Foreword by Sir Richard Dearlove, Chair Board of Trustees
Since the University’s foundation in the mid-19th Century, it has played a thoroughly innovative role in higher education. This new statement of its strategy refreshes the University’s engagement with trends and changes in the sector, whilst it continues to place the social value of education at the very heart of its mission, fostering learning and research to the very highest academic levels, which has always been its primary aim.
Today, the University has established itself as an institution of global importance which stands literally and metaphorically at the very heart of one of the world’s leading cities. This strategy document delineates and defines the continuation of its remarkable trajectory.
The strategy places emphasis on the University’s research into the humanities in its School of Advanced Study, the expansion of its internationally focussed distance learning programmes and the maturity of its digital learning initiatives. The University, under the distinguished and versatile leadership of Professor Wendy Thomson, has positioned itself to respond with creativity and efficiency to the multiple challenges of its shifting circumstances.
This has encompassed reassessing and reaffirming its relationship with all Member Institutions, an extensive revision and streamlining of its governance, and a thorough review of how it extracts value from its property estate. The development of the new strategy document has of course been overshadowed by the impact on all universities of the global pandemic.
Consequently, we are very much aware of the importance of the University and Federation members working closely together and using the inherent strength of their networks to meet the unprecedented challenges to higher education that the pandemic has carried in its wake.
We are confident however that the University can and will nonetheless thrive in the face of these difficulties, and can remain a major global and innovative influence in higher education by virtue of its well established ability to bridge social and educational divisions and barriers, and identify and exploit to its advantage the opportunities inherent in a period of profound change.