This morning saw our new Vice Chancellor, Professor Shearer West, give her inaugural speech to staff and students at the University of Nottingham. Those of us cooped up at Kings Meadow Campus were able to watch it live in one of the old television studios; Studio 7.
This is the largest of the two main studios left over from the Carlton TV studios days, and has this impressive structure in the ceiling for lights. It’s a huge space used often for exams, but today saw a large collection of IT professionals watching our first female VC talk on a screen.
She spoke for 45 minutes about her vision for the university. Higher Education establishments are getting a bit of a rum deal in the media recently, and she recognises that perhaps our old universities are in need of some urgent change. She intends to break open the old silos to encourage co-operation, not only between faculties at the UoN, but in the wider world too.
I was very impressed. She touched on a lot of systems thinking ideas and I think she is the breath of fresh air that our lovely, old institution needs. I suspect some of the old warhorses in their ancient empires may have other ideas – change is hard and painful – but the modern world is very different to when the UoN was founded and there’s a real danger that these instructions will get left behind their more ambitious, adaptive competitors.
We shall see, but I am encouraged by her passion for educational.