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Joanne Clague

Leading our university community through a pandemic

As Registrar, Joanne Clague is responsible for leading, managing and coordinating the provision of a wide range of professional services and formulating strategies, policies and procedures in support of the University's ambitious vision.

Her leadership has been central to the University’s pandemic response. 


What is your role at Queen's?

Registrar and Chief Operating Officer.

How long have you worked here?

Almost two years.

What has been your role during the COVID-19 pandemic?

I have led the University's emergency response (the Major Incident Team) and Chair the Joint University Executive/Operating Board COVID-19 meetings.  

I have also attempted to provide support to my family, with the home-schooling of my three children being rather less successful than my husband and I would have liked!

Can you outline some of the challenges?

Juggling the often conflicting priorities in a world of great uncertainty and dealing with the polarising effect the pandemic has had on our people (some fear a return to campus and enjoy the online experience whilst others can’t wait to get back to face-to-face activity).  

Also, getting the communications right, with the tricky balance of sharing key information in a timely manner without overloading people. 

For me personally, as someone who thrives on the company of others, the lack of human and social interaction has also been a major challenge.

Can you share any moments of positivity or joy?

Giving out Christmas lunches to students in BT1; seeing our infection rates plummet as the in-house contact tracing and testing efforts took effect; appreciating the University grounds and Botanic gardens as they begin to show the hopeful signs of spring after a long hard winter in lockdown; acknowledging the valuable contribution of colleagues (the big ticket items but also the small often unnoticed gestures of kindness and support).

What one thing would you like people to learn or remember from the pandemic?

I would like colleagues to remember our significant collective achievements: by pulling together as a University Community, and working in partnership with other external organisations, we have achieved more than we could ever have imagined and have delivered a tremendously positive impact for our wider society.