End of year message from Queen Mary's President and Principal to all alumni
I’m Colin Bailey, President and Principal of your University: Queen Mary University of London.
I sincerely hope you and your families are keeping safe and well. Here in the UK, as elsewhere, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to be felt by everyone. Our very best wishes and thoughts, from all of us at Queen Mary, are with you, wherever you may be.
It’s been a tough year but I’m so proud of the way our community has responded. Since I last spoke to you, there have been so many positive things going on at our University, both despite and because of the pandemic. With the year now drawing to a close, I wanted to take a moment to share some of these with you.
Since September, our students have been enjoying a full learning experience either on our COVID-secure campuses or fully online, and we’ve received some great feedback about both. One student rated an in-person educational activity as 10,000/10, which was a great boost for our staff. Also, in a recent online lecture to 150 students, 110 of those students asked, and received answers to, questions. This level of engagement would have been impossible in a traditional lecture format. We will certainly be incorporating the best of all we have learned into our future approach to education and in line with our strategy, blended learning is here to stay.
We have also been continuing to apply our research and academic expertise to the fight against COVID-19. To give just a few examples, last month Queen Mary researchers launched a clinical trial to investigate whether vitamin D could protect against COVID-19; others are developing systems to reduce the stress on hospitals, and academics in our Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences have secured a major grant to study the impact of the pandemic on UK migrant communities.
And of course, our remarkable alumni community are also continuing to play a substantial role, both in fighting the pandemic and on the world’s stage. A great example is the charitable initiative One Million Meals, co-founded by Business Management alumnus Bilal Bin Saqib, which delivers free, healthy meals to frontline workers. They are now serving 45 hospitals around the UK and pledging to keep feeding those who need it, even after the pandemic.
We are immensely proud that our alumna Mercy Muroki has been appointed to the Government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. In September, alumnus Simon Case was confirmed as the UK’s top civil servant, and, just last month, I was excited to watch alumnus Ben Earl help England become 2020 Six Nations Champions! We were also delighted to congratulate eleven alumni who were named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, many of whom were awarded for their services to the COVID-19 response.
We are all extremely proud of the accomplishments of our University and its community. Yet we need to do more and be more ambitious about highlighting these achievements and you, our alumni, are our greatest ambassadors. I ask you please to share your experiences of Queen Mary and its founding institutions with others to help build recognition of Queen Mary as one of the best universities in the world in which to study, research and teach.
Many of you also work in academic roles and may be invited to take part in one of the global higher education surveys such as The Times Higher Education’s Global Academic Reputation Survey or the QS Global Academic Survey. We would like to make sure that Queen Mary’s achievements are acknowledged in these surveys, which is one useful way of ensuring our University gets the recognition it deserves.
Finally, I would like to ask for your help in supporting our students, many of whom are facing disadvantage and disruption because of the pandemic. We have been supporting our students with increased financial assistance since the start of the pandemic, and we have now set up the Queen Mary Emergency COVID-19 Fund, so that we can reach even more students in need. This will also allow the whole Queen Mary community to help us ensure that every Queen Mary student, regardless of what is going on around them, has the support that they need not only to continue their studies, but to thrive.
Please do stay in touch and continue to tell us about your achievements. The months ahead will no doubt continue to be testing but recent news about a vaccine suggests light at the end of the tunnel. Wherever you may be in the world, all of us here at Queen Mary wish you the very best.
With kind regards
Professor Colin Bailey CBE, FREng, BEng, PhD, CEng, FICE, FIStructE, MIFireE
President and Principal
Queen Mary University of London