Here, I'd like to take a few moments to walk through the case study of a UK university I
led as president/vice-chancellor over the period December 2007 up to December 2015,
just over eight years leading the university
where I actually graduated back in the 1980s.
My comments relate only to the period under my leadership,
and not to where the institution might be now.
Plymouth University, I'll call it PU,
is based in the far south west of England,
and started out as a School of Navigation back in 1862,
being designated as a university in 1992.
When I joined in 2007,
we set out a new vision to connect the university with business and society,
taking inspiration from an academic paper that talked about
re-conceptualizing the academy to see service not as the third mission,
where teaching and research are the first and second missions,
but as the mission of the university to serve society through its teaching and research.
We developed our strategy 2020 around the pillars of enterprise and sustainability,
using these as the lenses through which we viewed our teaching,
learning, and research and innovation activities.
This shift changed the way we framed our relationship with our students and alumni.
We use the word with in our brand to signal partnership with our students and alumni.
Seeing them as a force for innovation,
setting out to build lifelong relationships.
With content now widely accessible on a global scale from a myriad of expert sources,
what becomes precious is the human exchange around sense-making,
critique and challenge, an access to networks for wisdom sharing,
and support to develop a lifelong relationship with learning.