A message to staff issued April 29
After the challenges and complexities of the past year, we are now very much looking ahead and planning how we best capitalise on opportunities and deliver on our key objectives.
You will recall last February we launched our strategic vision for the future - Aberdeen 2040 - setting out how we will build on our foundational purpose and tackle five big interdisciplinary challenges. We are fully committed to being inclusive, interdisciplinary, international and sustainable, and are currently preparing our plan to make significant progress on all twenty of the Aberdeen 2040 commitments over the next five years.
As part of our efforts to deliver Aberdeen 2040 and its twenty commitments it is important to take account of the altered context created by the pandemic, and changes in the opportunities available to the University.
The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for the University to play an enhanced role in the economic, social and cultural recovery and development of the North-east of Scotland. This is a clear expectation of both the UK and the Scottish Governments and from our regional stakeholders. It is a challenge which was anticipated in Aberdeen 2040, with the recognition of the need for a ‘dual focus on our region and wider world’ and is entirely consistent with our foundational purpose of acting in the service of others. The University’s Senior Management Team has therefore approved the re-alignment of our Vice-Principal portfolios accordingly, maintaining the current number of four Vice-Principals.
A new Vice-Principal Regional Engagement and Regional Recovery will be responsible for leading the development and implementation of a strategy for the University to make a comprehensive and effective contribution to economic, social and cultural recovery. This will support the identification of new regional development opportunities and collaborations, expanding our links with external partners to ensure responsiveness to regional priorities as well as enhancing our work on entrepreneurship, start-ups, consultancy and commercialisation. The VP in this role will also have oversight of our commitments as a Civic University and our engagement with community planning.
I’m very grateful to Professor Richard Wells for taking on this new role of Vice-Principal Regional Engagement and Regional Recovery, initially on an interim basis. As this is a completely new role, and as part of our normal practice, the post will then be advertised externally and go through a competitive recruitment process.
Another significant adjustment in our circumstances is the acceleration in the speed and scale of the development of our partnership with AFG in Qatar, as we prepare to move forward with phase 2 of the Qatar campus. The success of this project is predicated upon a substantial expansion of student numbers and needs to be very closely integrated with our student recruitment activity. The Qatar campus will be the major focus of our transnational education partnership work for the next few years.
The Qatar partnership, and all progression pathways and the Study Group partnership, will now move to the student recruitment portfolio held by Professor Alan Speight. To reflect this global remit the title of Vice-Principal Student Recruitment will be amended to Vice-Principal Global Student Recruitment.
International research partnerships will become the responsibility of the Vice-Principal Research, Professor Marion Campbell, with a focus on strategic partnerships - for example at the level of the five interdisciplinary challenges.
European and international partnerships which are focused on student mobility will be the responsibility of the Vice-Principal Education, Professor Ruth Taylor, and will align with student experience and employability and work to internationalise our curriculum.
The Senior Vice-Principal, Professor Karl Leydecker, will hold responsibility for our international university networks, specifically Aurora and Curtin.
All forms of international partnership will continue to be overseen by the International Partnerships Committee.
This is a dynamic and progressive time for our University, and I look forward to our staff community continuing to provide outstanding education and research that makes a positive difference both regionally and globally.
Professor George Boyne
Principal and Vice-Chancellor