Vice-Chancellor’s Update: A Day of Reflection

Dear Colleagues,

Today marks the first anniversary of the UK going into national lockdown. The last 12 months have challenged us in ways none of us could have imagined, and as people across the country unite for a day of reflection, I wanted to write to all of you to thank you for your remarkable response across the University.

Covid has impacted all of our lives in some way. Some will have personally suffered with what is a horrible illness, or gone through the worry of seeing loved ones unwell; some, I know, will have lost people close to them, and I offer my sincere condolences to those whose families are grieving.

Alongside all of this, we have had to adapt to incredibly disruptive changes at home and at work. Laptops have become lecture theatres; bedrooms have doubled up as boardrooms. Boundaries have inevitably been blurred as a result, and I fully appreciate the enormous impact this has had on many of you as you’ve juggled huge demands across both home and university life.

I have been incredibly moved by the way you have worked to support each other and our students throughout. Whether at home or on campus, all of you have played a part both in keeping our community safe and keeping the University going. Much of this has shown the very best of what we do, from adapting rapidly to changes in technology and working practices to supporting our wider community through volunteering and providing PPE to the NHS.

As restrictions continue to relax in line with the Government’s roadmap for coming out of lockdown, this is also a time of mixed emotion as we look, with hope, towards brighter times ahead. Yesterday we launched a new staff survey looking at the future of work, and I encourage all of you to let us know your thoughts as we plan for a return to some sort of normality. We will continue to keep you updated on plans and, all being well, I look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible back to campus later in the summer when all are ready to do so.

I hope you all get a chance to reflect today on what has been a year like no other and thank you all again for everything you continue to do for the University.

With all best wishes to you and your families,


Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President