Vice-Chancellor's Update - October 2018
It has been a memorable week for our university with the award of an honorary degree to Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As my first graduation ceremony as Vice-Chancellor, it was a particularly special day, made even more so by the number of staff and students who were able to attend. Events of this nature and scale require a great deal of co-ordination and I was genuinely overwhelmed by the huge team effort that went into ensuring it was a great success.
Queen’s has a long and proud heritage of honouring the world’s finest and some of the greatest leaders of our time. We are delighted that Secretary Clinton has now joined a roll of inspiring politicians who have made a real difference to society, both here in Northern Ireland and across the world.
Honorary Graduates play an important role in the life of our University and we are currently looking at nominees to be honoured in 2019. The Honorary Degrees Committee has met to discuss the nominations submitted by staff and students and we expect to make an announcement early in the New Year.
In my last update, I mentioned my ongoing engagement with staff. Since then, I have chaired the first meeting of the Staff Forum when over thirty members of staff, representing areas from across the University, met to discuss staff appraisal. Following a really useful and engaging discussion, Staff Forum members will now consult with colleagues in their own area to gather feedback and put forward ideas and recommendations.
Working in partnership, not just with staff, but with a range of key stakeholders is vital as we move forward as a university. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to engage with members of the business community at my first Chief Executives’ Club event. During the breakfast, which was hosted at AllState NI’s new Belfast Offices, I highlighted the role our University plays in driving the Northern Ireland economy – through our £1.9 billion contribution to the economy, our graduates and our research commercialisation.
Queen’s has an impressive track record in creating spin-out companies and it is great to see that the entrepreneurial spirit is very much embedded across the University. At last week’s Invent 2018 Awards, one of our student startups, Machine Eye – an innovative new safety device for use on tractors, plant, and heavy machinery – won the Electronic category. Many congratulations to the winning team.