Leadership Bulletin – April 2017

The Leading Locally and Engaging Globally update from the April 2017 Leadership Bulletin


Leading locally and engaging globallyProfessor Chris Husbands

Place matters. It matters enormously to universities, which by and large grew out of their communities and play such an important role – sometimes called an ‘anchor role’ in their cities and regions. But the idea of ‘place’ is a complex one. Universities are rooted in place, but their ambition and their frame of reference is wider than that – universities in the twenty-first century benchmark themselves globally and think internationally.  In our new strategy, Transforming Lives, we capture this for Sheffield Hallam through a tight phrase: Leading Locally and Engaging Globally. It is important to think about both – about our relationship to, and responsibilities for, leadership in our community; and about the opportunities we have to link that to a genuine global engagement, which works for our students, our knowledge generation and for our city and region.

The Leading Locally and Engaging Globally Board will be trying to ensure that as we take forward the strategy implementation we hold both of those together. I’d argue that in practice they are inseparable – if we only focus on our local, or regional leadership responsibilities we might become a parochial institution, cut off from the forces which are shaping and being shaped by universities around the world. If we abandon the importance of place, as, indeed, some universities have, we ultimately become a rootless institution. We need to hold the local and the global in active relationship – and that’s before we get into debate about where the local stops.

We will be focusing in detail on renewing our regional and our global role. That means overseeing programmes of work which aim to raise education attainment and aspiration across the city and region, shaping a genuinely distinctive degree apprenticeship offer and gearing ourselves to be a genuine ‘business ready’ university – as easy for businesses to work with as we would like to be. It means placing a global perspective into all our teaching, and it means building the deep, sustainable relationships with like-minded universities around the world on which global leverage will increasingly depend.

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