Happy new year!

The campus has come alive again. Students are spilling out of lecture theatres, seminar rooms and informal study spaces. The campus feels busy and engaged; teaching has begun and students I’ve talked to in the cafes, lifts and corridors are already feeling enthused about their studies. A new academic year is underway. On Friday 27…

University of the Year for Teaching Quality

Let’s start with a quotation: “One of our big civic universities, Sheffield Hallam is enjoying something of a renaissance. Students have repeatedly given it good ratings for the quality of its teaching, but this year their assessments have propelled the university to a new high. Achieving sustained success in this area is hard, all the…

Summer stories: recruitment and admissions

There’s a map which the University’s planning team sent me a few months ago. It’s a map of the UK, with the home address of every single one of the University’s undergraduate students represented by a single dot. As you’d expect – it would be true of almost every university in the country that recruitment…

Summertime

This is my last blog of the academic year; after this week, the blog will take its summer break. It’s an opportunity to look back over the year just gone and to step back a little. It’s been a busy and full year for the university with some striking achievements. The University has secured its…

Showtime

We are coming to the end of the conventional academic year. Across most of the University, exams have been taken and marking is well underway. But that also means that – as the title of this blog indicates – it’s showtime.  In the Head Post Office, the Sheffield Institute of Art degree show is on,…

Life after Augar: the post-18 funding review

Last week, the government published the long-awaited independent panel report for the review of post-18 education and training funding. The panel, chaired by the former banker Philip Augar, was initially established by Theresa May in early 2018.  Its remit was to look at the long-term funding of universities and the balance between university-based higher education…

Book lists

I love books.  I always have two or three books on the go.  Always a novel, which tends to get read in bed.  I’ve just finished Melissa Harrison’s All Among the Barley, which opens as a pastoral idyll of England in the 1930s but darkens and deepens, with fascism more than in the background and a…

Driving Future Economies

I’ve written about my dad in this blog before. He sadly died last year, a few months after his ninetieth birthday. He had left school in 1941 when he was fourteen. He worked first for a small engineering company and then, after national service, for most of his working life in a textile factory. I…

Lessons from the spaghetti trees

I’m well aware of the date on which this blog post will be published. There’s a long tradition of memorable April Fools’ Day spoofs. One of the most-often quoted was a 1977 Guardian supplement lauding investment opportunities in the (sadly fictional) island state of San Seriffe, which apparently tricked a good number of people, but…

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…