I hope that you and yours are safe and well.
As you know, each November, we traditionally have our Autumn Graduations Ceremonies – one of the highlights and most enjoyable times of the academic year.
Clearly, given the ongoing challenges due to Covid-19, it has not been possible to gather in the Barony Hall this year, but I was delighted to preside over our online Conferment Day Celebration on Tuesday.
All of our eligible students received video messages from me, their Executive Dean, Dame Sue Bruce, the Convener of Court and members of the Students’ Association, congratulating them on the conferment of their degrees and welcoming them into the family of Strathclyde graduates.
They were given access to an online portal where they can view their degree certificate and share it with prospective employers or for further study. We used our social media channels to build awareness and excitement about the celebrations and have been sharing students’ stories and successes. All the information and filmed messages can be found on our Conferment Day page.
In recent weeks, the University has made swift progress on a developing a suite of new postgraduate courses which will begin in January and I would like to thank all of the Faculty academic and Professional Services staff who have worked tirelessly to create this new academic year entry point for applicants.
Given the challenges with the global pandemic, the Executive Team took the view that offering students the option to start certain courses in January would give them an additional option for joining Strathclyde. I am delighted to report that the 30 Masters degrees – which are spread across all four Faculties – are already attracting strong interest from applicants.
Colleagues will be aware that next Wednesday, 11 November, marks Remembrance Day. While traditional annual remembrance events across Scotland have been cancelled owing to the latest Covid restrictions, including our usual service and wreath laying at the memorial in the Royal College building, we will be sharing a short video created on our website on the day. Colleagues may also want to observe a two-minute silence at 11am. More details will follow in Inside Strathclyde.
As we near the end of the transition period with the EU, it is important for us to support all of our European staff, in Scotland and overseas, and to make sure they are fully aware of the impact and implications of the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. To support those European colleagues who may have questions about the implications of Brexit, we have asked our legal partner, Anderson Strathern, to run a webinar and Q&A session. It will take place at 2.30pm on Tuesday 17 November.
As the Scottish Government Level 3 restrictions continue in the City and City Region, I would like to emphasise again that our student and staff safety is of paramount importance. Please bear in mind that to keep yourself and others safe, it is crucial that the Scottish Government FACTS for a safer Scotland are followed at all times. Detailed information on FACTS can be found here.
Finally, I am delighted to tell you that the University is now a member of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme. Students, colleagues and visitors who are exempt from wearing face coverings can wear a sunflower lanyard to indicate their exemption. The sunflower symbol also signals that the wearer has a hidden disability and may need additional support, help or more time.
Our membership is another important step to further enhance our status as an inclusive organisation, in line with our socially progressive ethos. Look out for more information in Inside Strathclyde in the coming weeks on how we are adopting the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower including training resources and how to pick up a lanyard.
Thank you all, once again, for all your efforts in support of the University. I continue to be both impressed by the terrific work that you are all doing to continue your work in Strathclyde and immensely proud of the values led approach we have all been taking to navigate the current situation.
Please enjoy the coming weekend.