A busy few weeks!
Variety is certainly at the core of this job! On Thursday, I was at Buckingham Palace, as the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics together won the Queen's Anniversary Prize - a really wonderful achievement. I've been meeting our local partners; and working to meet as many colleagues as possible around campus.
I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity of meeting some of our regional partners in recent weeks, to discuss our role in the region and our ties with local education providers, councils, business and industry.
It’s an exciting time for our region, with Coventry bidding to be City of Culture 2021, and the Midlands Engine helping to boost productivity and inward investment in the area. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with Professor John Latham, VC of Coventry University, and Council leader Ann Lucas to discuss ways that we can collaborate further to benefit the city of Coventry. Our relationship, and commitment to, Coventry is an incredibly important part of this University now and in the future. But it's not just Coventry of course. We have, and will develop further, strong relations with Warwickshire.
Some of you may have noticed some extra bikes on campus as the AVIVA women’s tour launch took place– I’m proud that we can support this initiative, with the Warwickshire strand of the tour due to come through our campus in June.It will be a wonderful event, but also shows our connections to our county.
As well as building our relationships, some friendly rivalry’s live on through the start of the Varsity competition this week against our neighbours Coventry University. The tournament started on Wednesday, and last night our ice hockey team put up a good fight against Coventry, with Coventry eventually winning 14 – 9. And on Sunday, I will be cheering on Team Warwick at the Ricoh Arena. I’m reliably informed that tickets are still available and can be bought online.
In addition to meeting partners within our region, our campus has also been very busy the past couple of weeks.
This week marks the start of SU elections season, and I was happy to welcome a visitor to my office in the form of the SU election mascot. We covered many topics; from student democracy to Aston Villa (the mascot’s not a fan, and at the moment, who can blame them?)
I mentioned in my last post that I was meeting with a student called Alexander regarding our music practice facilities, as this was raised at the Student Question Time event held in my first week. He showed me around the music practice facilities at Westwood, and I agree with him that we have more work to do here. Alexander has sent me over a report he’s worked on and together we can look at longer term solutions for practice areas but also short term space availability.
I also had a follow-up meeting with Sam and colleagues from Warwick Pride regarding gender neutral facilities on campus – whilst Sam was pleased to hear that we’ll be committing to this for new buildings, concerns were raised about facilities in current buildings. Refurbishment of our buildings does happen from time to time, so we’ll make sure this is considered at that point.
Having heard from Sam and colleagues, I do think that we as a community need to further our understanding on different elements of the diversity agenda. I’ve offered Sam an opportunity to use this blog as a space to communicate some of that with us, much in the way the Warwick for Free Education group did earlier this week.
As well as a number of student meetings, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting a range of colleagues from a number of different departments, including the Library, Warwick Sport and those at Westwood.
On Monday evening I met some of our campus security team - we’re a 24 hour campus, and it’s often easy to forget about those who work unsociable hours to keep our community safe and secure. It was fascinating to find out more about the breadth of work that our security team supports - from keeping our campus safe, to additional duties they take on for pastoral care for our students.
As you can see, it’s been a busy couple of weeks with lots going on. Have a great weekend and I hope to see as many of you as possible at the Varsity final on Sunday!