It’s the end of the academic year! It has certainly gone quickly, and as I look back over the past 12 months, I am very proud of everything that we have achieved as a College community.
We’ve had several successes; we rose in the rankings of two influential league tables – up five places to 40th in The Guardian University league table, and three places to 34th in The Complete University Guide. Just a few weeks ago, our College achieved a Silver rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which is testament to our excellent teaching, first-class facilities and award-winning development opportunities. TEF also highlighted an area where we know we need to improve; graduate employability. Each of us can do more to encourage our students into graduate-level employment or further study, and we’ll share more on our plans for this in the year ahead.
Individual academics have been recognised for their contributions too, such as Professor Katherine Brickell and Professor Harriet Hawkins, Department of Geography, who received prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prizes in the autumn, recognising their achievements as outstanding researchers. Professor Andrew Seltzer, Department of Economics, and Professor Christopher Nobes, School of Management, have been conferred as Fellows in the Academy of Social Sciences, while Victoria Mapplebeck, Department of Media Arts, was awarded Best Documentary Award at the 2017 Short of the Week Awards for her short film, 160 Characters.
Our professional service teams continue to support our students to succeed. This year, one of our highlights was celebrating our Community Action team receiving The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK. Meanwhile on our campus, we are at an exciting point with the Emily Wilding Davison Building, Founder’s Square and George Eliot Halls nearing completion.
We do have challenges ahead: Brexit continues to lead to some uncertainty that we will need to navigate together; TEF will bring further change to our sector, and we all have work to do if we are to improve our league table metrics faster than our competitors. I’ll talk more about this during the next academic year.
However, we have had a very successful year, and we have lots to look forward to and celebrate. Thank you to everyone for your considerable contribution to the life and work of the College this year. I look forward to what lies ahead in 2017/18.
Professor Paul Layzell Principal