President's weekly update
13 January 2022
I very much hope that you all managed to have a break and a rest over the holiday period and were able to enjoy some festivities with family and friends. We should also be grateful to our staff who worked over the Christmas period,
It was wonderful to see our staff and alumni receiving national recognition in the New Year’s Honours list. Congratulations to our Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Banji Adewumi for receiving an MBE.
The Omicron variant continues to cause very high rates of infection, including in the Manchester area. Thankfully, it does seem to be less serious, but hospitals are nevertheless under severe pressure and many of our clinical and health care staff are spending extra time in the NHS. We continue to provide regular updates and adhere to government and public health advice including obligatory wearing of masks indoors and working from home where this is possible.
We have sent a message to all students, recognising that some may be encountering travel or other challenges in returning to Manchester. Where cases have previously been made by subject discipline teams for examinations to take place on campus, we are continuing with those plans. However, for some programmes, almost all in Humanities, students can now apply through our mitigating circumstances route for remote study in Semester 2 only. Very careful consideration has been given to ensuring that this will not compromise delivery of intended learning outcomes, or a positive experience for all students on the relevant programmes. As ever, we will keep the situation under review.
We have now published our audited accounts for last year (2020/2021). These show a significant improvement on our financial position versus the budget due to strong student recruitment. This was partly
The University is electing a new Chancellor this year, with the current Chancellor, Lemn Sissay OBE completing his term of office in July. The Chancellor works with senior officers to promote the University’s achievements regionally, nationally, and internationally and is guided in their work by our vision and strategic plan as set out in Our future. The Chancellor will be elected for a term of up to seven years from an electoral roll of approximately 240,000, including staff and graduates of the University and members of the General Assembly. Look out for further communications in the coming weeks on StaffNet about the election and how you can participate.
We will hear soon the results of the re-ballot of UCU members on industrial action on the USS pension, where the previous ballot failed to reach the 50% threshold, and the UNISON ballot on pay. An average of 450 staff per day (of around 2,100 UCU members and 8,300 staff eligible for membership) reported taking strike action in December as part of UCU’s industrial action on pay and working conditions.
I chaired the board of our Digital Futures theme which heard general updates on our many activities and had an extended discussion on digital skills which are in huge demand across the region as ever more digital companies are moving in and even more traditional organisations are wanting employees with digital skills.
This is a very important part of our teaching, learning and students and our social responsibility goals. Staff have prepared an excellent summary of our many WP activities over the past year.
The Times Education Commission, of which I am a
Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor