Twelve Hallam Days of Christmas 2018

Most of us have our festive traditions – the family meal, the Boxing Day walk, the silly sweaters.  My definition of a tradition is that it begins when something happens two years in a row for the same reason.  And so, like last year (and looking forward to next) here are 2018’s twelve Hallam days…

Room at the top?

There were other stories in the news last week but you had to look hard to find them under the hailstorm of Brexit-related developments.  Several of them related to universities and the role they play in society. On Friday, the Sutton Trust released a report on ‘elite’ private schools and access to Oxford and Cambridge.  The…

Graduation 2018 – a view from the stage

We are just halfway through the University’s annual graduation ceremonies. I spent a good deal of last week, and will spend a good deal of this one, at City Hall, as participant—and, of course, observer—as another cohort of the University’s students complete their journey with us. You have an odd perspective from the stage: the…

One hundred years

The guns fell silent at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The time and date of the 1918 Armistice acquired significance quickly. The first Remembrance Day was just two years later.  On 8 November 1920, Brigadier General Louis Wyatt had arrived at a makeshift chapel at St Pol in northern…

Making a difference

I remember a leadership development programme I participated in. We’d been talking about difference, about leading teams made up of people of different temperament, approach, background, heritage, culture. ‘What’s the difference’, asked the facilitator, ‘that makes a difference?’. In one sense, it’s just a clever phrase but Chris Seeley, who lead this discussion, was superb.…

Pernicious and undermining: essay mills

I was scammed a couple of weeks ago.  It began plausibly enough: an apparent LinkedIn message from a senior politician who I know a little.  It was soon clear, from the content of the torrent of messages that followed, that he’d been hacked and his connections were being targeted.  I clicked out of the conversation…

The Heart of the Region

Look very carefully and you might spot some new arrivals on campus this week.  New, and appropriately heart-shaped lapel badges will appear as a visual symbol of our Heart of the Region campaign, celebrating the importance of Sheffield Hallam University to Sheffield and South Yorkshire. We are, as a university, at the heart of this…

Politics and the nation

There’s an old, and no doubt apocryphal, story about a newly-elected MP, who arrives in the House of Commons.  The newcomer sits beside an old hand and, looking at the benches opposite, says ‘I can’t wait to take the argument to the enemy’.  The long-serving MP looks appalled, and replies ‘That’s not the enemy.  That’s…

New beginnings 2018

It’s that time of year again.  Not necessarily Keats’s ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’: there’s the first hint of a chill in the morning; the evenings are beginning to draw in.  But it’s the start of a new academic year.  I love it.  I love the preparation and the busyness, the sense of potential,…

Here we go again

We went to the cinema twice over the summer. The first time, my wife and a couple of my daughters took me to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the new film featuring the music of Abba. If you’ve seen it, I can reassure you that we won’t be re-designing our graduation ceremonies. If…