Life, death, LEO and employability

There’s a probably interminable debate about what universities are for, which provides a backdrop to working in them.  The historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto covered virtually all the bases in a piece he wrote in 2011: “there are only two worthwhile objectives for everything we do, in the university and out of it: enhancing life and preparing…

When you can’t click your fingers: a strategy update

Perhaps the best sporting headline of all time appeared in 2000.  Inverness Caledonian Thistle had – remarkably – beaten Celtic 3-1.  The Sun headline writer had a field day: SUPER CALEY GO BALLISTIC – CELTIC ARE ATROCIOUS.  It is pure genius wordsmithing, which works on every level.  It’s striking, it’s memorable, and, of course, it references…

Moving more, more often

We are programmed to move.  To survive in a harsh environment full of natural and human obstacles and enemies, early humans not only had to run, but also walk, balance, jump, crawl, climb, lift, carry, throw and catch things. Our ancestors routinely moved more than we do now: more people worked physically harder in their…

Our vision for the Sheffield City Region

I’ve worked in Sheffield for just over a year now – I’m still a newcomer – and perhaps I will be for a very long time! I came to Sheffield to lead what is one of the UK’s largest universities. Sheffield Hallam teaches more than 31,000 students at any one time. It educates young people…

Transforming lives – Hallam’s mission

There are almost endless numbers of books and business school courses on strategy, but, really, strategy comes down to two very simple questions – what do you want to do, and how are you going to make sure you do it? Last week, Hallam’s Board of Governors signed off the University’s reshaped strategy – setting…

New Year, new challenges (old boxed set)

Those who work closely with me know of my tendency to draw on The West Wing as a frequent source of quotations and parallels. A recent survey of the best TV drama series rated it eleventh – above The Wire but (wrongly in my view) below Mad Men. If you are not familiar with it,…

Working together to become a great university

I’ve said, and written, before that Hallam is a remarkable place. It is a huge university, with extraordinary things going on in different places. Almost a year in – and I’ll come back to that later in the year – still not a week goes by without my discovering something I didn’t know before. One…

Strategy update – beyond the news headlines

It’s been a remarkable few weeks. An unexpected referendum result. The collapse of the Government. A ferocious start to the leadership campaign in the Conservative Party. A no-confidence vote in the Leader of the Opposition. Havoc in the Labour Party. And Wales in the semi-final of the European football championships. The script, when they come…

Hallam 2030 – the next steps

The iPhone. The 2007 economic crash. Leicester City winning the Premiership. Did you see them coming? Predicting the future is always likely to catch you out. As someone once said, nothing dates faster than the future. So it’s a bit bold to suggest that we should base our new strategy on our aims for the…

Meeting the challenges of change

Since I arrived in January, I have been setting out my ideas on the future of Hallam, and have written here about refreshing the University’s strategy. From today, you can find out more about how we will approach this work and keep up to date with developments here. Alongside that, I have been looking hard…