A message from the Principal and Vice-Chancellor

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Professor Crichton LangDear alumni,

I would like to send my best wishes to you and your loved ones during these uncertain times. The health and wellbeing of our university community is our main priority and I know that you will be dealing with the many changes that coronavirus has brought to our lives. Please be assured that the university is using all of its resources and expertise to contribute to the COVID-19 response.

The university has also faced great change in the last few weeks. With the closure of campuses across our partnership, we have moved to delivering our programmes online. Staff have developed many innovative approaches to delivering curriculum and assessment and to supporting students both academically and pastorally at this time. We are true sector leaders in this respect and we have created a good foundation for moving into what is likely to be a very different environment for the further and the higher education sectors.

While many of our 40,000 students have been able to continue their studies from home, an increasing number are reporting they do not have the equipment or internet connections they need to access online classes and resources. We have set up an emergency study fund to address this, offering support to college and university students for a range of equipment and services, including laptops and broadband connections. We are grateful for all of the donations we have received so far, but we are urgently seeking donations from anyone else who may be able to help.

I am pleased to report that students and staff from across the university partnership have been lending their skills and resources to support our communities during the pandemic. Over 120 of our nursing and midwifery students have started their final placements early to bolster the NHS workforce and we have set up secondment arrangements so that nursing and midwifery staff can work in clinical posts too.

Our partners have been helping to 3D print visors and we have donated gloves and hand sanitiser to healthcare providers across the region. We have also offered vehicles, facilities, services and accommodation to support key workers and have donated unused produce from our canteens to local foodbanks.

We are aware that many of our alumni are also contributing to the COVID-19 response. I am hugely grateful to everyone who is working to keep our communities safe, particularly those in frontline roles. Your knowledge, skills and dedication are helping to make a difference during these difficult times.

Please stay safe and continue to look after yourselves, your families and your communities, wherever you are in the world.

Professor Crichton Lang

BSc (Vet Sci) BVM&S PhD MRCVS
Principal and Vice-Chancellor