President's weekly update
10 June 2021
We held our annual Cockcroft Rutherford Lecture, named in honour of Sir John Cockcroft, one of our alumni, and Lord Ernest Rutherford, a former member of our staff, who were
At a meeting with senior staff, we discussed the content for our Board annual strategy day in early
I met Professor Thomas Schmidt, who is taking over as Head of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures. Thomas has worked in the School previously. I also met Matthew Moth, our new Director of Communications, to consider the major communications challenges we are likely to face over coming months.
On behalf of the Russell Group I met Lord Wharton, the new chair of the Office for Students to discuss the Government’s Freedom of Speech bill, and in particular how we avoid unintended consequences of the bill and how it will operate assuming that it is passed by Parliament. I also chaired a full board meeting of Russell Group Vice-Chancellors which
I attended several meetings to discuss Innovation Greater Manchester, including one with representatives from Government to consider proposals to further develop innovation, jobs and growth in the city region and the role that the University will play in this.
The launch of our partnership with Bruntwood SciTech - a 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal & General - to develop Innovation District Manchester (IDM) on our North Campus has received extensive press coverage including in the Financial Times and on Forbes. I had a call with our local MP, Lucy Powell, to update her on our plans for IDM with the aim to create 10,000 new jobs and to tell her about our work across the five Greater Manchester universities to develop a civic university agreement and to work with our nine further education colleges.
You will have seen that COVID infection rates continue to rise in our region, which is obviously a concern and the UK Government has issued new guidance for areas with high incidence. It is essential that we all, staff and students, strictly observe COVID-secure measures on the campus and carry out regular COVID asymptomatic self-testing or get tested at the University and isolate if the test is positive. It is also very important that we urge students to take a test before they travel home at the end of the semester to keep their families and friends safe. Additionally, the Government has advised everyone to minimise travel in and out of our area.
At our Planning and Resources Committee, in addition to standard reports and tuition fee setting for 2022 entry, we discussed bringing forward and reducing the work associated with our Annual Performance Reviews. These are important in telling us and our Board how we are performing in all our core areas, but have become very labour intensive. One aspect of this is our position in world university rankings. We have remained at 27th position globally in the QS World Rankings.
A pilot of hybrid working has been launched focusing initially on Professional Services as we believe they are the teams that will experience the most change from moving to hybrid working arrangements. The aim is to create more flexibility as we know this has many benefits where it is not essential for staff to be in the University.
Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor