The End of Term
After the celebrations at what was (apparently) an epic Party on the Amp to mark the end of term the campus has been a lot quieter. Many of our students have now taken exams, and many of our staff are busy with marking and assessment.
It has been a hectic year for all of us. Continuing changes in terms of the wider context of higher education, developments on our estate and the challenges of dealing with the likely impact of tuition fee changes in September have meant that everyone is very busy. As an academic the summer period (I hesitate to call it a ‘break’) was an important time for research, reading and writing and I do hope that academic colleagues are still able to find the time to be able to develop their research work alongside the other pressures they face.
In the last few months it has been a real pleasure to support a number of promotions to Personal Chairs across the University and to be able to see the outstanding work done by so many staff at Bradford. Our wider reputation will be built on the continuing quality of that work, work which is at the core of the values of our university.
League Tables are of course a minor obsession for many (I speak as a life-long Arsenal supporter…) and universities continue to be ‘judged’ by a whole range of criteria. While we can improve in one Guide (The Complete University Guide) we can then fall in another (The Guardian) and individual subjects also move around significantly.
The academic reviews have served to emphasise how much we can do in terms of student experience, good honours, expenditure or employability to try and improve our table positions and I know staff are rightly very focused on these things. I think it is important to have the confidence not to be governed solely by these tables. They can clearly show where we can improve our performance but they do not constitute everything that a university is about.
Our relationships with students and the Student Union, the work we do for our communities, the impact that our research work has on people and the collaborative work with industry are all very important, but often intangible, measures of what a university does.
Our Fiftieth Anniversary
I have been reminded of the broad contribution the University makes in looking at the anonymous responses of staff and students when asked if and how we should celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2016. The responses were varied but almost all shared a real sense of pride in what the University does and of the ways in which we support our students and our communities. I especially enjoyed the comment that ‘we shouldn’t do anything – waste of time and money- not that anyone will read this!’- but that was very much a minority view.
A common theme through many of the suggestions was to bring together current staff and students with our wider alumni community. It is also clear that the anniversary will offer an opportunity to look ahead and fundraising for future developments will be a significant part of this.
We are now looking to set up a working group to take forward these ideas and ensure that we make the most of such a significant milestone. I will keep you updated with its progress in the run up to the anniversary.
This year’s University Assembly for staff will be held on Friday 15 June 2012 at 1pm in John Stanley Bell Lecture Theatre. The Agenda for the meeting is available online.
In the news
You can see where the University has recently featured in the media on the ‘in the news page’ of the media centre website.
Phil Coates has received a research grant from EPSRC for £499,989 for GLOBAL – Promoting research partnerships in Advanced Materials for Healthcare. Other applicants included John Buckley, Kirill Horoshenkov, Elaine Brown, Leigh Mulvaney-Johnson, Michael Martyn and Adrian Kelly, Hadj Benkreira, Tim Gough, John Sweeney, Pete Twigg, Clive Beggs, Ben Whiteside, Fin Caton-Rose, EDT and Helen Sheldrake, Robert Falconer, Marina Bloj and Kamyar Afarinkia, Lawrence Patterson, Klaus Pors, Anant Paradkar, Life Sciences. The application was rated second in the bidding process.
Dave Elliot, Vision Sciences has received a research grant from the National Institute of Health Research for £195,687 for manipulating the appearance of steps and stairs to make them safer for older people to negotiate.
Anna Nicolaou, Pharmacy, has received a grant from the British Heart Foundation for £12,000 for the vasculo-protective properties of a peripheral melancortin pathway.
Owen Greene, Peace Studies, has received a £2,850 grant from the Swedish International Development Agency for a SIDA helpdesk on Human Security.
Sean Walton and Ruth Whitfield, Centre for Educational Development have received £20,000 from the Higher Education Academy for Embedding Cultural Change through Open Educational Resources Practice ECCTOERP. Sean has also received a further grant from them of £19,543 for Open Resources for Higher Education Practice (ORHEP).
Cathy Batt, Archaeological, Geographical and Environmental Sciences, has received a research grant of £83,150 from the British Academy for Traders, looters or settlers? Constructing a chronology for the westward Viking expansion.
Nazira Karodia, Chemical & Forensic Sciences, received £28,300 from the Royal Academy of Engineering for West Yorkshire Engineers Engage.
Mark Van Hoorebeek received £10,460 from the Intellectual Property Office for the sharing of technology transfer protocols relating to the research exemptions across a range of regional public sector institutions.
Robert Perrett, Human Resources, Management, received a research grant from the British Academy worth £90k for mentoring as a strategy to promote gender proportionality within public sector unions.
Tammi Walker, Psychology, along with 3 external colleagues, received £107,173 from NIHR for Women Offenders repeat Self-Harm Intervention Pilot II (WORSHOP II)
Paul Roberts, a post-graduate students from the School of Computing Informatics and Media has won the BBC Content Innovation Award. He created a tool for Autodesk Maya, namely SpeedChurch, which is able to procedurally generate Gothic architecture. Another student, Gavin Robison, was also shortlisted for his masters project which explored how existing technology (computer graphics) could be adapted to help those who suffer with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
The University is the 8th greenest university in the UK according to People and Planet’s Green League. The University has climbed from 14th to 8th place achieving its highest score to date of 50. This climb also sees the University at the top of the green league table in Yorkshire beating off regional universities to secure its place.