Thursday, 10 March 2011

Welcome to Sheffield

Quite a lot of stuff going on at the moment, and some major meetings.  Yesterday was Senate, where we had a good discussion on the current external environment. Summed up by uncertainty and some disagreements in Whitehall - which only add to the uncertainty of course. Lots of unrest about the proposed changes to the student visa system - a barmy idea it seems to me and many others which will have a profound affect on this country's ability to undertake research in science and engineering.  We also discussed student fees, and the discussions which are taking place about fee levels, OFFA, widening participation etc.  Great speech from our student union president, who accepted that they had lost the fight on fees, but were fully behind the university in widening access, supporting poorer students, and improving the student experience. He made a significant point to members of senate -when students are paying more, they will expect teachers to be teachers. Teaching will not be something you do because you have to, and it will have to have the same importance and respect as research.

There was a meeting of the Professional Service Directors early on in the week where we tracked the progress of several workstreams, had an update on the University review of pensions, and looked at some work on costing services and activities.

Another major meeting is about to happen - the LibDem conference in Sheffield.  Walked into town at lunchtime, and a huge fence has gone up round the City Hall, with a rather ironic sign on it:

Glad to see the South Yorkshire police are making good use of social media during the conference, with regular updates from Chief Inspector Green and Inspector Forrest from the liaison team - the event's even got its own hashtag - #libdempolicing.

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