Dear Colleagues and Students
Today is formally my first day as Principal of the University of St Andrews, and the first thing I want to do is to write to all members of the University to express my delight at being here, and my determination to do my utmost for you all and for St Andrews.
When I was elected as your Principal in February of this year many of you wrote to me with congratulations and good wishes. I hope I wrote back to all of you at the time, but I would like to say again how welcoming it was to receive those messages and how honoured I continue to feel that the University has put its trust in me. I have started as I mean to go on. I arrived a little early last week, with Martin, my husband, and after a day’s unpacking (and marvelling at the lovely late summer weather) I have already started working with my Vice-Principals, members of the University Court, and my College Gate team, meeting with Scottish Government ministers, and attending an away day of one of the key higher education sector organisations.
My next priority is to meet as many of you as possible and as soon as possible. I will be speaking at induction meetings for new staff, at welcome events for freshers, and I am arranging to visit all the Schools before the end of this semester. I will be meeting regularly with the Students’ Association, and attending student-run events when I can. I intend to be out and about in St Andrews a great deal. Martin and I will be hosting events at University House too, and we look forward to meeting members of the University there.
The date is now fixed for my formal installation as Principal and Vice-Chancellor. This will take place on 29 November in the Younger Hall, and I hope that as many members of the University as are able to will attend it. Arrangements and timings will be announced in due course.
I have of course spent much of the past few months finding out more about St Andrews and its university. I still have much to find out, and I look very much to you to let me know the things that matter to you, the things that you would like to see change, and the things that you would like to see remain. We are not going to agree on everything, but you will find that my approach is underpinned by some values and tenets that are very important to me: excellence; inclusivity; and fairness. As issues arise, and projects unfold, I will make sure to keep you informed of key decisions and milestones.
The post-Brexit years are going to be very challenging times for universities. I want to assure you that I will keep St Andrews close to the heart of the strategic discussions taking place about the impact of Brexit on our staff, students, and structures, and we will keep you as informed as we can about these matters.
That said, we go on excelling. There have been some terrific achievements and successes to applaud in recent weeks and months. Two that have stood out for me are the leading role played by several St Andrews women in the composition of Academic Women Now, a recent publication by the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland, focusing on those things that can make a significant difference to the success of an academic career, and from which there is much to be learnt. Secondly, the University of St Andrews’ top ranking in the National Student Survey 2016 is indicative of how greatly our students value the particular nature of the experience we offer them here – stimulating and supportive at the same time.
All best wishes for Martinmas Semester.
Professor Sally Mapstone
Principal and Vice-ChancellorUniversity news