Meet your new Vice Chancellor

I started in post as Vice Chancellor at the start of the month and wanted to write a brief note to say hello. I worked at Birmingham until just over five years ago and have returned, having been VC at the University of Sussex.

One of the things I most love about my job is meeting the students who make this University such an exciting place. I’ve already met some of you over the past two weeks, and it’s been great to see our campus return to life after Christmas and the Covid restrictions as the UoBe Festival continues this week. On Sunday I said a few words to the 400 or so people who took part in the Festival fun run, and will meet, albeit only on Zoom, everyone participating in this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Challenge at its launch event tomorrow.

Deborah Longworth - our new Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) - shares my commitment to your education and your welfare. Deborah will be in touch shortly, but we both strongly believe in providing you with a stimulating and interactive education. We also are committed to building a community where we’re all comfortable in talking about how we’re feeling and where we all listen to and support each other.

I’m hoping to meet as many of you as I can. I will be holding open office sessions soon - you can sign up to meet with me and talk about anything, and later this year we’ll also hold a student experience question time, open to all students, to discuss how we can create the best environment for education and for everything else University life has to offer. I have met with the President of the Guild and some of the other sabbatical officers and we will be working together to meet and hear from you.

I would also like to hear your thoughts about two issues that are very important to the University and to me personally: inclusion and sustainability.

We want to create a place and a community where everyone is valued for themselves, and where we celebrate the ways that differences enhance our community. We all have a responsibility in achieving this, and I want to make sure the University is doing everything it can. Together with the Guild, we will be writing on this again soon.

I’d also value your thoughts about the climate crisis. Already, your academic staff are making major contributions to how we understand and respond to environmental degradation, and I know that many student groups and students are making a positive difference. But there is more to do as a whole university community and we will put sustainability at the heart of everything we do.

I am reminded every day as I meet students and staff who come from around the world, how lucky I am to be here. I am confident that the University of Birmingham is and will become an even greater place to learn. I want everyone to feel at home in a University that is full of bright people who do brilliant things, and who in the course of their successes – and, indeed, when they find things difficult – are always kind to one another.

With best wishes



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