Last year was a very significant year in the life of Bishop Grosseteste University. We continued making progress in our strategy, focusing specifically on our work with our partners and stakeholders and increasing our research activity.
We firmly established our place as a quality university, being the second highest ranked public university in England for student satisfaction and named as one of the top three institutions in the UK for student employability.
We passed three major quality inspections (from the Quality Assurance Agency, Ofsted for our teacher education and the British Psychological Society for our courses in psychology) with flying colours.
These results confirmed that we provide high quality courses for our students. Further evidence that we are among the best universities in the country came in the form of the score we received from our students in the National Student Survey which with 92% satisfaction ranked us in the top group in the UK.
Also the number of students getting jobs was amongst the highest in the country with 96% of our graduates being in employment or further study six months after graduation.
So these results, together with the increased number of students joining both our traditional courses and new courses, meant that 2016 counted as one of the most successful in the history of the institution.
On a personal note, however, it was a sad year for me as I lost my little cat, Sparky, who had been with me for the past 13 years, travelling with me from Wales to Scotland and then to Lincoln.
She died in the wonderful vet hospital across the road from BGU in Newport, while I was away in Izmir in Turkey on business. I now have another tabby who came from the Lincoln Cat Care; I have called her Izzy, (to remind me of Izmir) and she is settling in well.
So what of 2017? I will be starting the year at a conference of the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC) which is taking place in Chennai in South East India. BGU is part of that international group and it is a great opportunity to hear what is going on across the world in similar institutions and also an opportunity to tell the international community about education in Lincolnshire.
Those of you who pass by on Newport will notice that BGU is reaching for the skies with the second phase extension to the Constance Stewart Hall which will be an iconic front at the roundabout on the corner of Longdales Road.
This will provide additional, flexible teaching spaces for our students and it will bring the campus out from behind the trees to the road. We are looking forward to opening this building in the summer. This will be very useful as we introduce yet more new courses – in Business and in Geography, to name but a few. We also have additional places in teacher education courses at all levels.
We will also be opening our Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) which will provide a major focus for all work in relation to the student experience.
We are also looking forward to starting a major project with our partner institutions in higher education in the LincHigher project which will encourage potential students from across the county to enter university level education. So there is a lot happening next year.
Along with the usual well-intentioned resolutions to eat less, or at least more healthy food, do more exercise and get out more, I think I want to use my time more effectively as I have less time left than I had at the end of last year! I should like to wish all readers on behalf of BGU a happy Christmas and New Year.