Blog: UoB and COVID-19 – how are we doing?

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Mary Li, Business Change & Benefits Lead, StARS+

By Mary Li, Business Change & Benefits Lead, StARS+

Ever since the University moved to restricted operations in March, the natural (unavoidable) reaction for most of us has been to focus on what is right in front of us: the many immediate challenges facing our project, School or division; our particular team; our own personal workload and frankly just the logistics of how to get through the working week at home.

If we have had any headspace to think more broadly about what all this has meant, perhaps we have spent some time wondering how the approach taken by the University of Birmingham compares to what’s been going on across the UK higher education sector.

In that spirit I found this recent article by Paul Greatrix, Registrar at the University of Nottingham, a really interesting read.

It is reassuring to recognise so much of my and our collective experiences of what has happened at UoB in what he describes: the “safety first” approach; the rapid move to full online learning; the message that “Everything that universities are doing now … is totally focused on how best to ensure a start of session which is safe and secure for all”. I think it shows that the University’s calls about what to do and what to prioritise have been the right ones.

The article is also very honest about the worries we all have about the impact on the student experience (not least students’ mental wellbeing), on University finances, and simply about what we can expect to happen next.

To keep a change programme of the scale of StARS+ moving forward against that backdrop has not been easy either. Our plans are having to be re-examined and adjusted just like everyone else’s, and that takes time. But as the “light at the end of the tunnel” approaches, we begin to see the way forward.

Read Paul Greatrix’s article on WonkHE: Universities’ Covid-19 response: not perfect, but far from cack-handed


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