CoronavirusStaff update 8 July

Dear colleagues,

This week, I am delighted to extend a very warm welcome to Beth Lawton, our first Chief Digital and Information Officer, who joined us on Monday. Beth will create and lead the delivery of the Digital Transformation Strategy aligned to our strategic plan, Vision 2025.

Beth has an impressive track record of delivering digital transformation and an enhanced digital experience for several organisations and their people. I know you will join me in welcoming her to the Strathclyde community.

The creation of this important new role also provides us with an opportunity to realign our Professional Services Directorates in support of achieving our strategic objectives and will create new opportunities for collaboration and innovative service delivery. Beth will now lead our Information Services and Continuous Improvement Directorates, to build on synergies and enable closer working than ever before as we begin the next chapter of our digital transformation journey in support of Vision 2025. I will keep you updated as we progress our strategic leadership plans.

When I wrote to you last month, I outlined our plans to name the two Wings of our flagship Learning and Teaching building after Professor Mary Dunn, the University’s first female professor and Head of Department, and Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, the renowned Astrophysicist and the first woman President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Institute of Physics.

As you will recall, the names were chosen by our staff and students from a shortlist of inspiring women who have made a positive impact on the world around them. I am now pleased to announce that we will honour a third leading figure following our consultation: the award-winning poet and author, Professor Jackie Kay CBE. Professor Kay has written extensively for stage, screen and for children, and in 2016 was appointed the new Scots Makar.

A focal point of the new building is the interface between the two Wings, which will host important events and gatherings. This space will now be known as the Professor Jackie Kay Plaza. I look forward to welcoming Professor Kay to a formal opening of the building in due course.

Finally, with the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out progressing at pace, we are preparing for the beginning of the next academic year and the return of our students. I will write to you with more details on this in the week ahead.

Your health, safety and wellbeing are at the forefront of all our decision-making and at the current time, return to work on campus is by application only and with the approval of your Dean or Professional Services Senior Officer (University Secretary & Compliance Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Commercial Officer, and Chief Digital and Information Officer). Details of the process for doing so, including flow diagrams, guidance, and the relevant forms, are available on our website.

While the vaccine programme is rolling out at great pace, and the link between transmission and hospitalisation is weakening, cases of the Delta variant in Scotland remain high. Please continue to take care and follow the government guidance to limit the spread of the virus.

Have a restful and enjoyable weekend when it comes.

Best wishes,