Vice-Chancellor's Update - February 2019
Last week we celebrated the achievements of staff from across the University at the annual Staff Excellence Awards Ceremony.
Now in their third year, the Awards were an opportunity for us to recognise and reward the contribution individual staff and teams make to Queen’s, the wider community and beyond. Congratulations to all the winners and to those involved in the organisation of the Awards Ceremony – it was a really great afternoon showcasing our exceptional staff and their many talents and achievements. Details of the winners can be found on the Staff Gateway.
As well as recognising the achievements of Queen’s staff, I recently had the opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of staff involved in INTO Queen’s at a Recognition Banquet. The event celebrated, in particular, the excellent results obtained in the 2018 British Council and Quality Assurance Agency audits. INTO Queen’s provides a life-enhancing experience for our students and we are delighted that this academic year we have had the highest number of students progressing to Queen’s degrees. This is testament to the hard work and the commitment of the teaching and support staff at INTO to ensure students reach their full potential.
Reward and recognition is an important part of our People and Culture Strategy, People First, and over recent months a number of new initiatives have been introduced to help us create an environment where performance is recognised on an ongoing basis. This has included the STAR Recognition Award scheme which was launched in October 2018. To date over 500 awards have been received by staff as part of Scheme.
We have also become one of the first universities in the UK to sign up to the Technician Commitment – a national initiative which aims to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians across all disciplines. Last month, I attended the first Technician Commitment event which brought together, for the first time, technicians from across the three Faculties and celebrated the enormous contribution our 240 strong technical workforce makes to the University. By signing the Technician Commitment, we have given a commitment to our technicians – to develop them, to recognise and value them, and to see their roles expand and develop along with the University as it goes through its own developmental process.
A few weeks after that event, our commitment to gender equality and to supporting the career development of female staff was recognised with the award of a Gender Diversity Charter Mark Bronze Award. Queen’s was one of eight organisations, which worked alongside Women in Business NI around the development and introduction of the Charter Mark Framework, so it is a great achievement for us now to receive the Bronze Award.
All these initiatives signal the progress that is being made to enhance the work environment at Queen’s. And they are not just initiatives that involve staff. This week I had the pleasure of attending the launch of the Students’ Union new movement to tackle mental health issues facing students - “OMNI – all in for mental health”, recognises the role that we all have to play at all levels across the University in supporting student wellbeing. This welcome initiative also aligns with our work on staff mental health so that we have an integrated approach, addressing not only the acute issues but also how we might prevent such issues.
As a senior leadership team, we are continuing to regularly engage with staff. Last month we hosted our first University Executive Board meeting in the EPS Faculty and had the opportunity afterwards to meet with some of the Faculty Team. I have also engaged with the AHSS Faculty Team and will meet the Team in MHLS when the Faculty hosts our UEB meeting later this month. I have been continuing my lunch events with staff and recently met with colleagues who are involved in Widening Participation to find out about the range of activity that is taking place across the University. I am also in the process of scheduling further visits to all Schools and Directorates and hope to have these complete by the Summer.
In other news from UEB, Professor Stuart Elborn has now joined us as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Medicine, Health and Life Sciences and we look forward to welcoming both Jo Clague, our new Registrar and Chief Operating Officer, and Professor Emma Flynn, PVC for Research and Enterprise, in a few weeks' time.