge, others who are teaching and mentoring future scientists, some who shape policy and campaign on science-based issues and those who communicate about science and explain complex scientific issues.
This appointment follows the recent announcement that the Vice-Chancellor has been appointed to the Science & Technology Honours Committee, which reviews nominations made for national honours (such as knighthoods and damehoods) in the fields of science and technology.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, has been appointed by the Cabinet Office to the committee which reviews nominations made for national honours (such as knighthoods and damehoods) in the fields of science and technology.
The committee is chaired by Professor Sir John Bell FRS – Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford - and includes amongst its other members the Chief Scientific Advisers to the UK and Welsh Governments.
Commenting on her appointment, Dame Glynis said: “The national honours system plays an important role in recognising the people whose talent and commitment makes advances in science and technology possible.”
Following the University’s successful bid for funding from the Higher Education Academy (HEA), a project is underway to assess our training for postgraduate research students within inter-university partnerships.
The project is considering ways to:
- enhance the experience for doctoral training students from application to employability;
- create more efficient procedures and more effective deployment of resources (benefiting both the University and our partners);
- develop good practice applicable across the sector.
A series of face-to-face interviews is planned for the next phase of the project and Dr Susanna Martin will be joining the team on Monday 1 February to assist with the collation and analysis of data. Professor Jonathan Knight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Project Manager said:
“Having completed her PhD at Bath, Susanna is well placed to evaluate the support available to doctoral students and the ways in which their experience might be enhanced. Her experience of working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology will also be invaluable.”
It is anticipated that the project findings will help to inform the University’s new Strategy for 2016-19 and help us to achieve our ambition of being recognised internationally as a top university for graduate education.
Professor Peter Lambert (Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning & Teaching) gave an introductory talk outlining the value of peer support at an institutional level and the skills gained from being involved.
For the full review of the event visit Bath Student.
The first LITEbox event of the new semester kicked off on 15 October with Professor Peter Lambert, the University's recently appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching), chairing a debate on the uses of new and existing technologies to a packed lecture theatre.
Commenting on the event, Professor Lambert said: "I very much enjoyed chairing such a well-attended and dynamic event, particularly with such a mixed audience of both academic and Professional Services staff from across the University"
For the full review read the LITEbox blog here.