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Rather than become marooned in The Old Firestation, I, like the other members of the Vice Chancellor’s Executive Team (VCET to the initiated– at Salford we have an almost logophillic interest in acronyms) try to get around campus as much as possible. I’m fairly successful in this respect; looking at last week’s diary most of it was spent out and about – walking to meetings, or taking a peek at the various parts of our estate, or just sat in one of our cafés holding one of my weekly café conversations (these are often the most fun/ beautiful/ joyful episodes in the week as I don’t know who is going to meet me and what they’re going to talk with me about – its ranged from ideas for new projects, or student support systems to the problems with this process or that policy – it’s always a very rewarding perspective that’s gained and shared)

Anyway, on my travels across campus, and indeed digitally through the social media sphere, (@samgrogan btw) there is rarely a day that passes in which I am not genuinely impressed/ wowed/ humbled to be working in such an amazing place. Most days I encounter phenomenal stories – little snapshots of the indelible and valuable traces life with our university leaves on those who encounter it, and there is such positivity in these stories. It might be in world leading industry partnerships making a real difference to students’ learning (Barclays/ Siemens, anyone…?) Or it might be in the transformative life experience at Salford which has fundamentally altered the future of Josie Fletcher – check out her story here. Or it might be in our award winning research, for one instance amongst many, how about this Times Higher award winning research? The point I am trying to make (and hopefully succeeding in making) is that we do amazing stuff. Even just in this last week, we’ve had an event at the House of Lords focusing on how our ICZs meet the government’s Industrial Strategy– after this I then whizzed up to Salford on an early train the following morning (I went to bed at a sensible time and chose not to following the erstwhile adventures of a number of my colleagues – you’ll be pleased to know I gave them an early morning phone call just to make sure they were alright – its only decent…) – I was attending a meeting of international partners (industrial and educational) at our Media City campus. These partners are all working together with us on a Joint Masters in Electronic Engineering JMEE – this is a three year internationally funded project. The meeting was hosted by our very own Prof. Haifa Takruri-Rizk, who has, herself recently been recognized as being an inspiration for female engineers. On top of that this week the University of Salford has also been recognised as being in the top 200 young Universities in the world. We even won Varsity this year…. The list just goes on…

With this multi-stranded brilliance in mind, and recognising that its not just a couple of isolated incidents – not the odd positive occurrence found down the back of the sofa whilst searching for the TV remote – recognising that this excellence is, in fact all over the place, I am continually unseated and surprised at just how quiet we are about it –  how wonderfully muted. The pride in the doing is there, but to shout that pride out, to champion from the rooftops is a skill that seems sometimes to come to us a little like the art of consistently good car maintenance comes to me; I know I can do it, I know I should do it and I know my world will be better if I did do it, but sometimes I just don’t. (Not many people are on first name terms with the RAC – every cloud…).

The thing is (there is always a thing, isn’t there) I think we should be shouting out about what we do as institution at every opportunity – The common reaction of visitors I greet at Salford is ‘wow’, followed by variants on; ‘I didn’t know it was this good’. I don’t want a suprise anymore, I’d like a queue at the door thankyouverymuch. And the consistent reaction of visitors and all the achievements and stories I’ve noted above, plus the many many more that I’ve missed (yes you, I’m talking about you) tells me we’re on solid ground when we voice the pride that I see in action and the going above and beyond the call of duty I see happening every day. So here’s a call to arms for all of us – tell the stories, share the hidden gems and don’t pass off achievements as ‘just something we do’. Its worth far more than that…

See you next week.


Author: samgrogan

I am many sided; Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience at Salford University, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, driven Tough Mudder runner, and a lover of the outdoors. I live in the heart of the beautiful Peak District with my wife and our pets. On weekends, you'll find me out in the countryside with the dog, running or walking up a hill, or typically cooking for friends (I'm getting better, so they say) My role at Salford is one I cherish. I'm one of the fortunate few who wake up excited about the day ahead. It's really not work when it's this much fun. As part of the Vice-Chancellor's Executive Team I work alongside a gifted and dedicated team of creative educationalists passionate about being better tomorrow than we are today. As PVC SE at Salford I hold executive responsibility for both the assurance of quality and standards of our institutional academic portfolio, and its strategic direction and character. Intertwined with this facet of my role, I am responsible for strategic leadership and enhancement of the wider student experience and the development of a distinctive Salford learning environment. My overall purpose, driven by these two key parts of my role, is to develop a bold, playful learning landscape at Salford which delivers holistic sustainable success, preparing our students for life. I'm fascinated by how people learn, and how we might collectively make that experience result in a profound expansion of personal and professional horizons and an extension of possibilities for all parties involved. My greatest reward comes from seeing thresholds crossed, barriers broken, new habits formed and changes made. To this end, I'm also endlessly absorbed in considering how we might develop better, more useful ways of integrating the digital landscape and other technologies, emerging and present, into the act of learning. I think we're just beginning - a brave new world awaits... My background is in performance - Before undertaking my PhD and before spending the first half of my university career as a lecturer, programme leader and head of department, in my early career I acted, danced and made theatre across the world. This ten year experience continues to be fundamental in shaping the way I think about teaching and learning. At its best I see it as a facilitated journey of discovery, play, risk and adventure anchored in 'reflective doing'. Not 'knowing' in this context is often a signal that a useful path is being trodden - Thinking on its own is just rehearsal...

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