It has been a busy summer and I would like to start my update by taking the opportunity to thank everyone who sent warm wishes following my decision to announce my retirement a few weeks ago. It has truly been an enormous privilege for me to serve as your Principal since 2010. I have benefited from the support of a strong and vibrant academic community and outstanding colleagues across a diverse range of professional services. I will continue to work tirelessly in pursuit of our ambitions and the continued success of this great University.
Our new students
We knew that clearing would pose additional challenges this year. Our Student Recruitment team received over 1,500 calls on the day English students received their A-level results. We made offers to 229 RUK and International applicants, and each offer was followed up with a personal email from the Head of School and a call from an academic in their discipline, with the result that our performance exceeded expectations – well done and thanks to everyone involved in clearing this year. We had a very successful international recruitment campaign which, like the clearing campaign, was the result of the combined efforts of staff right across the University. However as we move from admissions into registering new students, we are seeing a much higher proportion of offer-holders this year who have not yet heard the outcome of their visa application. This is a sector wide problem resulting from processing issues at a UK level, and we have lobbied hard to try to resolve as many cases as possible. Despite the ongoing political situation in Qatar, the business degrees on offer at our newly opened Doha campus have proved very popular. We welcomed 130 students from 14 nationalities and sixty per cent of whom are female.
Another success was this year’s ‘Experience Aberdeen’ event. A total of 93 seventeen-year-old pupils came in July to get a week-long taster of university life. Pupils were from Northern Ireland, Wales, London and the North of England. Feedback was entirely positive, and included comments such as, “One of the best experiences I have had” and “The teachers were lovely”. Many said they would now be putting Aberdeen as their first choice in 2018.
Finally, as you know, the University is committed to widening access and enabling students from all backgrounds to study and achieve their academic goals. Scholarships are fundamental to removing financial barriers to higher education. Thanks to generous donations from our benefactors, this year the University of Aberdeen Development Trust was able to award over 250 scholarships and 70 prizes for students in a wide range of subjects, totalling more than £800,000.
Millions of pounds are donated by alumni, parents and benefactors for a huge variety of projects in all Schools. This partnership – between the University and alumni and benefactors like you – provides the foundation for all that we achieve, and we are immensely grateful.
In the next few days and weeks you may receive a call from a current Aberdeen student who will be able to tell you even more about campus developments, upcoming events and ways to become more involved, if you so choose. He or she will be able to update your records with any new contact details or exciting news you may have as well. Finally, your student caller will seek your support for one of the University’s funding priorities. Your gift (of any size) would have a significant impact on the lives of our students.
Of course, if you prefer not to receive a call at this time, please contact Darren Hill, Development Officer, on 01224 272938 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be happy to set your name aside this year.
Thank you for all of your support and goodwill during 2017.
Professor Sir Ian Diamond FBA, FRSE, FAcSS
Principal and Vice-Chancellor