Weekly update from the Vice-Chancellor - 04/09/2020

Posted in: Weekly Update

Dear colleague,

Delivering our 2020/21 academic year

As we move towards the start of semester, I am very grateful to you all for your final preparations to ensure we can deliver a safe and successful year ahead. I recognise that these preparations are different for each of us, but would particularly like to thank everyone who, in anticipation of the demands we will be under to accommodate teaching and learning on campus, has been willing to adapt their own working patterns for the benefit of our students. This is noted, and is deeply appreciated.

Campus already feels very different with significant numbers of staff coming back, both to work and to complete our plans and systems for a safe working and learning environment.

We are working in extraordinary circumstances and I know a huge amount of progress has been made to ensure we’re well prepared. Delivering excellent teaching and research is at the heart of our mission and I know colleagues are keen to continue to make real progress in both of these core areas.

Health and safety measures for staff, students and visitors are of the utmost importance and this has been a real focus throughout our planning. Alongside social distancing measures, enhanced cleaning, repurposing existing space, securing new space, one-way and maximum occupancy protocols, and installing hand sanitisers and signage, recent developments include:

  • In addition to purchasing 40,000 reusable face coverings which will be made available to those staff and students who need them, we will be working to make a reusable visor available to any teaching and student-facing staff who would like one. More information about how to access these will be made available in next week’s operational update.
  • Additional resource has been put into checking the ventilation for University rooms and spaces, so that the vast majority of the work has now been completed. This will enable final room capacity information to be given to Heads of Department over the next week.
  • Heads of Department are able to book rooms for in-person, socially-distanced meetings over the next two weeks, as many teams have understandably wanted to meet in person to work on final preparations.
  • By the weekend, we will have 250 students in University accommodation who have booked to quarantine for two weeks having travelled from countries not on the UK Government travel corridor. Another 120 such students are arriving over the next two weeks and all these students are being ably supported by colleagues with food and other essentials to aid self-isolation.

I am sure that we are all hoping for an enjoyable and successful semester, but we also need to plan ahead in case any member of our community does unfortunately contract Covid-19. We are planning our approach in close collaboration with local public health authorities and other universities, including how we will work with track and trace systems. Our priority will be the safety and health of individuals affected and the wider community, as well as ensuring the University can continue to operate effectively.

The Programme Board for the Academic Year 2020/21 has been working hard, alongside individuals and departments across the University, over the last six months to provide the right environment, tools and information for our community. Of course, it will be all our collective actions as a University community that will ensure the delivery of a successful year and I’m deeply grateful for the way in which people have pulled together thus far. I have no doubt we will continue to work together as a close-knit community to overcome any obstacles ahead.

Thanking Professor Veronica Hope Hailey

I would like to take this opportunity to pay great tribute to Professor Veronica Hope Hailey, who will be moving on from her role of Vice-President Strategic External Engagement at the end of this month.

Professor Hope Hailey has made a significant contribution to our University, not only through her success during her years as the Dean of the School of Management but also in her more recent senior role. We have greatly valued her contributions on QS rankings and employability, healthy later living and our emerging sports thinking and, of course, in progressing important corporate relationships. I am delighted that Veronica will continue to contribute to University life as a Professor Emeritus, in addition to progressing her research interests outside the University such as with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the BEIS initiative, Be the Business, where she is assessing leadership in business during the Covid pandemic.

Engaging with students and our local community

We continue to engage with our students and the local community about preparations and expectations for the coming year. As we add to this information, you can find it on our overall webpages about 2020/21.

With warm good wishes,

Professor Ian White
Vice-Chancellor and President

Posted in: Weekly Update


  • (we won't publish this)

Write a response