Lessons and skills

In 1942, at the height of the second world war, the British government published a report prepared by the economist William Beveridge. Despite its somewhat austere title – Social Insurance and Allied Services – Beveridge’s report sold vast numbers of copies, and is widely regarded as having laid the foundations for the post-War Labour government’s…

Unpredictable

There used to be a market for almanacs of predictions about the year ahead. Perhaps there still is. These almanacs were always frankly unbelievable, not simply because the future is by definition unknowable but because the predictions were always on the apocalyptic side – the way to sell these things is to veer towards the…

So this is Christmas

The 1970s were the apogee decade for Christmas hits: by turns cheesy, embarrassing and, very occasionally, memorable. They still get piped endlessly in shops each year. John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s was from 1971. The lyrics are far from Lennon’s best, but the song essentially begins with “So this is Christmas/And what have you done/Another…

Connections

Universities are complex organisations. Sheffield Hallam – 4500 staff and 32000 students – is the size of a small town. That remains true even if, over the past few months, the town has become a series of connected hamlets as we have all become used to working in radically different ways. Our core purposes may…

Fairy tale endings

In November 2016, following the unexpected victory of Donald Trump in the American presidential election, I wrote a blog on election outcomes and the values of the university. Now that the Trump era has been brought to a close by the 2020 election, it seems right to come back to American politics and what they…

Difficult Conversations

Jacob Billington graduated in Geography from Sheffield Hallam in 2019. He was overjoyed to have been successful in his application for a year-long graduate internship working with the Library team. Over the summer of 2020, he worked on developing the University’s welcome communications for new students, welcoming them to our socially distanced provision. At the…

Values

I stopped counting some time ago: the number of days and weeks since we were required to transition the university into remote operation – so it is salutary to be reminded that we are now entering the seventh month of what is, in effect, an extended incident response. There are competing pressures every day, with…

Horizons

This is an extremely challenging week. The news has been dominated by rising Covid infections rates and speculation about tightening local and national restrictions. For universities, increased numbers of reported positive cases have prompted decisions to increase the proportion of online teaching. At Sheffield Hallam, we have taken the decision to adjust the balance between…

Welcome

This week, our main undergraduate cohorts arrive for what will, inevitably, be a rather different week of academic and institutional welcome activities. Sheffield Hallam is one of the UK’s largest universities, so the numbers are considerable. We will welcome nearly 7000 new UK undergraduate students, together with post-graduate and international students for their first term…

Septembers

There’s the beginning of an Autumn chill in the morning air. The August bank holiday is behind us, and with it the summer. It is the beginning of a new academic year. In quite unusual circumstances, pupils are already returning to school after their unexpectedly long, unprecedented break. I’ll come back to pupils returning to…