Taking stock

Last week, I spoke at two all staff briefings, setting out the university’s strategy and priorities as we emerge from pandemic restrictions. This week’s blog summarises my presentations, a recording or which can also be viewed by colleagues within the university. Two years on from the arrival of Covid-19, the world has changed in ways…

French Connections

In the week leading up to Easter and Passover, I took leave and we headed off to France – train to London and then onto Paris and Avignon. We arrived in France the evening before the first round of the French presidential election. We spent the rest of the week exploring Provencal villages. They all…

The School of Eloquence

A few weeks ago, to fill some time at the start of a screen meeting while waiting for the ‘room’ to fill, I told an anecdote from my own teenage years. A schoolfriend of mine, the first in his family to go to university, got the train home during the first term. He walked home…

Loss and kindness

I have written before in this blog about the conversations I have with the bereaved families of deceased students and colleagues – some of the most difficult conversations I have as the university’s leader. There is a particular challenge in having those conversations when the deceased has died by suicide. I always feel, when I…

Ukraine

The University published a formal statement on the Russian invasion of Ukraine last Thursday. Like other universities, we expressed our horror at the invasion and the suffering it is causing, our support for the Ukrainian people and our apprehension about what might happen next. This feels simultaneously like a very old and very new war.…

Student futures

On February 21st, pretty much as this blog is published, the government will effectively abandon all pandemic-related restrictions in England, just a few weeks short of what will be the second anniversary of the first restrictions being imposed. It has been a long haul, and there remain widely differing views on the speed with which…

Levelling up

One Saturday just before the pandemic we went over to Worksop to visit ‘Mr Straw’s House’. Now in the care of the National Trust, it’s an ordinary enough terraced house which, after Mr Straw died in 1932, was barely changed at all by his family. It is a time capsule of early twentieth century domestic…

Taking stock

It depends where you look. The corona virus pandemic looks quite different in different parts of the world. In the global South, where communications and health systems remain more rudimentary, and where poverty remains the overwhelming challenge, the pandemic continues to rage. In the richer global north, the combination of vaccines and robust public health…

Happy New Year

I am sitting writing this blog in the strikingly refurbished atrium at the heart of City campus, which was completed just in time to be a Christmas present for the University. The refurbishment was necessary – the old glass roof had begun to spring leaks, and patching them was becoming an operational and financial challenge.…

Twelve Days of Christmas 2021

In many ways it’s hard to believe that an entire year has passed since my last Christmas blog. So much has happened in 2021 – the campus has come alive again as students returned to campus and we all adapted to new, hybrid ways of working; we’ve Graduated both the Class of 2020 and 2021;…