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…

That Was the Week That Was…

In this unprecedented year, it is quite difficult to find the right adjective for the events of the last week. The online thesaurus isn’t much help. In previous years, the bulk of the annual admissions, confirmation and clearing activity would be behind us by now: instead, we are essentially re-running elements of the process, and…

It’s Clearing, but not as we know it

Everything is different this year. The concept of examination results without examinations sound like one of those maddening logic puzzles or a difficult philosophical conundrum. Of course, it is neither: later this week, tens of thousands of A-level students will be getting examination results for examinations they did not sit. Instead, Ofqual, the examination regulator,…

Summer breaks

It’s nineteen weeks into remote working, and now it’s also summertime. Two weeks ago – while the last blog was being published – I took ten day’s leave. At short notice, my wife had booked us a rental cottage on the edge of Exmoor, which turned out to have no Wi-Fi and no phone signal,…

Aspirations

The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) is a long-term research project following the lives of some 19,000 children born in the year 2000. When the children in the study were toddlers, their mothers were asked what aspirations they had for their children. The overwhelming majority – nine in ten of them – wanted their children to…

Class of 2020

As the UK government lowers the Covid-19 alert level to 3 and more shops and businesses start to open their doors again, there is a sense that we are beginning to return to normal: the news over the last week, of crowded beaches suggests a suppressed desire for a traditional summer. But the reality is,…

We need to do more

If you ever believed that the world is not deeply intertwined, 2020 has disabused you. A virus is transmitted across species, almost certainly in a Chinese live animal market, and within a matter of months economies around the world are closed down in response to a global pandemic. A man is killed by police on…

Moving forwards

Lockdown is now ten weeks old. Spring has slipped into summer; evenings have lengthened and the days have warmed: last week was glorious May weather. At Sheffield Hallam, as elsewhere, our minds are increasingly turning to the next season, to Autumn and to the new academic year. We announced last week that the university campus…