Leaving Europe

I was in Germany when Theresa May’s ‘meaningful vote’ on Brexit took place last week: I had been asked by the German government to evaluate the University of Cologne as part of the country’s ‘universities of excellence’ programme. I was a member of a multi-national review team, which meant that late into the evenings of…

University Mental Health Day

How do you feel when you’re asked how you feel?  University Mental Health Day (UMHD) is this week – a national initiative on Thursday 7 March to focus attention on mental health: on the importance of good mental health and on the challenges – for all of us – of mental ill-health. Deborah Harry, our…

La Trobe

I’m writing from Australia, where I am a few days into a fortnight of working abroad for the University.  In this blog post, I want to explain what I’m doing. Universities are rooted in place. The first thing I spotted about Sheffield Hallam when I came to look around before my interview for the job…

Feedback matters

Sitting at the back of a cupboard, we’ve got several boxes full of very old 35mm slides – most of them accumulated when we had to clear out my parents-in-laws’ house.  They are a fairly defunct technology now, but it turns out that you can buy slide scanners which convert the slides into picture files…

New Year, new blog

Traditionally, it’s the time of the year to look ahead and make predictions about what the New Year has in store for us.  But predictions are – mostly – a mug’s game. The New Yorker magazine had great fun a couple of weeks ago revisiting an article it published in 1968, in which it invited contributors…

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.…