Knowledge, applied

I was knocked off my bike ten days ago, cycling back from our research nursery in Shirecliffe to city campus. There was more damage to the bike than to me, and I recovered reasonably quickly. Even so a longish wait in the Minor Injuries Unit and some painful bruising made it impossible for me to…

Seventy

David Kynaston’s superb book on the post-war years, Austerity Britain provides some stark reminders of just what it was like. There were no teabags, and no sliced bread. The war may have been over, but sweets, chocolate, sugar and meat were all still rationed. There were no dishwashers or automatic washing machines. There were no…

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…

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…

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;…

The challenge of our time

If CO2 were coloured, the sky would have changed hue in our lifetime. That’s striking enough, but perhaps more striking is the inevitable next question: would we have noticed?  After all, any number of other major environmental changes have occurred in the last fifty years. The transformation has been remarkable, on the global scale the…

Snakes and ladders

The UK Social Mobility Awards (SOMO) are a cross-society set of awards “established to recognise and encourage action that will promote and increase social mobility within Britain’s companies and institutions. These awards…recognise best practice and innovation and celebrate excellence and achievement and elevate social mobility as a cause equal to the level of other diversity…