I hope this weekly message finds you well, as we move into February and we can enjoy a bit more daylight and the sense that Spring is on its way.
Towards the end of last week, I had the enormous privilege of hosting our annual Long Service Awards. This is always a highlight of the year, as we recognise the contributions of so many dedicated colleagues. Through the special virtual ceremony we celebrated with those colleagues who have recently reached the milestones of 25 and 40 years of service. A total of 27 colleagues were recognised for their terrific achievements, with an impressive 780 years of service between them.
Our Convener of Court, Dame Sue Bruce, and Senior Deputy Convener, Ronnie Cleland, joined us at this special occasion. Our longest serving Strathclyders carry with them fantastic experience and institutional knowledge, and play a key role in supporting those who have joined us more recently. This helps us to further enhance our skilled, informed and supportive community. On behalf of the University, I thank them for their efforts and commitment to Strathclyde, and I look forward to making many more long service awards in the years to come. You can read the stories of some of our long-serving colleagues in next week’s Inside Strathclyde.
It is through the dedication and professionalism of our colleagues that we continue to deliver on the aims of our collective strategy – Vision 2025. It seems incredible that it was only 12 months ago this week that we gathered in The Barony for the launch of the latest chapter of the Strathclyde story.
The launch focused on the people who deliver time and again for the University and we celebrated their contribution to our collective success. No one could have predicted the year which lay ahead for us. The Strathclyde community has pulled together to cope with the pandemic and keep our staff and students safe. They have also remained committed to delivering on Vision 2025 and I look forward to this continuing over the coming months and years ahead.
This week the First Minister outlined the next phase of the Scottish Government’s response to the on-going fight against COVID-19. This includes the welcome news that there may be a phased reopening of schools from the week 22 February, if conditions allow. While the country remains in the temporary lockdown, please be assured that the University will continue with our Friday Rest and Recuperation Day – an important innovation which has been welcomed by colleagues across Strathclyde.
As the lockdown continues, earlier this week I wrote to all staff to give an update on mental health support available for staff and, in particular for students. Colleagues have worked tirelessly to put in place support through a range of services and I am very proud of the care and concern that has gone into these efforts. I would urge you to make yourself familiar with the services which are available.
This week I am very pleased to announce the launch of our Maternity Toolkit webpage this provides advice and guidance to help staff navigate through pregnancy, maternity leave and their return to work.
In line with our socially progressive and people-oriented values, we have also extended eligibility for University Maternity Pay and Adoption Pay by reducing the service requirements for staff. Eligible partners will also now be entitled to three weeks' Maternity Support Leave at full pay. Further details of all our Family Friendly Policies can be accessed here.
Finally this week, it was very encouraging to see representation from across the University at yesterday’s Can-Do Innovation Summit, including colleagues from the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland and Glasgow City Innovation District. The summit is a focal point for business innovation in Scotland and the theme of this year’s event was discovery, resilience and growth – an area that is very much in-keeping with our vision for the year ahead and beyond.
The event was held online and brought together businesses with innovators, entrepreneurs, academics and investors to help them adopt new technologies and access support. Strathclyde, alongside its partners, is uniquely positioned to support the country’s economic recovery, and drive inclusive growth. Strathclyde will be at the heart of that recovery and I am proud to be part of a community which is dedicated to helping each other and to helping wider society as we move through 2021.
Thank you for your continued work on behalf of Strathclyde and please make the most of the Rest and Recuperation day and half-term break, if you are taking some annual leave in the forthcoming week.