What are you most proud of in 2013?

This is what the Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Greenaway, was asked by Editorial Assistant Liz Goodwin (pictured) during a Q&A session with Marketing, Communications and Recruitment staff at the end of last year. Professor Greenaway said it was a good question but a tough one to answer. So after a little reflection, he posted a fuller response on his blog:

“I bought some time by responding ‘personally or professionally?’ since I knew the answer to the ‘personally’. It is still a really tough question. In an organisation as big, as diverse and as rich as ours, there is actually rather a lot to be proud of. So I gave several responses at the time, and I have thought further since then. Here are some highlights.

We recruit high-performing students in large numbers and it is always a pleasure to share the joy of graduation with them. But they impress and inspire in so many other ways, not least in their volunteering and extra-curricular activities. It was yet another record year for Karni, with £1.6m raised; our students had a clean sweep at the national media awards for radio, TV and print; and three of the 11 productions at the National Drama Awards were New Theatre productions.

We also recruit high-quality and dedicated staff. Here I would pick out receiving an Athena SWAN Silver Award (only the third University to do so at the institutional level); two new National Teaching Fellowships and discipline specific research awards. The year ended with the 2013 Long Service Awards, a timely reminder of the contribution so many colleagues from all job families make over such a long period to the University.

In teaching and learning I would pick out the 500th video in Chemistry’s pioneering Periodic Table of Videos; the launch of our first Nottingham Open Online Course (NOOC); and, of course, the graduation of another generation of Nottingham students.

The success of alumni was celebrated at the winter graduations, with seven Alumni Achievement Awards. Alumnus Alexander McLean was also named by Time Magazine as one of 30 under 30 who will shape our world, in recognition of his work on the African Prisons Project.

On research I am spoiled for choice! Obvious highlights are £170m in new awards; but sitting behind that is our outstanding success in the Research Councils’ Doctoral Training Centre competitions; and the numerous breakthroughs made by the research community.

Public engagement is a key part of what we do. Highlights are our gold medal-winning Food For the Future exhibition at the Chelsea Flower Show, Lakeside’s Inside Out of Mind, a moving production based in a dementia ward; and the stunning Lakeside exhibition Pop Art to Britart: Modern Masters from the David Ross Collection.

Our campuses are a distinctive feature of our University, and University Park won a Green Flag for an unprecedented 11th year in succession, whilst Jubilee Campus won its first, an outstanding testimony for our Grounds staff; both, together with Sutton Bonington, are seeing new award-winning architecture enhance our capabilities to enrich the student experience and underpin world-changing research.

We continued to make progress with our internationalisation strategy, especially at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) and The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC). Both saw major developments: superb new teaching and learning facilities at UNMC, and unveiling of the Phase 3 development plans for UNNC during the Prime Minister’s delegation visit to China in December.

Finally, our Impact Campaign passed £100m raised in philanthropic support; and we installed our seventh Chancellor, Sir Andrew Witty.

So that is rather a lot, but could be much, much longer.

On a personal level, there is just one: spending two weeks of my leave leading the Life Cycle 3 team on a 1,108-mile challenge around the five capitals of the UK and Ireland, and raising £270,000 to support stroke rehabilitation research; tough but very rewarding.

Read the Vice-Chancellor’s blog here

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