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How our history has helped shape our University’s values today

20 May 2019

As part of Our Future you told us you wanted to talk more about our University culture and values

James Hopkins

We’re asking for your help in sharing your stories about what’s important about working here to uncover our values which will feature in the University’s next strategic plan. One important part of uncovering our values is to understand our history. Dr James Hopkins, our University Historian and Heritage Manager, explains more.

"As we think about our values, our past is hugely important to help us define who we are, what we have changed for the better and how we can keep on doing that. Our past and those that went before us set us on a trajectory which has made us the institution that we are today. Our task in the present is to think about how we continue that trajectory in a way that will help us make a difference in the decades to come. 

"As part of this project we’ll be looking to the past in many ways to help us think more clearly about our values. Many of our achievements and leading figures are well-known, but we want the full breadth of our past to guide us so we’ll be asking questions about how we have been socially progressive, where we have been educational innovators and how thinking differently has enabled us to lead the way in creating new knowledge. 

"We’ll be using our University Archive to delve into some of our foundational documents and what the leading lights of their time thought were important for our institution. They were men and women who were interested in the purpose of research and education, but also the civic purpose of universities. Some of the values they advanced shaped universities and the way they operate around the world and we’ll continue to draw on their wisdom and insight. 

"We’ll also be looking at what historians have said about our University and its predecessor institutions to give us multiple viewpoints on what makes us distinctive. We’ll be looking at what our former students think are our values and examining city and national archives about the social and cultural life of the University."

Importantly, we’re eager to hear from you about the how our past and present have inspired you by telling us stories that you feel demonstrate our University values. You can get involved by sharing your stories anonymously – the entire process takes only a few minutes.