As another week draws to a close, our Executive Team has been reflecting on the University’s robust and confident response to the coronavirus pandemic. The HE sector undoubtedly faces significant challenges, however, Strathclyde is in a strong position to overcome these and emerge stronger than before. Over recent weeks, and inspired by our values, it has been clear that the entire Strathclyde community has responded as one.
With the recent launch of our Vision 2025 Strategy, we have put in place a long-term plan which reflects our ambitions and widely recognised reputation for delivery. Our people, our deeply embedded strengths, ambitious strategy and strong values are the foundations of our response over the months and years ahead. As we face into the pandemic, we remain ambitious and our bold approach will continue through to and beyond 2025.
I believe that our organisational response, cross-University coordination and team work have been exemplary. The best of Strathclyde’s collaboration and innovation has been on display in all areas of our business as we have transitioned to online tuition and new ways of working, supported by our front line staff who have shown unstinting professionalism as they remain working on campus. I am very grateful to every one of them.
Beyond our own campus, the University’s response has been significant with our reputation for ‘useful learning’ and being socially progressive coming into its own. Some highlights include:
- the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland is working with the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland and manufacturers to provide technical advice on key equipment manufacture and supply including ventilators, oxygen systems and critical PPE
- we are at the forefront of supporting policy. For example, Professor Tim Sharpe from Architecture has been asked to sit on a sub-committee of the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and Professor Chris Robertson, from Maths and Stats, is a key member of the Scottish Government COVID-19 Advisory Group
- our research is being applied across a number of NHS boards and care organisations, with Professor Roma Maguire of Strathclyde’s Healthcare Futures working closely with Professor Sir Harry Burns and Professor George Crooks of the Strathclyde-hosted Digital Health and Care Institute
- many departments have been donating PPE equipment to the NHS, and our car parks are free for NHS staff based at the Royal Infirmary
I will tell you more about our response to the COVID effort at my upcoming Principal’s Zoom staff engagement sessions. There will be an opportunity for you to contribute directly during these sessions, but I would very much encourage you to continue to contact me now by replying to Inside Strathclyde.
It is also heartening to see how well our new Friday rest day pattern has been received. Since making the announcement that this will continue through the planned lockdown extension period, I have been contacted by many colleagues telling me how this is making a difference. Importantly, as the VE Day bank holiday falls on Friday 8 May, we have decided to move the rest day to Monday 11 May, giving staff an extended bank holiday break.
By being people-oriented, we continue to put the health and wellbeing of our people first and this will continue to be our priority in the weeks ahead. With this in mind, I am also pleased to announce that our student counselling service will be extended to staff. This will augment our well-established PAM Assist service for the extended period of the lockdown and offer enhanced support to our colleagues during this challenging time.
Once again, many thanks for your dedication and contribution to Strathclyde. Have a safe and peaceful weekend.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald,
Principal & Vice-Chancellor